Last year Char-Broil released the EDGE, which is a first of its kind, full-size, electric grill. We reviewed the EDGE and liked it, but did note its long heat-up times. That’s a limitation for all electric grills from the voltage in a common household outlet in the US. Char-Broil isn’t letting that stop them though from developing more powerful electric grills.
A common complaint from grill companies about bringing electric grills to market in the US is the power limitation. With a common 110v outlet, you’re limited to about 1,800 watts to play with.
Overseas, they have more powerful outlets, and as a result, more powerful electric grills. The Char-Broil SMART-E, which is the UK equivalent of the EDGE, is a much more capable grill. With 2,400 watts, it has more cooking surface area, and has cool accessories like a griddle.
Smart Power Booster
According to a recent patent filing, Char-Broil isn’t throwing in the towel on developing more powerful grills for the use. They’re figuring out ways to adapt to and overcome the power limitations.
How they’re doing that is by not limiting the grill to just using a standard outlet. Through what they call a Smart Power Booster, they are developing a grill that runs off AC power from an outlet, but then has stored DC power available for an extra kick.
In the patent, they suggest storing the power either in a battery, in capacitor, or a supercapacitor. That power would then be monitored and controlled with an on-board computer.
The Power Booster could be recharged both when the grill isn’t in use, and when the grill has reached desired operating temperature.
Once the power is stored in the grill, they offer some variations for how they would convert it to heat energy. One way is through another Calrod heat element, just for the DC power. Another way is to only have one set of heat elements, but run the power in series, so the heating element can get hotter.
A variation of having another set of DC power dedicated heat elements is to use them to extend the cooking area, rather than increase the temperature of the existing area.
Uses of the Boost
Char-Broil has some different ideas about how they can use the extra boost of DC power. The first is to use it to decrease the amount of time it takes to warm up the grill. This has an application both when you start the grill, but also when heat escapes from opening the lid.
Another way is to use it to extend the surface area of the grill, without sacrificing performance. Finally, they could use it to increase the top-end temperature of the grill.
It’s great to see Char-Broil being dedicated to innovating with electric grills. They had a great first attempt with the EDGE, and we’re excited for what the future holds with the technology. Maybe we’ll see it with the Current?