Image Credits: A pan sits on an induction cooktop. Channing Street Copper Company’s new induction range differs from preexisting models because it can be plugged directly into kitchen outlets and has a battery, allowing it to run even during blackouts. Image by: Marco Verch
Audio Editing by: Xu Wangyuxan Blurb by: Laura Isaza Script by: Marie Hogan
Gas stoves have recently been in the news as a source of harmful pollutants in the home and generators of greenhouse gas. The adoption of energy-efficient induction-range stovetops could offer a solution. Induction cooktops use electromagnetism to generate heat from directly within cookware, preventing the levels of energy loss seen in conventional gas or electric cooktops. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is not coming for anybody’s gas stove, despite a recent frenzy over concerns of bans on gas stovetops, so cooks around the country can pick the stove tops of their choosing. But as a handful of journalists have pointed out, the notion that gas stove tops are better for cooking than electric, really a matter of opinion, could have something to do with advertising investments by the American Gas Association. In fact, many chefs actually prefer induction cooktops to gas, and their environmental benefits are substantial.
Induction stoves contain an electromagnetic coil that generates a magnetic field when turned on. That magnetic field creates metallic resistance from compatible cookware, generating heat from within itself. Conversely, conventional gas and electric stoves transfer heat to pots and pans through a flame or electric coil. In that heat transfer, energy is lost. Induction has an energy efficiency of 85%. Electric stoves and gas stoves are 75-80% and 32% energy efficient, respectively, making gas the least energy efficient stove type. Across the United States, only about 32% of households use gas ranges, but in some states, like California, the number is closer to 70%. Energy Star estimates that a widespread shift to induction ranges would collectively save the United States over $125 million in energy costs and over 1000 GWh of energy.
Plug-in Induction-Range Stoves:
While Induction stoves are highly energy efficient, and can save consumers money on their energy bills, the upfront cost can be significant. According to Consumer Reports, a typical induction stove can range from roughly $1000 to $4000. Their installation can sometimes require upgrades to the home’s electrical wiring, which can add additional cost and complicates the process. Battery-powered induction-ranges like those in production by Channing Street Copper Company can be plugged in directly to standard electrical outlets. Plug-ins remove the complication of updating electrical panels or installing special high-voltage outlets, but they can be more expensive, costing consumers roughly $6000. However, a purchase of a standard induction or plug-in induction range may qualify consumers for rebates at federal and local levels.
Sam Calisch is an engineer and scientist working on decarbonization and electrification. He is the co-founder of Channing Street Copper, where he leads technology development.
Ethan: I’m Ethan Elkind, and you’re listening to Climate Break — climate solutions in a hurry. Today’s proposal? Electric induction ranges with built-in batteries, no rewiring required. Here’s Sam Calisch, chief scientist at Channing Street Copper Company. He explains how batteries can make electrifying your kitchen easier and reduce the indoor air and carbon pollution produced by traditional gas stoves.
Sam: Our flagship product is an induction range Um, that’s a cooktop with oven. . A gas stove heats the air, then heats the cookware. An electric stove heats a coil and then heats the cookware. Induction heats the cookware directly, so that means that you’re, it’s far more precise, way faster, and much more responsive.
Ethan: Induction ranges can offer superior performance and help eliminate carbon pollution from natural gas. But the rewiring required to install them can be expensive. Calisch says their battery makes electrification easier and cheaper.
Sam: What that battery allows you to do is plug the induction range into the outlet that you already have in your kitchen behind your gas stove . You don’t need to run new wires through the wall. You don’t need to peek behind the drywall. You just use the existing plug.
Sam: Because there’s a battery in the stove, even if the utility turns your power out, you can still cook. There’s also an auxiliary outlet on the stove that you can plug other kinds of critical services into, like a refrigerator or, you know, charging a phone, et cetera. So in the face of blackouts, you can still feed your family and, and do the things you need.
Ethan: To learn more about Channing Street Copper Company and cooking with induction, visit climatebreak.org.