Instant, on-demand water heaters are nothing new for your home. Now a company called Heatworks is trying to take that same technology and miniaturize it for consumer products. It has two such gadgets on display here at CES 2019 — and the more interesting to me is the Duo carafe. If you want hot water for coffee or tea, it promises to heat it instantly as you pour it out of the carafe instead of slowly heating the entire pitcher of water.
It heats the water instantly with a technology Heatworks calls an “Ohmic array.” That’s “ohmic” as in “ohm” as in electrical resistance. It uses the water itself as an electrical conductor between graphite electrodes, vibrating the minerals in it, as CEO Jerry Calahan explained to me here at the event. The result, in theory, is no waiting for water.
The theory works — at least it does on Heatwork’s other products here at CES. One of those is the Tetra countertop dishwasher, which looks cool thanks to Frog design (Frog also helped designed the Duo). Preorders for the Tetra should start in the next couple of months, for $299 to start.
The Duo carafe, unfortunately, is much more at a prototype stage. Heatworks doesn’t have a functioning unit here at CES and doesn’t have a targeted ship date beyond sometime this year — though Calahan says he’s hoping for this summer. He’s also hoping that the core Ohmic Array technology will convince more established companies to license his technology to put in other products.
But assuming Heatworks makes good on shipping the Duo, Calahan says it should cost less than $200. Here’s how it will work. It will be able to heat up to 32oz of water instantly as you pour it, using a battery or plugged in. With the battery, Calahan expects it’ll only work a single time before you need to recharge it. Inside, it’ll use a small pump to regulate how quickly the water pours — Calahan says it heats the water instantly, so the speed with which it travels through the pump is what determines the temperature.
The result is a portable carafe that should be able to increase the temperature of the water by as much as 130 degrees Fahrenheit — that might not be enough to get you to your perfect 200-degree pour over temp, but it could be close.
I’ve spent the past two weeks boiling water nonstop to make tea to fight a cold, so I was super excited to check out the Duo carafe. The idea of not having to wait to get water heated to the exact right temperature is appealing to me in my cold-stricken state. And though I have no reason to really doubt that the basic idea of this heating technology could work, I am less confident that I won’t be waiting just as long for my water to boil next year.