Induction stoves are getting more affordable and more energy efficient. This is the result of the three-year research project ”InduKOCH”. The research team consisted of E.G.O. Group, a worldwide supplier for manufacturers of household appliances, the University of Bremen's Institute for Electrical Drives, Power Electronics and Devices (IALB) and semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies, who headed the project.
The team succeeded in reducing the number of components that induction stoves require. The benefits for consumers: in the future a standard induction stove will not be much more expensive than a conventional stove. Moreover, there will be less power dissipation so that today's already very energy-efficient induction methods will use even less electricity in the future. Induction heaters and stoves based on InduKOCH technology consume between 20 and 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) less power per year than conventional electric stoves, making an active contribution to climate protection.
A sample calculation: Thanks to InduKOCH, the number of German households with induction stoves could double from more than 6 million today (about 17 percent of all households in Germany) to about 12 million (about 30 percent). Assuming that for an induction stove an average of about 60 kWh less electricity per year has to be produced compared to that for a conventional electric stove, the resulting CO2 reduction is considerable. In Germany, the amount of CO2 reduction per year would correspond to the emissions of 100,000 cars (at an average annual distance traveled of 13,000 km). This calculation is based on an estimate of the German Federal Environment Agency from 2012 that the generation of a kilowatt-hour of electricity releases about 600 g of CO2.
”German households could profit from energy-saving and more affordable induction stoves already in 2014. Thanks to InduKOCH, replacing a conventional electric stove is now a lot more worth it,” says Dr. Stephan Voss, developer at Infineon Technologies and project head of the research project InduKOCH. ”This transformation is a big contribution to the environment – because the greatest energy resource is the energy that is not used. 60 kWh of electric energy are saved annually per induction stove, resulting in less CO2 produced. If the number of induction stoves were to double in Germany, the amount of CO2 emissions would be reduced by an amount that corresponds to that of 100,000 cars.”
New chips and new insides for induction stoves:
To make induction stoves more efficient and more affordable, Infineon is researching how its chips – so-called IGBTs (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) – can be further developed. The IGBTs regulate the high-frequency current of the induction coils, whose electromagnetic field generates heat in the pots for cooking. The new IGBTs will be up to 40 percent more efficient than their predecessors at the beginning of the project. The E.G.O. Group, one of the worldwide leading suppliers of heating and control elements for the manufacturers of household appliances, was able to optimize the electronic and mechanical insides of induction heaters thanks to the new IGBT power semiconductors by Infineon. The IALB of the University of Bremen added energetic support, conducting research on the modeling and simulation of high-frequency switching operations. The institute designed computer models that very rapidly calculated the most diverse variants of the IGBT components and the switching environment. In this way, the InduKOCH researchers could come up with the overall optimum system without having to conduct tedious and expensive experiments.
As part of the high-tech strategy of the German government and the program ”Information and Communications Technology 2020” (IKT 2020), the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funded the research project InduKOCH over three years in the amount of Euro 1.2 million. InduKOCH is ”innovative switching concepts and components for increasing energy efficiency when cooking with an induction stove”.
Induction methods in German households:
Today about 17 percent of a total of more than 40 million households in Germany are equipped with an induction stove. Up to 25 percent of electric energy can be saved if a conventional stove is not turned on but an induction method – which only heats the pots and pans and not the burner – is used for cooking.
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