A startup has developed a thermoelectric generator that doubles up as a cooking vessel, dubbed powerPot, set to enable over 200 million people in Africa who live off the electric grid charge phones and other devices.
Power Practical, the company that developed the device, said in a statement: “over 200 million people living in Africa own cellphones that they have a problem charging. Many have to walk over a mile to find a micro-charging business just to stay powered”
According to the company, hundreds of millions go without regular access to electricity in those regions of the world, and since natural gas is scarce, people typically use wood fires everyday to prepare their food.
The company added its product fits perfectly into this routine, enabling off-grid users to charge their personal devices.
The portable electric generator that doubles up as a cooking pot converts transferred heat into electricity when placed on a stove allowing power to function under cold or hot conditions. It can be used indoors or outside and works with any fuel source.
The device comes equipped with heat-resistant cabling and can withstand temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celcius making it suitable for open fire.
“Unlike solar power, The PowerPot works day or night, rain or shine to bring you the electricity allowing you to keep charging, anytime, anywhere,” said David Toled, the founder.
It is coated with silicon that makes it water resistant and impermeable to mud, dirt and dust.
“This makes it especially well-suited to the off-grid lifestyle, where cooking usually takes place on an open fire,” said Power Practical.
The device was field-tested in rural Ghana and according to Angie Thompson of Power Practical, the device was well received in the country and proved especially useful during cold weather.
People are dying for free power here, she says, they have varied electrical issues and are still cooking on rocks.
The company however acknowledges that delivering the product to those who need it as a difficult task. It says it has launched a promotional campaign to popularise and help deliver the product.
Power Practical is based in Salt Lake City, Utah.