To get a hot meal on the trail, campers must either lug a propane stove and fuel canister or try their luck on the uneven heat of a campfire. Designers at BioLite in Brooklyn have created a new solution. Their lightweight wood-fired CampStove not only burns as hot as a propane one but also converts waste heat into electricity to charge any USB-powered gadget.
SET THE FIRE
Campers pack a small handful of sticks into the bottom of the stove's dual-walled steel combustion chamber and light the fire. One batch of kindling can boil a liter of water in five minutes.
FEED THE FIRE
A one-inch blower fan pushes fresh air into an angled vent near the bottom of the stove and circulates it counterclockwise through a half-inch gap between the combustion-chamber walls. The inner wall is perforated with 34 holes near the top and 11 more near the bottom. As air heats up, it expands and enters the combustion chamber to feed the fire.
A custom thermoelectric generator (TEG) converts heat into voltage. On one side of the TEG, a 1.5-inch copper-and-aluminum heat probe extends into the fire. On the other side, the fan cools a set of heat-sink vanes. As electrons move between the hot and cold sides of the TEG, they are directed into a set of wires.
Electrons pass through the set of wires and into a printed circuit board, which contains a processor. The processor evens the current and sends power to the blower fan, a battery that holds reserve power for the fan, and a USB-connected device. The CampStove produces a steady two watts of power, enough to provide an iPhone with 60 minutes of talk time on a 20-minute charge.
Dimensions: 8.25 inches by 5 inches
Weight: 2 pounds, 1 ounce
Very clever and practical.
Now, the idea needs to be extended to household forced air furnaces. It's nuts the loss of electric power in a winter storm can render a gas fired furnace inoperable.
A sterling engine driven furnace fan or a thermoelectric device described in the article would keep the heat flowing even with the electric grid knocked out.
If the reviews support this performs as promised, I want one!
This is a great idea... I can imagine that a product like this would be very popular in power outages. Nothing worse than sitting in a dark apartment with a dead ipad.
How much voltage and current does the "custom thermoelectric generator (TEG)" make? How much does it cost? Who produces it? How much does it cost? Is there a link to get more information?
This device alone has all my attention!
It seems like a nice design, i prefer the powerpot, it's sturdier, and puts out twice the watts. in response to Robot it puts out only 2 watts at roughly 5 volts.
I have one, it is Awesome! It has charged my Iphone 4s and it can charge small portable speakers etc. (not simultaneously)
I highly recommend it (even survived a downpour (not lit of course))
So, how well does it work as a stove? The USB is a nice frill, but for $130, it should really improve the wienie roasting process.
Question -- a fan is mentioned. Does the generator recharge the fan's power supply?
bildan -- sorry. I don't believe that generators of this type have anything like the efficiency needed to generate enough power to drive a furnace fan and all of the control logic. Not to mention the igniter, which must be powered up to light the flame.
"So, how well does it work as a stove?"
I have similar stove, but, unfortunately without thermoelectric generator, I need to have a supply of AA batteries when I camp.
As a stove it works great. To make a breakfast it takes а fistful of brush. Everything burns with nice blue flame, almost no smoke. One problem is that the stove gets dirty over time. Mine is difficult to wash, because the fan is riveted in, and I can not remove it.
IMHO, thermoelectric generator is must have in device like this, but electric part have to be removable to make cleaning easy.
A good idea as far as ideas go, but isn't camping about getting away from it all. No phone, or at least only for a dire emergency, observe nature and not the I pad, make your fire between a couple of stones. Stay unconnected for a couple of days.
This looks like a great device and I was wondering if you could use sea water, then once the evaporated water condenses again, will it be desalinated? If thats the case, then you could see remote coastal communities in Africa or other developing countries getting a lot from this. Either way, a really good piece of design and best of luck with it.
2lbs 1 oz? That isn't going anywhere near a backpack. There are lighter alternatives to both stove and charging. If weight isn't a concern, there are heavier devices that are more practical too. Cool concept though.
Been contemplating the BioLite CampStove for some time now and have finally given in and had to buy (well preorder) one: www.aboveandbeyond.co.uk/.biolite-campstove_973100140000.htm. Had a look at the PowerPot and looks really interesting too. Does anyone know where you can buy it in the UK as I can't find it?