BioLite

Outdoor Power Solutions

Off-Grid Power

From emergencies to camping, BioLite’s power supply and lighting innovations bring charging and illumination anywhere. They design every solution to work as well in developing countries as it does here.

Alec Drummond and Jonathan Cedar bonded over their passion for sustainable design, then started on a mission to develop clean,
affordable energy. By creating products to take off the grid, they can serve places in the world without reliable access to electricity.

A great example is their CampStove. It turns twigs, leaves, and other biomatter into usable electricity and cooking heat, courtesy of a thermoelectric generator. The energy created can charge your devices via the integrated USB port. Plus, an internal fan helps to produce a cleaner, more efficient burn that emits less smoke.

This technology—cool on your camping trip—is vital in remote countries. There, people often have cellphones but lack access to electricity and heat. They also tend to cook on open fires, which create dangerous amounts of smoke. Just for those populations, BioLite offers a larger version of the CampStove that makes cooking as well as charging simpler and safer.

BioLite believes energy is a basic human need and they’re committed to sharing it with the world.
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Burn a twig to charge your phone.

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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Hayley
    Hayley

    Hello Grommeteers! We're excited to launch our innovative power and lighting products to the Grommet community today. We're on a mission to bring energy everywhere -- all of our products can be used in first world countries, as well as emerging countries. How will you be using your BioLite gear?

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    3/4/2016 4:12 PM

    For someone who has no idea how you make this work, let's start with this, how does the 'smokeless' feature of the CampStove work?

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/4/2016 4:16 PM

    Great question. He we go. Heat from the wood burning activates the thermoelectric generator which then powers the fans. The fans then blow back into the chamber, increasing oxygen flow to the fire burning within, the added oxygen allows for full energy combustion which causes the wood to burn hotter. That equates to less smoke and ash created in the first place. Instead there is more usable heat and electricity. Basically, smoke and ash are remnants of unused, underutilized, or wasted energy. The energy is created and used so efficiently there is a 90% reduction in ash and smoke created in the first place

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    3/4/2016 4:16 PM

    Where and how do people in emerging markets typically charge their devices?

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/4/2016 4:18 PM

    Predominantly, people walk into city centers or towns and use pay-to-play charge banks. They charge their devices in the city centers then return to their more rural communities. Some people also use larger gas powered generators. Or, often they will steal from energy grids, they will take jumper cables and steal power from power grids which is extremely dangerous. These challenges and problems are what we are trying to help with BioLite.

  • 3ric
    3ric
    3/8/2016 12:31 PM

    @Hayley actually, no. Most times they wait for the grid to work, then charge. Many places lack power 4 to 16 hours a day, but they do have access to electricity.

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/8/2016 1:13 PM

    @3ric Thanks for pointing that out. There are billions of people who lack reliable access to energy and you're right, we do have a lot of users who have some access to electricity during the day like you mentioned above. But our team has also met with many people in rural locations who don't have any access and have experiences with charging that involve walking miles into city centers.

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    3/4/2016 4:18 PM

    How are the NanoGrid and PowerLight mini devices relevant to emerging markets or fit into the BioLite mission?

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/4/2016 4:22 PM

    Lighting alternatives in most of these areas are kerosene burning lamps which are very dangerous if knocked over because they can start fires. The other option is traditional fire which we know is hazardous because of smoke inhalation. Both of these options are hazardous and pollutants. The people from emerging markets can charge these devices in the city centers and bring them back with them or they can charge them using NanoGrid and PowerLight.

  • Michael
    Michael
    3/8/2016 10:27 AM

    Have you consider this as a donation item? For example., I don't camp and otherwise really have no need for this product. However, it provides a real benefit for under-developed parts of the world. I might be willing to buy one and send it to someone in the world who needs one. You'd only need to set up a charity arm of your company. Thanks.

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    3/8/2016 11:19 AM

    Hi Michael, right you are, this is a huge resource to people in developing countries. I'll let Hayley speak to whether or not that is in BioLite's plans. Thanks for the comment!

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/8/2016 11:35 AM

    @Michael Hey Michael, thank you so much for your generous offer. As a social enterprise we are dedicated to helping people in off grid communities get access to energy and clean cooking alternatives. We've designed a stove specifically for this market called the HomeStove. We've already distributed over 10,000 HomeStoves across India and sub-Saharan Africa. We don't accept HomeStove donations as believe that a market-based approach where we retail the stoves is much more sustainable. We are investing in local teams and partners in each region we work to market these stoves. The best way to support our work is to make purchase a BioLite product, if not for yourself, perhaps a gift to a friend or family member. Thanks!

  • Terry
    Terry
    3/8/2016 10:32 AM

    Seems to be a very inefficient power source, especially when diverting power to a fan. It would make more sense to market this as a clean cook stove which also happens to capture otherwise lost heat to charge a device. Seems rather spendy for third world customers. Seems rather spendy for me, too.

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/8/2016 11:41 AM

    Hi Terry, Great insight - that is exactly what the CampStove is! When our founders first set out to design the CampStove it was with the goal to create a more efficient word burning stove. They realized that they could actually create a clean burning wood-stove using the fan to improve combustion. There was some excess electricity and they realized that they could harness that power to charge small devices like a phone or headlamp. In terms of price for our customers in emerging markets, we've designed a stove specific for those markets and are working with partners on the ground to help make these stoves as affordable as possible. Thanks for your interest in our work!

  • dua
    dua
    3/8/2016 11:06 AM

    I did the math! 10.5 watt hours to charge an IPhone 6, divided by the 2 watt output of this device equals over 5 hours of my time stuffing this joke with twigs and pinecones. Can't stop laughing! I'm sure you will get enough tree huggers with too much disposable income and not enough common sense to buy a number of these, But if you think I'm cramming one in MY backpack, keep thinking. Why don't we continue to let the twigs and pinecones compost naturally so they will do the trees some good, instead of producing more carbon dioxide!

  • Wallace
    Wallace
    3/8/2016 11:17 AM

    I did some digging! Turns out, no one is forcing you to buy this product or cram it in your backpack. Can't believe it! Why don't you offer support to a company trying to help people in developing countries gain access to electricity? Then, they can post on this comment board with their fully powered device, too. My guess is they'll have something a little more positive to say.

  • Pamela
    Pamela
    3/8/2016 11:23 AM

    @DUA, glad you are getting a good laugh...maybe it will improve your outlook.

  • Wallace
    Wallace
    3/8/2016 11:28 AM

    @Pamela *virtual high five*

    Also, if you want twigs and pinecones to save the trees, doesn't that make you a tree hugger....?

  • carlton
    carlton
    3/8/2016 11:34 AM

    Pamela, Make that ten up high. DUA, please bring positive comments, as most of us reject countless forums due to negative comments and infighting. What have you invented? I have free lance written over 1700 patent applications and see beauty in each. Ideas are wonderful and are meant to be developed, yet must begin somewhere. Much thanks.

  • dua
    dua
    3/8/2016 11:38 AM

    @Pamela @ Wallace Really! It just makes no sense. You can buy small hand crank generators(that by the way create no carbon dioxide) for much less money, have a greater output, and even some of them made in America and not by slave labor in China like this. Check on Amazon, if you have doubt. I'm all for helping developing countries. I have a heart, a soul, a conscience, compassion - all of those things and more. That includes a high IQ, and lastly a great deal of common sense. Gullible people drinking Kool-Aid!

  • Wallace
    Wallace
    3/8/2016 11:44 AM

    First of all, Kool-Aid is delicious. Second, these generators don't allow people to cook meals over them or provide lighting. This is taking a generator to the next level. Thanks, BioLite.

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    3/8/2016 11:50 AM

    Hi everyone, thanks for the comments. DUA, yes, you can certainly find alternatives elsewhere, I'm not going to dispute that. And if you don't feel this is within your budget or you could find a use for it, that's ok. We know not every Grommet will appeal to everyone. We love the innovation behind BioLite as it helps developing countries. Giving them a resource to cook meals AND provide electricity while being so portable, blew us all away. It's not something we see every day. Combine that with the fact it can be useful to campers and travelers, we knew this was going to be a game-changing product.

    And for the record, I certainly don't doubt you have a heart and soul. Asking questions and doing your due diligence before purchasing a product is a great sign of common sense. :)

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/8/2016 11:53 AM

    Thanks everyone for your input and questions about the CampStove.

    @dua Totally get it, this stove is not for everyone. There are a lot of other ways to get a power output when you're off grid. This stove is for people who are interested in cooking a wood-fired meal without the smoke you'd normally get from a Campfire. It also outputs excess electricity so that you can power a small lights to light up your space or charge small devices like a go pro, headlamp or provide extra charge to your phone. Creating a charge by just using sticks and twigs is pretty awesome and the best part is that our CampStove is smokeless!

  • Timothy
    Timothy
    3/8/2016 11:37 AM

    Good questions raised, perhaps in negative tones, but good questions nonetheless. How long would it take to charge a standard IPhone with the Wood Fueled Generator? Also, would putting a small pot for boiling water on the top of the unit snuf out the fire for lack of oxygen or is there adequate venting from the sides of the unit?

    Superfish

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/8/2016 11:57 AM

    @Timothy Hi Timothy, Thanks for your interest in the CampStove! If you're charging your iPhone with the CampStove, it will get you from a half charge to full, in about 60 minutes. And what's cool is that you can cook your meal while doing so. No need to worry about the flame going out when using pots and pans, it was designed to cook meals over so works very well for this purpose. The CampStove is very efficient and can boil 1L of water in 4.5 minutes!

  • dua
    dua
    3/8/2016 12:11 PM

    @Hayley The information I have is that an IPhone 6 takes 10.5 watt hours to charge. I think your math is off.

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    3/8/2016 12:15 PM

    Hi DUA, an iPhone uses 10.5 watt hours of electricity, but that doesn't translate to the time it takes to charge. That depends on the power supply of the charger.

  • Gary
    Gary
    3/8/2016 4:52 PM

    Hayley is accurate. I have a biolite stove and use it all the time. It will charge an iphone form half to full in about an hour. Its truly an amazing device. Its also important to remember that whent he bioloite is burning it is actually charging its own onboard battery which in turn is charging the iphone.

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    3/8/2016 5:34 PM

    Thanks very much for the comment, Gary!

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/8/2016 5:46 PM

    Thanks @Gary! Glad to hear that you're enjoying your CampStove.

  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    3/8/2016 12:07 PM

    My husband bought this product and he absolutely loves it. He camps with my sons for Boy Scouts and this is a great addition to his tools that he brings along with him. Very light and compact and very efficient. This is a awesome product I totally recommend it!

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/8/2016 12:11 PM

    Hi Jennifer, Glad to hear that your family is enjoying the CampStove! We'd love to see some pictures of it in use with the Boy Scouts, if you ever have any to share, send them our way.

  • 3ric
    3ric
    3/8/2016 12:28 PM

    Umm, the term is "developing Nations", not " under developed". Nothing says a bunch of white westerns going to save the world more clearly than using offensive terms.

  • Jules
    Jules – Grommet Team
    3/8/2016 12:36 PM

    @3ric Thanks for the correction. You are right: even unintentional offense/ignorance is still offense, and I can see you know your way around that behavior.

  • Susan
    Susan
    3/8/2016 2:35 PM

    Confused totally. Under comments in details it specifically says not for out door use. I thought that was the point in camping.

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    3/8/2016 2:37 PM

    Hi Susan, I'm a little confused myself. It says "not for indoor use" under the details section to your point.

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/8/2016 2:39 PM

    Hey Susan, the CampStove is definitely meant for outdoor use!

  • Tom
    Tom
    3/8/2016 5:00 PM

    @Hayley I'm so glad to see this on grommet. I first saw this product on "Ask this old house". It looked like as great an idea then as it does now. Tom

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    3/8/2016 5:33 PM

    Thanks, Tom!

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/8/2016 5:42 PM

    Thanks for the support Tom!

  • David
    David
    3/8/2016 5:37 PM

    Hayley, will this stove charge the nanogrid light system?

  • Hayley
    Hayley – Special Guest
    3/8/2016 5:41 PM

    Hi David, It will charge the NanoGrid and the PowerLight Mini!

  • Barbara
    Barbara
    3/8/2016 7:50 PM

    These would be wonderful for the thousands of Full - Time RV'ers. We 'boondock' or camp 'dry bones' which means no power and water. We travel, and camp on Public Lands. Cell phone charging is hard, even with solar panels. There are a LOT of Senior Citizens that might find this product not only useful to them (while sitting around a campfire), but to give to other RV'ers as a terrific gift (it is always hard to give gifts, because weight lowers mileage, so an item needs to EARN it's 'fuel'). This item would be a natural for selling at RV supply stores like Camping World.? Plus, there are lots of RV'ing websites, too where your product would draw interest.

  • Mike
    Mike – Grommet Team
    3/9/2016 9:23 AM

    Barbara, that is a fantastic point. If they're not already on Camping World's radar, we'll make sure our Wholesale team puts them there. Thanks for the comment!

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.