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Freedom Induction Cooktop heats up pots placed anywhere

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January 9, 2012

The Freedom Induction Cooktop will heat cookware placed anywhere on its surface, and will ...

The Freedom Induction Cooktop will heat cookware placed anywhere on its surface, and will adapt its active area to the shape and size of that cookware's footprint

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While they might still seem rather high-tech, induction cooktops have been on the market since at least the mid-1970s. Instead of warming pots via heat transfer from electrical elements or gas burners, they instead use coils of copper wire located beneath their ceramic glass surface to induce an electrical field within metal pots, which results in the resistive heating of their contents. Typically, the sizes and locations of those coils are marked on the stove's surface, and users must place their pots on those. Thermador's new Freedom Induction Cooktop, however, will heat up cookware placed anywhere on its surface. Not only that, but the "active" part of the cooktop will conform to the footprint of whatever size or shape of cookware is used.

The device incorporates 48 separate three-inch (7.6 cm) induction heating elements on what is claimed to be "the largest cooking surface in the industry," and is able to detect the presence and shape of cooking vessels that are placed upon them. Using the 6.5-inch color touchscreen control panel, users can then stipulate the power setting (from 15 to 4,600 watts) and cooking time for each detected piece of cookware. Even if a pot or pan is moved, its settings will follow it to its new location on the ceramic glass surface.

The Freedom Induction Cooktop is controlled via a 6.5-inch touchscreen panel

This approach is said to result in 63 percent more effective cooking area than induction cooktops with predefined heating areas. As with those conventional induction cooktops, its surface stays cool to the touch when operating.

The Freedom was publicly demonstrated for the first time yesterday, at CES in Las Vegas. It should be available by this July, at a suggested retail price of US$4,949.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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6 Comments

Wich is the thermal efficiency of the induction cooktop compared with a gas flame cooker place?

I mean, one Kw electrical imput in the induction cookpot produces, in one hour, 1Kwh imput, but only trnsfers to a iron pot full of water for instance, "A" Kwh. "A" is smaller than 1 Kwh. How big is "A" in Kwh?

An apropiate gas flame cooker which burns one Kwh of heat content in one hour,(higher heat power of the fuel gas) of the gas fuel, would transfer "B" Kwh to the same pot of water. "B" is smaller than 1 Kwh. How big is "B", in Kwh?

This question is not so naïve as it seems.

Thanks,

Arturo Pérez Rodríguez

Arturo Pérez Rodríguez
10th January, 2012 @ 07:11 am PST

In Wikipedia, induction cooking, it says:

"According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the efficiency of energy transfer for an induction hob is 84%, versus 74% for a smooth-top non-induction electrical unit (...) Energy efficiency is the ratio between energy delivered to the food and that consumed by the cooker, considered from the "customer side" of the energy meter. Cooking with gas has an energy efficiency of about 40%"

"When comparing consumption of energies of different kinds, in this case natural gas and electricity, the correct method enforced by the US Environmental Protection Agency is to resort to (...) the energies of the raw fuels that are really consumed to produce the energies delivered on site. (...) The (US averaged) efficiencies recalculated relative to source fuels energies are hence 25% for induction hobs, and 38% for gas hobs."

So, gas cooking is still more efficient (in the places gas is readily available, that is).

cachurro
10th January, 2012 @ 08:47 am PST

I'm not sure what the actual numbers are but I've read numerous times induction cook-tops are more efficient than any traditional cook-top as the heat is not wasted flowing around the sides of the pot. The only energy pulled from the induction coils is where the field intersects the pot. Induction doesn't necessarily require steel/iron either. The induction effect happens in any metal conductor. Incidentally watch out for metal tools on an induction surface.

VirtualGathis
10th January, 2012 @ 09:32 am PST

The catch is how much energy is lost burning gas into electricity, and in the grid until it reaches your house. So the 84% efficiency for the induction hob drops to 25%.

Using gas directly is still a better deal.

But bear in mind that in some places there is no gas available. So induction cooking is the most efficient option in that case.

cachurro
10th January, 2012 @ 09:36 pm PST

VirtualGathis,

You are wrong. Induction cooktops require ferromagnetic cookware. That means cast iron or some types of stainless steel. Any other kind of metal, including high chromium austenitic stainless, copper or aluminum, absolutely will not heat up. I have an induction cooktop and the instructions tell you to check cookware for compatibility with a magnet. The energy efficiency is great. A cold pan can start sizzling bacon within a few seconds of being turned on and boils water faster than the relatively low-output gas stoves in most homes. Better yet, because they have electronic controls, they shut down automatically if you pot boils dry or even with built-in timers. Try that with gas.

Gadgeteer
11th January, 2012 @ 03:41 pm PST

I have a conventional electric smoothtop stove now. This would be great. At that price, I wonder how long one would have to cook to achieve any semblance of ROI. So, efficiency is more of a gimmick than anything else. For myself, I view "efficiency" in terms of "money in/benefit out ratio. That being said, this really is a very cool device, I just hope the miracle of economy of scale will render this affordable to us blue collar mortals.

Burnerjack
20th April, 2012 @ 03:07 pm PDT
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