On our trips we do quite a lot of filming and photography to capture the scenes and the places we’ve been, and power for the gadgets especially mobile phones is always a problem, especially on longer trips like the River Spey Adventure we have planned for July this year. In the past we’ve tried solar power packs and taking extra batteries and portable battery packs, and none of these really worked well enough.
Recently there’s some new technology around mobile power supplies, including hyrdrogen fuel cells such as the PowerTrekk where in theory all you need is a water source to refill the cell to create power; these are somewhat extreme perhaps more suited to use by the military – you have to store and handle these things carefully, and they aren’t that cheap, but interesting nonetheless.
But then this appears. The BioLite Camp Stove – simply it’s a stove, with a heat exchanger converting heat to electricity, and USB ports on the side! In fact it’s a type of stove called a rocket stove, which uses a turbine principle where acceleration of the combustion process is provided by a small electric fan.
The simpler version of this is the ol’ favourite the Kelly Kettle, somewhat more robust potentially, which uses the ‘chimney effect’ to create that same acceleration – but the BiolLite uses a fan to the same effect.
It was developed out of a project to create a cleaner-burning stove for use in developing countries where smoke inhalation from poorly-combusted fuel from indoor cooking fires is a major source of premature death (i.e. bigger than malaria!) from pneumonia – something not many of us here in the West are aware of I think. It’s a huge killer and it makes this project one of great importance. And the camp stove is a spin-off, but please visit www.biolitestove.comand find out more about the wider project.
We’ll hopefully (subject to supply!) be getting a Stove sent to us in July for testing and hope to try it out for camera and phone power on our Spey Adventure, and am really intrigued to see this thing in action. Here’s a photo which tells it’s own story!