According to Inhabitat, a MIT professor has invented a sun-powered grill that is capable of storing latent heat for up to 25 hours at 450 F. It uses special lens to melt down a chemical (LiN). This compound serves as a reservoir of for the stored heat (Inhabitat called it a battery).
The inventor, David Wilson, was surprised that while there are many solar cookers, no one thought to store latent heat for cooking later when the sun isn't out.
For that I also want one of these myself (instead of using propane or charcoal like everyone else), it would really help cash and energy strapped third world countries to provide heat for cooking. This could really help cut down on environmental and health related issues.
I've got a propane grill that I don't use enough but this is definitely something that could get me out there, any season, to cool my meals. There is no indication when we'll see these solar cookers. The hope is that it'll happen sooner rather than later.
Now, I don't see many Americans give up charcoal cooking even after these solar grills go on sale. Green folks like us probably will snatch these up. I guess some people like the taste of their food cooked a certain way. But consider a large portion of the world still uses coal or wood, I reckon their impact on the environment could be noticeable if we can get these cookers out there sooner rather than later.
I've also got another idea. Suppose restaurants with their own roofs could be outfitted with a commercial version of these cooks. There are millions of restaurant all over the world that could benefit from this. It's huge untapped market.
Source: Inhabitat via Treehugger.