A former Swansea University professor claims to have invented a super-efficient sous vide cooker that will go into production later this year.
Professor Ken Board left his job at Swansea University’s School of Engineering to set up Clyne Energy in Llanelli with a view to dramatically driving down energy wastage in commercial kitchens.
The company’s first product, the LoCooker sous vide cooker, has been funded in part by a development fund from the Welsh government.
The LoCooker emerged from research of energy wastage in domestic cooking, according to Professor Board.
“By looking at the energy expended at home when boiling potatoes on a hob we discovered that 90% of the energy used was wasted but still has to be paid for. Spread across the country this was an incredible loss of energy,” he said at a briefing this week.
The product uses just two litres of water to cook, compared to 80 litres typically used by a combi-oven preparing a complete meal, said Professor Board.
Even current water baths have challenges, the company says on its web site. First, they use large quantities of water (between 17 and 44 Litres) which has to be heated. The second is that the water is then discarded after use. This means wasted energy, wasted water and a long delay while the water warms up, it states.
“With our method the water is not wasted since it can be recycled and used as stock in the making of sauces which is an added factor in countries where water is in short supply,” Professor Board claims, without explaining the difference to other sous vide appliances.
The LoCooker gives out little heat and food cannot be burned which means no extraction fans are needed.
“None of our competitor products offer this and while resembling a microwave in appearance it is different from that and a steamer or conventional oven,” Professor Board promises.
The LoCooker will be marketed to the commercial catering market once it goes into production later this year. No official release date has been given, and there are currently no images or detailed specifications for the unit.