the ‘powerpot’ thermoelectric power generator for off-grid living
developed by american materials engineer david toledo of startup company power practical, the ‘powerpot‘ is a thermoelectric power generator,
transforming the heat from cooking into electricity, in a device with no moving parts. the system offers a plausible means of off-grid
backpacking and living, using only heat and water to generate enough power to charge microelectronics-based devices like smartphones,
mp3 players, LEDs, and GPS units.
the system comprises two models plus one additional prototype: the ‘powerpot V’ providing up to 5 watts of usable electricity,
the ‘powerpot X’ generating 10, and the ‘XV’ (in development) which outputs up to 15 watts. the devices are effectively backpack
cooking pots combined with a thermoelectric generating base. the fhe models are composed of anodized aluminum to minimize weight,
holding 1.5 quart (1.4L), 2 quart (1.9 L), and 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water respectively.
a regulator cord features a 3-foot (0.9m) flame resistant cord leading to the USB charger plug. users can control the power output
of the system by choosing the intensity of the heat source, such as boiling or simmering water. interested readers can learn more
about how the powerpot works on the product’s page ‘how thermoelectrics work‘.
full front view of the ‘powerpot’
back view with cooking unit
having already achieved its funding goal but still accepting preorder pledges on kickstarter, the ‘powerpot V’ and ‘X’
are expected to be available in june 2012, with the larger ‘XV’ model in july. the designers hope that the system
will be used for distribution in developing countries, in addition to its use for camping and traveling, offering an option
on kickstarter where people can order a ‘powerpot’ for themselves for 125 USD, donate one to africa for 99 USD,
or do both fro 199 USD. caleb light, CFO of power practical, explains:
‘there are over 200 million people in Africa that use cell phones but lack access to electricity. some must walk over a mile
and spend over 15% of their monthly income just to charge their phone. it is difficult to keep in touch with loved ones
or do business off-grid. since most people faced with this problem cook on an open fire, the ‘powerpot’ fits perfectly into their routine.‘
this ‘powerpot’ simultaneously powers four LED lights or other microelectronics devices like smartphones or mp3 players
image courtesy intel innovations