The Electric plan: cooking

As the entire gas system (used only for cooking) was condemned by the surveyor we are taking the opportunity to try eliminating another fossil fuel. So we are going electric for cooking.

Hobs

Fortunately, there have been huge advances in electric cooking in recent years. So we are having two separate one burner induction hobs. Having separate hobs means we can run both at full power and also means we have redundancy if one fails.

So our batteries will feed two inverters. These can work together so while each one converts 12 volt DC into 230 volt AC with a maximum of 2,000 watts we can draw a total of 4,000 watts at anytime. With modern inverters the loss of efficiency in converting from DC to AC should be less than 10%, including the cables.

We have been using and measuring the power used by the induction hob. While the draw on high power is a lot, the total isn’t because they are so efficient and fast.

We are having to refit the galley area anyway so we will be creating a gimbled “tray” for the hobs. That means that when the boat rolls the hobs swing and the food stays in the pots.

Other cooking

We are going to be experimenting to see what we feel really adds value when it comes to cooking, possibly a microwave or a small oven. Possibly an instant hot water boiler (safer than using a kettle). Again high power for short periods of time should be achievable.

We will also be looking at Solar ovens (although not with high expectations while we are in the UK).

Challenges

The obvious challenge is to make sure we have enough electricity stored and enough renewable energy generation to keep going. So I’ll be writing separately on these topics.

Advantages

As with the dinghy engine the key advantage is the elimination of another fossil fuel from the boat. However, more than that it is long term freedom from having to keep finding new gas cylinders. The typical Camping Gaz bottles used in the UK are not available all over the world. There should also be cost savings as once everything is installed there are no fuel costs.

Plus there is the ease of cleaning and the much better cooking experience of induction hobs.

Conclusion

In the past electric cooking has only been for superyachts or powerboats who run engines or generators the whole time. However, with advances in every direction (generation, storage, conversion, efficiency) we know that there are a few boats already doing this and we feel that it is only the traditional conservatism of the sailing community that hasn’t led to widespread adoption yet. Given the climate emergency it is a change that will need to come fast.

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