24 Apr 2019 19:11 IST

A fuel source that helps you stay cool in the kitchen

Megawatt Solutions’ flameless cooking system eliminates heat radiation and uses fewer fossil fuels

As anyone who has ever cooked in a kitchen knows, it is donkey’s work. Sometimes the joy of creating something in the pan, especially if it is your recipe coming alive for the first time, compensates for the drudgery at the stove, but there is no denying that rustling up a decent meal demands painstaking, hard work. Have you ever wondered why?

Cooking woes

It is mostly the heat from the flames that gets to you, tires you. It, literally, makes you sweat. Just observe the number of times a person cooking mops her forehead, and you will know what I mean.

The gas is burnt to provide heat to the pan, but the heat, rather recalcitrantly, dissipates out. I remember Kapil Sibal, when he was India’s science minister, saying that only 25 per cent of the heat produced by kitchen fuels actually reaches the food being prepared. All the rest goes waste.

Okay, the advent of induction stoves and microwave ovens has fixed this problem to some extent, but most of the cooking today is still done on the open flame. Somebody decided to do something about it — and make a business out of it.

Megawatt Solutions has long dealt with heat. For some years, the Delhi-based company has been producing and selling solar thermal systems. Megawatt Solutions, therefore, knows kitchens well.

Flameless cooking

The company has come up with a solution to prevent wastage of heat. At the heart of the solution is one principle: eliminate open-flame cooking. “To cook food you don’t need the flame, you need the heat,” says Siddharth Malik, founder of Megawatt Solutions.

 

Unlike electronic systems, which are yet to be tested for techno-economic viability for large-scale cooking, Megawatt Solutions’ smart solution doesn’t burn fuel under the vessels and pans. Instead, it burns it in a separate chamber in such a way that almost all the heat produced is absorbed by a ‘thermic oil’. The oil is then conducted into cooking chambers and the heat is used for cooking. “This way, there is very little wastage of heat energy,” says Malik.

This is because, while a flame heats only the bottom of a vessel and leaves it to convection to dissipate the heat through the food, the thermic oil flows all around the walls of the double-walled vessels and pans. It is a closed-loop system, where the oil is collected and starts its job all over again. Further, the thermic oil is edible, so even if there is a leakage, there will be no problem.

And if you want to be totally green, the heat source could be solar. The entire system could be ‘hybrid-ed’ with solar.

Megawatt Solutions says it has already supplied its smart kitchen systems to large kitchens. One of these is NTPC, where a thousand meals are cooked every day. The other, which is much, much bigger, is the kitchen of a food supply contractor who supplies 30,000 meals to the Defence sector.

Economic benefits

Thermic oil-based cooking is an economically feasible solution that eliminates needless heat radiation, burns fewer or no fossil fuels and reduces flame-related accidents. If adopted on a national scale the benefits will be enormous.

Malik says: “There are around 30,000 large kitchens in the country, such as campuses of companies like Infosys, pilgrim centres like Shirdi and Tirupathi, and entities like IRCTC, apart from millions of hotels and restaurants, that could gain from adopting such a process.”

Videos

Can India become a $5-trillion economy by 2025?

'Children are having a bigger say in family purchases'

What is RCEP and why did India stay out of it?

Recommended for you