Benefits of Diesel Ceramic Cooktop in Off Road Caravan

Posted by Bruce Loxton

Jul 26, 2013 6:56:00 AM

Diesel Cooktop Temperature ProfileYou most likely have a preference of gas or electric when cooking at home. You may also have other specialised devices for baking bread or cooking rice. This special cooker has a glass ceramic cooktop bonded to a quiet diesel heat conversion system with significant benefits for off road caravans. It cooks like an electric cooktop but does so far more efficiently.

The benefits are:

  • Safety: There is no gas, propane, LPG inside the caravan
  • Cleanliness: Just wipe down with no burnt rings , edges, or hard to clean burners
  • Low cost to run: It costs far less than an LPG equivalent cooktop to operate

Then there is the major dust proofing benefit for caravans and campers. There is no requirement for permanent ventilation from the outside because of gas safety regulations. No venting, no dust.

Schott Ceramic cooktop in off road caravanHow does it work?

The diesel conversion system injects small amounts of diesel through an atomiser into a chamber that combusts all the diesel and converts it into heat energy for the glass ceramic hot plate. There is an exhaust outside. There is virtually no small as the diesel is completely combusted which is why it is so efficient. In gas cooktops, the heat energy of the gas is going straight up in the air. In the diesel ceramic cooktop, the heat energy is converted into the ceramic glass and then into the cooking pot or pan. If the pot of pan completely covers the heated plate area, most of the energy transfer directly to cooking. 

The energy efficiency of a diesel powered cooktop and hot water system is so musch high that gas and at such a lower cost. A typical Kimberley Karavan owner, refills the 12 litre disel takek every 3 months. That is $20 cost in a 3 month period for cooking and hotwater. The gas equivalent would be hundreds of dollars.

Diesel Cook Top Test Bench for off road caravan 2005The performance of the cooktop is similar to electric. It takes 10mins or so for the unit to pre-heat. After this point it will cook very quickly. It will boil water in a further 8-10 mins. The cook top is big enough to have 3 billys boiling at once. Here is a photo from our archives of our 2005 Test Bench. During this testing, we found we could not get to a high enough temperature in the tropics to cook quickly. As a result we modified these European design and produced products (Germany and Finland) to improve the performance. We have now installed more than a thousand units and with terrific results, all of these Kimberley modified.

So what are the disadvantages of these cooktops?

The purchase price is high because of the technology. They also require a high current only at startup and shut down. This current pre-heats the chamber wire for ignition. if a caravan maker does not have a robust 12V power system, the startup current may trip the power system and lockup the cooktop. When the cooktop is running though, the power used is very very small.

The other thing you can do on the cooktop is make toast with a small elevated rack. 

diesel ceramic cooktop off road camper trailer kitchenWe have even installed units on off road camper trailer slide out kitchens. There was a challenge here to have an exhaust system that moved with the kitchen. With some aeospace exhaust material this was engineered and worked perfectly! Photo shows it behind a wok burner. It is an option in the Kimberley Kamper range.

There is virtually no maintenance needed on these units and they have an inbuilt temerature sensor for the glass so you can see if the glass is hot or not.

design guide to sustainability off road caravansFinally, once you get used to cooking with this system, there is no going back. The quiet and clean ease of cooking suits the inside of an off road caravan so well leaving the BBQ and other gas cooking to the outside kitchen where it belongs!

This same system is fitted to the Kimberley Kruiser Black Caviar and T3 models.

We have tested and run these units on 100% bio-diesel with good results. You can mix the bio-diesel with mineral diesel in any combination. Every litre of bio-diesel used abates 27kgs of carbon emmissions.



To learn more about Kimberley's sustainability design and best practices, read our eBook on this topic:

Topics: off-road caravans, off-road caravan kitchen, off-road caravan cooking, diesel cooktop, diesel cooking

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The Kimberley Karavan, a lightweight folding off road caravan that can go anywhere. Kimberley Karavans are unique with their internal shower and toilet, comfortable internal seating and luxury finishes.