Over at PSFK, we have long been fans of BioLite, a company that manufacturers two rather unique cooking stoves. The two stoves currently operate in conjunction with wood-burning fires and have the unique capability to capture thermal energy and convert it into electricity. In doing so, the stoves are able to provide electric power to charge phones and run other devices (via a USB connection).
In addition to providing off-the-grid electricity, the stoves massively reduce the amount of smoke that result from cooking fires. This is important for a variety of reasons, one of which is the dangers associated with the smoke output from biomass fueled fires (biomass being more readily abundant than wood in some low-income areas).
The company, which was founded by Jonathan Cedar and Alexander Drummond, was borne out of frustration with the inefficiency of traditional camping stoves that require propane or batteries to operate. In addition to creating a solution to their problem, they have also created a socially conscious business, one of the aims of which is to use their stoves to alleviate some of the issues tied to poverty.
The company has received a lot of praise for the quality of their product and the righteousness of their mission. In an interview with The New York Times, they said:
Our goal is to sell a million stoves within five years, then we want to become the go-to source for energy solutions in off-grid markets for refrigeration, lighting and clean water. But first, we need to get the stove right, so it delivers the health and economic benefits, and doesn’t end up sitting unused in a corner.
We were asked by our friends at Intel to showcase a brand that marries utility and socially conscious business. Intel has made a commitment to environmental concerns, and in 2011 their green power purchases accounted for 85 percent of their U.S electricity use. Follow the conversation on Twitter with #intelalwayson.