Imagine this: a stove that uses free fuel to cook your food and at the same time charges your phone.
Too good to be true? Not if the inventors of the BioLite are to believed.
This little piece of inspired technology was one of the more interesting items on offer at this week’s Outdoor Trade Show, where retailers meet the outdoors brands to decide what goodies will appear in a shop near you.
The BioLite Camp-Stove burns wood and uses the heat to generate electrical current that drives a fan to force air back into the stove, and in doing so make for much more efficient combustion.
The good news is that excess electricity from the thermoelectric generator can be drawn off via a USB port to top up small electronic devices such as mobile phones and LED lights.
The incongruous combination of a mini-sized wood-burning stove and electricity generator relies on the BioLite’s patented generator which is claimed to give a continuous output of 2W at 5V, peaking to 4W.
Output from the stove, depending on material being burnt, is rated between 3.4kW and 5.5kW which the manufacturers say will boil a litre of water in 4½ minutes.
Fuel is any biomass, such as twigs, pinecones or wood pellets and the stove is claimed to be carbon neutral. Obviously, if you’re camping on a frozen winter Cairngorm plateau or a rocky Lakeland peak it’s unlikely you’ll find much in the way of fuel, so remember to pick it up on the way up!
The BioLite Camp-Stove packs down to a size of 22cm (8½in) tall by 13cm (5in) wide.
A typical 20 minute charge from the stove, while you’re cooking your supper would, the company says, provide about an hour’s worth of talk time, depending on the phone and strength of fire.
The stove needs 46g (1.6oz) of wood to boil a litre of water.
This remarkable little gadget will retail for £149.95 when it hits the UK’s shops next March.
The stove comes with a pack of firelighter sticks, a stuff sack and instructions. You’ll have to find your own wood.
The stove has aluminium legs and is sheathed in a mesh to reduce the risk from hot surfaces.
The BioLite is certain too to make a better focal point to sit around than a gas stove.
The bigger version of the BioLite, the HomeStove, is being used to bring more efficient cooking to communities in developing countries.
The BioLite concept is the baby of Alexander Drummond and Jonathan Cedar of Smart Design in New York City.
The stove will be distributed in Britain by Kendal-based Whitby & Co.