Humans are intelligent beings that have flown to the moon, connected the world’s population via the Internet and created several means of conveyance that allow us to travel quickly and efficiently, all in the last 100 years. According to numbers reported by Time, it simply makes no sense that 1.3 billion people across the planet (roughly 20 percent of humankind) live without lights and electricity.
However, there are businesses, non-profits and individuals working to provide electricity and lights to those who live without. Hip-hop and pop artist Akon, who is Senegalese-American, established the Akon Lighting Africa charity that aims to bring solar power to 600 million people, reports The Independent. Here in the USA, companies like BioLite are redefining how we light up our living quarters and gain access to electricity. BioLite’s stove and lighting products have been featured in several publications and for good reason.
Providing natural power
The BioLite Campstove boils a liter of water in less than five minutes, grills up your steaks to perfection and charges your smartphone at the same time. The only fuel you need to make it work are dried twigs, pinecones or any burnable foliage you can find. The heat from the fire creates electricity via a thermoelectric generator.
The NanoGrid by Biolite is a lighting system powered by a rechargeable 4,400 mAh lithium ion battery. The three light elements illuminate up to a 33-foot (10 meter) radius from where you hang the lanterns. A fully-charged battery provides 22 hours of light. It can be charged through any USB outlet, including the BioLite Campstove. Thus, you will always have light as long as there’s wood and dried foliage in your general vicinity.
Making a positive impact
BioLite has an admirable track record and mission when it comes to providing electricity and safe cooking methods. A 2011 report by the National Fire Protection Association found a 2-to-1 ratio on death certificates for smoke inhalation as compared to burns. This problem is even more pronounced in developing countries where people cook indoors around open flames for hours at a time.
To combat this problem, BioLite invented a home version of the Campstove, and continues to work in conjunction with loan programs to help poor families and individuals afford them. The HomeStove emits 90 percent less carbon monoxide and 94 percent less smoke than an open fire, explains designer Jonathan Cedar to World Design Impact. BioLite products are not only saving lives, but also addressing climate change issues by reducing greenhouse gases in the air.
Having world adoption
BioLite products are currently used in over 70 countries, according to its website. The company has come a long way since Alec Drummond and Jonathan Cedar decided to prototype a wood-burning stove that converts its own heat into electricity. Thermoelectric technology has been around since the early 1800s, but has failed to catch on as an efficient and affordable alternative to grid power.
It took decades for solar power to become affordable and simple enough for the average person to utilize. Thermoelectric power is the next natural power source that will further reduce human reliance on fossil fuels.
Feature image courtesy of Above & Beyond