BioLite HomeStove

SUMMARY: Half the planet cooks on smoky open fires causing nearly 2 million premature deaths annually. BioLite has created a biomass cookstove that, by converting waste heat into electricity, reduces smoke emissions by 95% for improved health while providing a mobile phone and LED light charging capability to drive widespread adoption.

PROBLEM SPACE: Inefficient cooking fires in the developing world cause 2 million premature deaths each year according to the World Health Organization. The CO2, methane, and black carbon emitted from these fires are also major contributors to climate change, with each home producing as much CO2e as an average American car.

SOLUTION: The BioLite HomeStove is the first improved cookstove in the world to achieve 95% reductions in emissions without reliance on external electricity sources. Using our innovative technology, the stove converts waste heat to electricity that powers a fan, creating an ultra-efficient fire. Excess electricity can be used to charge mobile phones and LED lights, providing economic incentive for purchase and use.

Our initial inspiration came from an idea for an efficient wood-burning camping stove. When we learned of the potential for our technology to help provide a solution for the major challenges posed by cooking fires in the developing world, we committed to developing the HomeStove and bringing it to market.

Over the past two years the HomeStove has evolved from a proof of concept model to a field-verified product. We have conducted user trials in India, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Guatemala to ensure that the product fully meets a wide range of local needs and customs.

The company leaders have leveraged their capabilities in product design, fluid and thermal systems engineering experience, as well as data gathered from our prior and current small-scale field trial programs to refine the design for optimum affordability, reliability, and durability. Our next step is large-scale pilot testing prior to mass manufacture of the final product. Over the coming year BioLite will conduct trials in India, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda to deepen relationships with distribution partners, refine marketing materials, and develop carbon and consumer financing tools.

By the end of 2012, we will complete our pilot and will begin reaching out to consumers at a large scale through partnerships with local distributors. Over the next five years, we are committed to providing clean cooking and electricity access to 1.2 million homes across India and Sub-Saharan Africa.