Lightweight solar powered snow melter
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Russell Jacobie
(flyer4food) - F

Locale: Sierras
Lightweight solar powered snow melter on 05/23/2011 18:49:50 MDT Print View

So, other than bringing a buttload of fuel into the winter environs, what options are there to creating a solar powered snow melter? Does anyone have any experience with this idea? I was reading Ray Jardins expedition to the south pole and it struck me that he was complaining about the nonstop solar radiation and at the same time complaining about having to hump gallons of fuel to melt snow for potable water.. why not use that sunlight to melt snow??

Any ideas? Please discuss.

-Satchel

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 05/23/2011 19:16:43 MDT Print View

bring a black garbage bag, fill with snow, put on sleeping pad and leave out in the sun for camp.
It works well if your basecamping, you could try it with a sled.
You end up with slush at the end of the day, but it saves you some fuel.

Russell Jacobie
(flyer4food) - F

Locale: Sierras
... on 05/24/2011 08:43:24 MDT Print View

In a perfect world I'd like a solar panel with a battery that could hold enough juice to make a heating element, that could then be lowered into a cup of water and used to warm it, add snow, repeat.

I've searched but there's nothing like this that I can find, which is odd, because once you hit, say a gallon of fuel, you definitely would have more weight than a batter/solar package. Obviously this would only be a weight benefit for longer excursions, but at some point it would be counterproductive to keep bringing more fuel.

-Russ

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Solar Dish on 05/24/2011 09:59:34 MDT Print View

Instead of making an electronic gadget, my guess is that you could quickly melt snow with some kind of solar dish that would direct and intensify the suns rays.

Also, if you can start a fire with a properly positioned magnifying glass, why couldn't you use that heat to melt snow? Maybe a magnifying glass that clips onto a pot rim?

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Lightweight solar powered snow melter on 05/24/2011 10:31:33 MDT Print View

You will waste tons and tons of energy using a solar panel to melt snow. A solar cooker would do great at this and is super simple to make and doesn't even need full sun.

Here is my favorite design:
http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Windshield_Shade_Solar_Cooker

You could cut it down to size or use reflectix for smaller amounts.
Very effective!

Just thinking that this could be used to supplement your sleep mat too, I wonder if anyone has done this? Well look at that: http://fast-solar.com/SolarProducts.htm

Edited by justaddfuel on 05/24/2011 13:22:47 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Lightweight solar powered snow melter on 05/24/2011 15:23:09 MDT Print View

Yes, it is very inefficient to convert sunlight to electrical power and then convert that to heat. It is much better to go directly from sunlight to heat.

On a multiday ski tour, we always carry one black plastic trash bag for collecting clean snow. If the day is cold and cloudy, the bag works as a bag only. If the day is warm and bright, the bag works as the snow melter. Sometimes it gets it only halfway melted, but that still saves a lot of fuel. It works best if the bag of snow is insulated from the snow surface.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: ... on 05/24/2011 16:07:59 MDT Print View

"bring a black garbage bag, fill with snow, put on sleeping pad and leave out in the sun for camp.
It works well if your basecamping, you could try it with a sled.
You end up with slush at the end of the day, but it saves you some fuel."

+1

Any place a solar panel works, a black garbage bag will work. If you're base camping, it will actually produce liquid water.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Lightweight solar powered snow melter on 05/24/2011 17:54:58 MDT Print View

Took the solar cooker to Africa. Took my cooking pot and painted it black. Cast Iron isn't bad. Not exactly light weight though with cast iron. Paint used was same as used an all of your wood stoves. Got it over 170F easily to cook all the nasty bacteria and food! Aid groups are giving "cardboard" aluminum plated panels out. Also in more temperate climes, they are using an enclosed pan with a jet black bottom reaching temperatures of 170F to kill bacteria. Obviously this won't work on snow, but your black pot will.

I keep meaning to take my setup up high somewhere. Would have to bring a bag to put the pot in due to wind considerations.

+2 to using black bag for melting water, though it will taste nasty for the first few liters.

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Solar Oven Maybe... on 05/24/2011 19:52:23 MDT Print View

Check out:

http://www.soltac.com/

This might work fairly well if you were base-camping.

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Re: Lightweight solar powered snow melter on 10/10/2011 00:06:31 MDT Print View

Has anyone tried experimenting with different-colored Nalgene bottles, or painting their bottle black?

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Gatorade bottle on 10/10/2011 20:20:50 MDT Print View

I'll use my Gatorade bottles set against rocks or on bark to insulate from the snow. Start small and add snow as water is created. Keep moving the bottles to face the sun. Works good for when you are hanging around camp reading, relaxing. I can get two quarts of water this way if started by late morning until the sun sets too low.
Duane