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The BioLite HomeStove is an advanced forced ventilation biomass cookstove. It uses thermoelectric technology to convert temperature differences between fire and air into an electric voltage, which powers a fan that improves fire combustion. The result is a reduction in toxic indoor smoke by up to 90% and reduced fuel consumption by 50%, eliminating up to 2.5 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per stove per year.
Excess electricity generated during cooking sessions charges USB-powered devices such as mobile phones and LED lights. The stove therefore provides direct economic returns through a combination of both fuel savings, as well as electricity generation. The capacity to charge also serves as the catalyst to widespread adoption: It engages males of the household who are typically the device owners and make purchasing decisions.
Background Information & Social Impact
More than 3 billion people cook indoors everyday, using wood and other solid fuels. The result is toxic smoke. 4 million people, mostly women and children, die each year from constantly breathing in this smoke. This makes a higher death rate than the annual tolls of AIDS and Malaria combined. Cooking on open fire also makes up the main main part of black carbon emissions worldwide and is the second biggest contributor to climate change, following CO2.
Although less costly than petroleum alternatives, solid fuel comes at a price. Families spend 2-4 hours per day collecting firewood and, in areas where wood must be purchased, it can account for 10-15% of their income. 1.5 billion people lack access to electricity. Despite this, a large and rapidly growing proportion of off-grid households own mobile phones. To support this practice, off-grid consumers travel long distances and pay $1-5 per month – up to two days’ salary – to recharge phones at retail charging stations. The HomeStove provides a solution to each one of these issues.