The New Portable GeneratorsBrian Neville
If you haven’t seen the new generation of portable thermoelectric generators, be prepared to get excited. These little powerhouses convert heat from buring small debris or boiling water into power for USB devices such as smartphones, GPS units, cameras, lights, radios and water purifiers. One of the main benefits of these devices is that unlike solar panels they work in any weather at any time of day, indoors or outdoors.
A favorite of campers, the $129 BioLite CampStove uses heat to generate electricity. You don’t need special fuel to use it – which means you can just use leaves and twigs around the campsite instead of lugging petroleum-based fuel. Once you’ve built a little fire in the canister, you can plug in your small electronics via a high-heat USB cable and start charging. The CampStove weighs 33 ounces and will charge an iPhone in about 20 minutes.
Biolite also is developing a HomeStove that is a low-cost biomass cook stove for the home that reduces smoke emissions by 95% and has the ability to charge small electronics. Right now its being tested for use in developing nations but the finished functionality is sure to make a few preppers happy.
The PowerPot is a similar device that creates electricity from boiling water, making the perfect companion to your stash of Wise dehydrated meals. Users got to test their PowerPots during Hurricane Sandy and the company received testimonials from East Coasters who only had to have the ability to make a fire in order to charge their devices and stay connected with loved ones and keep up to date on emergency information. The PowerPot sits on top of a campstove or campfire fire, boils water and converts the heat to energy. It also makes enough hot water to rehydrate a couple of Wise meals!
The PowerPot weighs 18 ounces and can charge an iPhone in about 90 minutes.
These next generation power generators will keep you off the grid on your own terms – you’ll still be able to stay connected without relying on (or paying for) electricity. If you want to see the nerdy science behind these devices, click here.