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Flare Pan is claimed to be 40 percent more energy-efficient than regular cookware

Flare Pan is claimed to be 40 ...
The Flare Pan is based on jet engine-cooling technology
The Flare Pan is based on jet engine-cooling technology
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The Flare Pan is based on jet engine-cooling technology
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The Flare Pan is based on jet engine-cooling technology
The available in a variety of sizes, all of which feature a cast aluminum body with stainless steel handles and fins
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The available in a variety of sizes, all of which feature a cast aluminum body with stainless steel handles and fins

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.

The available in a variety of sizes, all of which feature a cast aluminum body with stainless steel handles and fins
The available in a variety of sizes, all of which feature a cast aluminum body with stainless steel handles and fins

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.

20 comments
Koichi Matsui
It won't be popular. Why? Because it will be harder to clean on the outside.
ivan4
Interesting that they don't show in inside of the pans. If those fins are pressed into the sides so that you get the reverse pattern inside I can foresee a lot of effort being needed to keep the inside clean.
As it happens I have a set of pans from the 50s that have a truncated conical shape that also heat the contents faster than parallel sided pans just as the blurb said (if I remember the blurb that came with them correctly) so this general idea isn't new.
Gadgeteer
Seems to me their one advantage only happens with gas stoves. A lot of consumers have electric stoves, which wouldn't benefit much from the fins.
In my estimation, the most efficient stove and cookware combination would be induction cooktop under special pots and pans that are multi-ply stainless with aluminum core, plus a seasonable carbon steel inner surface for saute and other fry pans. The sides and lid of the cookware should be insulated, perhaps with glass fiber batting, to vastly reduce heat loss to the ambient air. My induction cooker already heats stainless and carbon steel cookware at least as fast as a gas burner would. With insulated sides, it would be unbeatable.
thk
@ Ivan,
"If those fins are pressed into the sides so that you get the reverse pattern inside I can foresee a lot of effort being needed to keep the inside clean."
They are not.
Milton
love it. I imagine the inside would be smooth. But i'd double-check before purchasing.
Slowburn
It certainly gives more area to absorb heat from the fire. I don't see it providing an improvement on non flame heat sources unless the inside is a cleaning nightmare.
The Skud
If you don't have a gas (or open fire) cooking system it seems to be a waste of money. An outer flared 'halo' base ring - detachable for cleaning - would channel the heat just as well, and probably easier to make.
John Knox
I'm just wondering if they are suitable for use on an induction cooktop and, if so, whether they have found any improvements of this design over the normal pans. Personally, I like the way Gadgeteer thinks. Why haven't pans been designed with integrated insulation?
Ben O'Brien
In a sane society we would slowly phase out old pans and such with new more efficient designs and save mega tons of gas. Instead this will be only at max in a small amount of pans as a niche market or something.
Nairda
Alternatively, make the bottom of the pot concave, ie bowed upwards in the center. The hot air would concentrate in the center pocket underneath the pot.
Or an outer skirt, a complement of above, as mentioned by The Skud
Of course both solutions only really suitable for gas.
Realistically an insulated outer cradle (nest) like a slow cooker or rice cooker using electric coil or gas would be most efficient. But a bit of a pain to clean unless the insulated outer is completely concealed in a smooth washable tub.