BioLite

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BioLite
Headquarters New York City

BioLite, a startup based in New York City, develops and manufactures off-grid energy products for both the outdoor recreational industry and emerging markets. The company is most well known for their flagship wood-burning stoves that utilize thermoelectric technology to produce usable electricity from the heat of their fires.

History[edit]

Jonathan Cedar and Alexander Drummond together developed the BioLite stove technology. They met while working at Smart Design, a design consultancy in New York City.[1] The two inventors became interested in portable stoves that combined local sources of wood with battery-powered fans. The idea evolved to a low-emissions stove that utilized a thermoelectric generator called the BioLite CampStove, which was officially launched in 2012. BioLite is headquartered in DUMBO, Brooklyn with additional offices in India, Uganda, and Kenya.

In 2009, the founders learned that their technology could have impact on off-grid developing communities and bifurcated the business to incorporate both outdoor recreational and emerging markets.[2][3] Using a modified rocket stove and working with the Aprovecho Research Center, Cedar developed a larger model cook stove named the HomeStove, designed to replace harmful indoor cooking fires.

Timeline[edit]

2009

  • January – CampStove prototype wins top prize at ETHOS Combustion Conference
  • September – Cedar leaves Smart Design to work on BioLite full-time
  • November – HomeStove H1 prototype is created

2010

  • March – The addition of a USB Port is considered for the future of BioLite
  • April – With the help of the Aprovecho Research Center, thermoelectric rocket stove emissions were measured

2011

  • February – BioLite settles down in Brooklyn, NY and hires its first staff members
  • May – In an effort to understand user needs, BioLite field tests the H2 HomeStove prototype in India
  • September – After five rounds of prototypes, the CampStove design is approved
  • November – Field tests are run in Ghana and Uganda with the H3 prototype

2012

  • May – The first CampStove orders ship
  • April – USPTO grants BioLite patents for core technology
  • November – HomeStove H4 prototype approved for pilot testing[4]

2013

  • February – BioLite launches Portable Grill Accessory
  • Spring – BioLite debuts at REI stores nationwide
  • September – BioLite launches KettlePot Accessory

2014

  • June – BioLite launches BaseCamp Stove campaign and raises $1MM on Kickstarter
  • August – BioLite launches KettleCharge

2015

  • February – BioLite launches the NanoGrid, expanding the organization's energy offering into the Lighting category
  • November – BioLite announces that it has erased its carbon history and commits to ongoing carbon neutrality[5]

2016

  • February – BioLite launches Energy Ecosystem: PowerLight Mini, SolarPanel 5 Series, and CookStove
  • September - Biolite lauches an idea for the 'DigsyStove'

BioLite products[edit]

HomeStove[edit]

The HomeStove’s design converts the heat of fire into usable electricity to power a fan, which then reduces fuel needs by 50%, toxic smoke by about 95%, and carbon monoxide emissions by 91%. Additionally, the amount of CO2 saved per year by one stove equals the amount that’s saved by buying a hybrid car.[6] The remaining off-grid energy that does not power the fan can then be used to charge portable devices through a USB port, such as cell phones and LED lights.[7][8] Moreover, the effects of deforestation are lessened and time is regained by women and children who spend hours gathering wood for open fires. Manufacturing costs are low and this efficient wood-burning stove pays for itself within six to seven months.[9]

The BioLite HomeStove in use

BioLite focuses on sustainable market development by using a market-based approach, as opposed to donations or a “one for one” model. This allows for local entrepreneurship and stimulates local markets.[10] The HomeStove is currently in large-scale pilot testing across India, Ghana, and Uganda. Recently, thanks to a Spark Fund grant, BioLite will be kicking off a project in Uganda with partners at Impact Carbon.[11] The Spark Fund grant is part of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an organization that provides clean cook stoves to people in areas with high poverty rates. Its mission is to reduce the number of deaths caused by open cooking fires each year (approximately four million), and is endorsed by people such as Julia Roberts and Hillary Clinton (who referred to BioLite in her announcement of the UN Clean Cookstove Alliance).[4][12][13]

CampStove[edit]

An image of a BioLite CampStove connected to a smartphone
A photo of a BioLite CampStove in operation being demonstrated outdoors
The CampStove shown connected to a smartphone (left) and being demonstrated outdoors (right)

The CampStove was launched in 2012 and is predominantly used by outdoor enthusiasts. Renewable biomass fuels – such as sticks, pinecones, and brush – power the stove, replacing resources like charcoal or petroleum. The CampStove can boil water in five minutes.[14] Smaller than the HomeStove, the CampStove is 8.25” tall and weighs 33 oz, but like the larger model, excess heat is converted into energy. BioLite sells stoves in over seventy countries. The CampStove has also been used as an emergency preparedness tool. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, tables were set up in New York City, offering those without power hot drinks and a chance to charge their cell phones.[15]

temperatures can reach between 1200-1600 degrees F in the biolite.[16]

Portable Grill[edit]

The BioLite Portable Grill, released in 2013, is designed to work with the CampStove. Features include a fuel intake lid for fire maintenance, compact design with foldable legs and a travel cover for transportation. The travel cover can additionally function as a serving dish or cutting board. The steel grill grate has three temperature zones for searing, cooking, and toasting. The grill weighs in at just under 2 lbs (0.9 kg).[17]

BaseCamp[edit]

The BaseCamp is much like the HomeStove, but is available for purchase to regular consumers. The BaseCamp was another Kickstarter success[18] They also have a PizzaDome accessory that converts the BaseCamp into a pizza oven.

Lighting products[edit]

BioLite also has a set of rechargeable lights: BaseLantern XL, BaseLantern, PowerLight, and PowerLight Mini. All of these incorporate rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries with LED floodlights, can be recharged with a USB connection, and also supply power to external devices via USB. All except the PowerLight Mini also have a port to connect their SiteLights, which are LED flood lights on string-like wires that can be used to create what BioLite calls a "NanoGrid." The BaseLantern and BaseLantern XL were also Kickstarter products[19] and are referred to as "SmartLights" due to Smartphone integration (via Bluetooth connectivity) and programability.

Charging Products[edit]

BioLite also sells products that can generate electricity for USB devices. They make the SolarPanel 5, the SolarPanel 5+, and the KettleCharge. The SolarPanels are both solar panels with a "kickstand", with the "+" model including an internal lithium-ion battery for energy storage. The KettleCharge is a thermoelectric generator that can be used with other stoves and heat sources It includes a 1250 mAh lithium iron phosphate battery for energy storage.[20]

Business model[edit]

BioLite employs a model of parallel innovation, long-term for-profit social enterprise supported by more immediate market capital.[21] According to BioLite, they utilized their “near-term CampStove market as a way to generate revenue that essentially allowed [them] to become [their] own investors in the HomeStove vision.”[22] That involves a market-based approach to some of the issues in emerging communities. The recreational and emergency preparedness markets of the CampStove keep the HomeStove low-cost. BioLite utilizes local distribution networks and alters their stove design to support the variety of cultural cooking preferences.

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Inventions: The BioLite Stove". Dartmouth Engineer. Summer 2012. 
  2. ^ "Jonathan Cedar and Alex Drummond's innovation: the BioLite stove". The Guardian. 11 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Cooking Up a Cleaner, Safer Open-Fire Stove". The New York Times. 20 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Energy Everywhere". BioLite. 
  5. ^ "BioLite Has Gone Completely Carbon Neutral". Observer. Retrieved 2016-02-17. 
  6. ^ "BioLite Home Stove". Design To Improve Life. 
  7. ^ a b "MICROGRID ENERGY RULES THE SUSTAINABLE BRANDS INNOVATION OPEN". Fast Company. 11 June 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "OWPG Derryck Draper Award goes to BioLite Campstove". OWPG. 18 October 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "The Tech Awards to Honor Global Innovators Who Use Technology to Benefit Humanity". The Tech Museum of Innovation. 26 September 2012. 
  10. ^ "Our Impact". Impact Carbon. 
  11. ^ "COOKSTOVE ENTERPRISES SPLIT $2 MILLION FUND TO SPARK GLOBAL CLEAN COOKING MARKET". Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. 29 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "NEW STUDY ESTIMATES 4 MILLION DEATHS FROM HOUSEHOLD COOKING SMOKE EACH YEAR". Gloval Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. 13 December 2012. 
  13. ^ "Alliance Mission and Goals". Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. 
  14. ^ a b "Grand Award Winner: The BioLite CampStove". PopSci. 
  15. ^ "Dead Phone Battery? Just Burn Something". The New York Times. 6 November 2012. 
  16. ^ = Google Patents "Portable combustion device utilizing thermoelectrical generation" Check |url= value (help). 
  17. ^ "BioLite adds a grill option to its gadget-charging CampStove". Gizmag. 15 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "BioLite BaseCamp Stove". Kickstarter. 
  19. ^ "BioLite BaseLantern – Smartgrid Goes Off-Grid". Kickstarter. 
  20. ^ "KettleCharge". BioLite. 
  21. ^ "Beyond 'Buy One, Give One': Pairing Cause Marketing with Social Enterprise". Good + You. 5 December 2012. 
  22. ^ a b "BioLite HomeStove". Core77 Design Awards. 
  23. ^ "Public Interest Design Global 100". Public Interest Design Global 100. 
  24. ^ "Travel + Leisure Announces 2013 Design Award Winners". MediaBistro. 6 February 2013. 
  25. ^ "Charge Your Devices Around the Campfire?". Autodesk. 28 February 2013. 
  26. ^ "Gear of the Year 2012". National Geographic. 
  27. ^ "BioLite™ Honored for Innovation and Design by Fast Company". SNEWS. 17 September 2012. 
  28. ^ "EPIC Award: Inventors of BioLite Stove". Gear Junkie. 10 August 2012. 
  29. ^ a b "SB Community Supports It's Own: Citizen Group Award's BioLite the Winner in "Play It Forward" Competition". Sustainable Brands. 19 September 2011. 
  30. ^ "BioLite Home Stove". Design to Improve. 
  31. ^ "America's Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs 2011". Bloomberg Businessweek. 13 July 2011. 
  32. ^ "2011 ST ANDREWS PRIZE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT $125,000 PRIZE AWARDS". St. Andrews Prize. 
  33. ^ "UC Berkeley Sensors Takes Top Prize in Vodafone Innovation Project". Smoke in the Kitchen. 22 April 2010. 

External links[edit]