When the University of Oxford's Dr. Thomas Povey was on a mountaineering trip several years ago, he became acutely aware of how much fuel was required to boil water using his conventional cookware. This inspired the professor of engineering to develop a new type of cooking pan, that would make better use of available heat. The result is the "finned" Flare Pan, which requires 40 percent less heat than a regular pan to get just as hot.

When Povey and colleagues tested traditional pans on a gas range, they noticed that much of the heat from the flame simply went up the sides of the vessel and into the air.

Drawing on technology developed to dissipate heat in jet engines, the fins built into the sides of the Flare Pan served to absorb much of that previously-wasted heat. Known as FIN-X technology, the design also distributed that heat more evenly. As a result, not only is less energy required, but items can also be cooked faster using the same heat output.

Developed through the university's Isis Innovation commercialization branch, the Flare Pan is available for pre-order through UK kitchen goods retailer Lakeland. It's available in four sizes, all of which feature a cast aluminum body with stainless steel handles and fins. Prices range from £49.99 (US$85) for a 20-cm (7.9-in) saucepan, to £84.99 ($145) for a 5.5-liter (1.5-US gal) lidded stockpot.

The company is expecting to receive delivery of the pans and begin shipments as of August 25th.

Sources: Isis Innovation, Lakeland via LA Times

UPDATE (May 11/15): The Flare Pan is now available to US consumers, via LaPrima Royale .