Oxford-designed Flare pan uses 40 per cent less heat than conventional pans

With help from Isis Innovation, the University’s technology commercialisation company, a new heat-efficient cooking pan based on research by University of Oxford Professor of Engineering Professor Thomas Povey has been launched by Lakeland (the UK’s leading kitchenware specialist).

Flare PanProfessor Povey applied his research into the design of high-efficiency cooling systems for next-generation jet-engines to an everyday object which transfers heat: the domestic saucepan. The brand new pan design considerably speeds up cooking, providing substantial savings of time and energy consumption.

Formed from cast aluminium and incorporating patented ‘FIN-X’ technology, Flare Pans are most effective on gas hobs, estimated to be used by over two thirds of the UK. The unique, patented, finned design channels heat from the flame across the bottom and up the sides of the pan, resulting in highly efficient, even heat distribution. This means the pans heat up significantly more quickly and food cooks faster, saving time and using much less energy too – in fact, an equivalent pan of conventional design was shown to need 40% more energy to heat up than a Flare pan.

Tom Hockaday, managing director of Isis Innovation said: "This is a great example of clever thinking from Oxford being applied to an everyday object, one which anyone can use to speed up our cooking and improve our energy consumption. Isis is delighted to have helped Professor Povey and Lakeland commercialise the Flare Pan".

Linda Naylor, Executive Director at Isis, said: “This project has been a rewarding one in that we were able to bring together the right expertise and co-ordinate with multiple parties, in order to enable a quick launch to market.

Even before their official launch, Flare pans have already become an award winning product. The Worshipful Company of Engineers, a Livery Company of the City of London operating under Royal Charter, has awarded Professor Povey their prestigious ‘2014 Hawley Award’ for ”the most outstanding Engineering Innovation that delivers demonstrable benefit to the environment”.

Commenting on winning the award, Professor Povey said, "I am delighted that the Worshipful Company of Engineers have recognised the engineering complexity that lies behind Flare’s apparently simple design and have selected it for their Hawley Award for engineering innovation that benefits the environment."

Professor Povey and Isis Innovation went through Design Council’s Design Leadership Programme, a mixture of workshops and direct support part-subsidised by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

It is designed to help turn scientific and technological ideas into innovative, profitable products and services. John Mathers, Design Council CEO, commented: “The Flare Pan is a fantastic example of British design. Design Council is delighted to have been part of developing Professor Povey’s idea. It resonates well with our values - it is innovative, beneficial for users and also the environment. We are sure that it will prove to be a great success story.

Commenting on the launch, Matthew Canwell, Lakeland’s Buying Director said, "Innovative thinking has been cemented into all that Lakeland do for 50 years, and we’re always looking for new innovations that will save our customers both time and money. Flare does just that, and we’re extremely excited to be able to bring this incredible new technology to our customers."

The new range of innovative pans will be available in the UK exclusively through Lakeland stores and website.

Watch the Lakeland video below where Professor Povey explains the science behind the technology:

For more on this article, please read the University Science Blog.