Energy Efficient Induction Cooking

When selecting a range cooker, an important aspect to consider is the efficiency of the ovens and hob. Electric cookers have traditionally been more energy efficient than their gas counterparts, if not as powerful or responsive. With the advent of induction technology, the energy efficiency advantage has increased for electric cookers, whereas the gap in performance and responsiveness has decreased significantly.

How Induction Technology Works

Simply put, an induction hob uses a powerful high frequency electromagnet beneath the ceramic surface to agitate the molecules in the pan directly, using the pan as the heat source to evenly cook the food.

This works by pulses of current being passed through a copper coil beneath the hob. When this current passes through, it creates an electromagnetic energy field. Now for the clever bit – this field of energy passes directly through to the ferrous material of the pan, without heating the hob surface itself! The energy causes the iron molecules to vibrate 20,000 – 50,000 times per second, and the friction between these molecules generates the heat required to cook with.

Advantages of Induction Technology

Cooking with induction has a number of advantages over cooking with gas or radiant electro-ceramic. Because of the way that induction technology works, the heat loss to the surrounding environment is kept to an absolute minimum, with 90% of heat generated being used to cook the food. As virtually no energy is wasted this of course makes induction considerably more efficient than alternative cooking methods, which use only 50-60% of energy produced. Induction also has the advantage of responsiveness and speed – the current flowing through the copper coil can be adjusted instantly, which in turn controls the heat generated in the pan. This allows the user to precisely and quickly control cooking temperatures and makes the hob ultra responsive.

With induction, the energy is transferred directly to the pan, so once the pan is removed then so therefore is the heat source – the hob remains cool and the risk of burning from the residual heat of the hob surface is avoided. This of course makes induction a safer alternative to gas or ceramic.alternative to gas or ceramic.

Availability of Induction

Since induction first appeared on the domestic market, manufacturers have been keen to adopt the technology and utilize it on their appliances. The technology is now out of its infancy and used in many applications and by many manufacturers – many Rangemaster range cookers are available with induction hobs, as are higher-end models from Stoves, Britannia and Falcon among others. There is also a wide selection of built in hobs from various manufacturers, including the first generation of zoneless induction hobs – sensors under the hob surface detect the presence of a pan or cooking vessel and activate micro-elements beneath it. This offers the ability to use any size pan, or indeed combination of pans, on the hob area without being restricted to a set number of cooking zones. Induction ovens are also in production now and have been introduced by Belling offering the same responsiveness, safety and efficiency as an induction hob.