When Alexander Drummond and Jonathan Cedar, two camping enthusiasts from NYC, started developing a camping cook stove, little did they know that they would end up building HomeStove, a game-changing solution for potentially millions of people.
At first, they focused on developing a cook stove for campers, which used wood rather than fossil fuel, and had an integrated fan powered by waste heat to reduce the smoke. This would eventually make the stove even more effective as the fan is also used to generate more combustion, and therefore reduces the amount of wood needed.
With reductions of 90% in toxic smoke emissions and 50% of wood consumption compared to traditional open fire cooking, they soon understood that their innovation could have far-reaching capabilities. In the world, “around 3 billion people cook using polluting open fires”, according to the World Health Organization. Household pollution is responsible for almost 4 million deaths every year.
The two American entrepreneurs then added a feature which would make the HomeStove a real life-changer for people in low income communities. Thanks to thermoelectrics, the cook stove converts waste heat from the fire into 2 watts of usable electricity, and a USB port enables users to charge mobile devices, and power efficient bright LED lights.
The primary focus of BioLite, HomeStove’s parent company, has been to distribute the HomeStove in India and East Africa. Thanks to their business model, revenues from the camping market supports their work in developing countries, so that low-income families can access clean cooking, off-grid energy and phone charging facilities.
“BioLite’s business model is built around cross-sector partnerships with credit-enabled distributors. This distribution model allows BioLite to reach customers in remote regions, while overcoming purchase barriers that limit clean energy adoption among low-income customers” explained Matthew Goldberg, the Grant Program Manager at BioLite, in an interview with StartupTV.
According to their Impact Report, the HomeStove has allowed over half a million people to access clean cooking and clean energy, while offsetting over 200’000 tons of CO2.