BioLite Portable Power Camp Gear: Bringing Heat and Light to the World

shutterstock_130267460 (1)During Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers could be seen in Washington Square Park recharging their cellphones with electricity generated by portable camping stoves, which also provided warm coffee. The stoves were supplied by BioLite, a Brooklyn-based business pioneering innovative ways to generate off-grid heat and power. The New York Business Journal recently reported that this smart startup raised $5 million in capital to promote its mission of bringing clean energy solutions to developing countries and outdoor enthusiasts. Company founders Jonathan Cedar and Alec Drummond see BioLite technology as a potential solution to a range of global problems associated with third-world use of wooden cooking stoves. Outdoor campers can also benefit from BioLite’s innovative products, which provide energy-efficient cooking, recharging and lighting solutions.

Energy-efficient, Safe Cooking

BioLite’s breakthrough product was the HomeStove, unveiled in 2009 at the ETHOS Combustion Conference, where it won the top prize for lowest emissions. The stove applied a thermoelectric phenomenon which enables temperature differences to be converted into electrical voltage and vice versa. By applying this principle, Cedar and Drummond designed a small stove that converts heat from burning wood into electricity to power a fan. The stove generates heat and electricity at the same time. It requires only half the fuel of other wood-burning stoves, while producing 95 percent less toxic smoke.

biolite-campstoveFor people in developing nations, this is a breakthrough. According to WorldChanging.com, about three billion people in the world use wooden cooking stoves that give off excessive fumes, causing 1.5 million deaths annually from smoke inhalation. By reducing smoke, BioLite stoves can save lives. The stoves can also make life easier by requiring less work spent gathering wood. Additionally, BioLite’s stoves produce 91 percent less CO2 than traditional stoves, equivalent to 1.5 fewer tons per year, or the amount saved by using a hybrid car.

Since introducing the HomeStove, BioLite has used the same principle to develop several other cooking products suitable for both third-world use and camping outdoors. The CampStove is smaller than the HomeStove and can be powered by sources such as sticks and pinecones, making it well-suited to portable outdoor use. The BioLite BaseCamp is a larger version of the CampStove with a grill top built in.

Off-Grid Charging

In addition to supplying heat, BioLite stoves also produce power. The stoves come with an attached USB port that is powered when you burn a fire, which can be used to recharge your smartphone. The stove burns wood fast, so you should gather a couple shopping bags of twigs if you intend to fully recharge a battery. Clean accumulated ashes out periodically to keep the flame hot enough for optimal charging.

bio-liteNanoGrid_51_largePortable Lighting

BioLite has also developed a line of portable USB-powered lighting products. As the Dish Insider’s Guide explains, the BioLite NanoGrid combines charging and lighting features into a grid network you can hold in your hand or hang from a tree. The grid includes a standable PowerLight, which can be charged via USB from either a BioLite stove or an electrical outlet, and two overhead SightLights, powered by the PowerLight and connected by 20 feet of cord. The grid can illuminate a campsite area for up to 22 hours.

Carrying Convenience

With portability in mind, BioLite also produces a number of carrying cases for its products, available on the company’s website. The BioLite Carry Pack comes with a two-way adjustable strap and is designed to carry the BaseCamp unit, with room for other items such as wood. The BioLite Kettle Pot can also serve as a carrying case for the CampStove.

You can checkout all of the BioLite products in this article at any Sportsman & Ski Haus location.