Green

BioLite — a camping stove that cooks meals with nothing but twigs as fuel

BioLite, a company that has produced a safe, efficient cooking stove that uses wood or twigs as fuel, has gotten a boost from a $1.8 million infusion of cash from investors.

The company has so far produced a cooking stove for use in developing countries (see picture top left). But the funding will help it produce another nifty stove for campers just wanting to be efficient while off the grid, to be available next year for $129 (below right).

BioLite CampStoveIts existing product is useful in markets where people have no access to the electricity grid, because it needs only wood as a fuel source. Its patent-pending technology uses a fan to blow air into the wood fire, which improves combustion. It does this by converting a fraction of the fire’s thermal energy into electricity, in order to power the fanning. Moreover, owners of the stove can use the excess electricity to charge small electronic devices such as mobile phones, LED lights and other devices.

The funding is the New York company’s first round of financing. It comes from the Disruptive Innovation Fund, Toniic Network and angel investors.

The company says the coming camping stove will let you cook with merely the twigs you collect while outside, and boasts that “it’s quick to light, fast to boil and clean to use.”

BioLite StoveThe company says 3 billion people in India, Sub Sahara Africa are cooking on toxic smoky fires, and often walk miles to gather fuel and light their homes with kerosene lamps. Smoke from indoor cooking kills nearly 2 million people every year, and it’s a major contributor to global warming. BioLite’s technology helps reduces smoke emissions by more than 90 percent, and thus global warming, it said. “We’ve created the world’s first improved cookstove to achieve 95 percent reductions in pollution without reliance on external electricity, said CEO Jonathan Cedar in a statement. The company says it uses less than half the wood of an open fire.

Cedar, along with some of the company’s other employees, previously worked at Smart Design, the product development consultancy that designed products like the OXO Good Grips and the Flip video camera.

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