Outside of camping, there aren’t a lot of practical day-to-day uses for the Powerpot from engineer David Toledo and his company Power Practical. But if you are out in the woods and need some working electronics, then this device will definitely come in handy.
The Powerpot is a thermoelectric power generator that transforms heat from cooking into electricity. Now, you can’t power a stereo system but it will charge up microelectronics devices like smartphones, MP3 players, and GPS units. Powerpots transfer electricity via a three-foot flame-resistant regulator cord, which ends in a USB plug. According to Power Practical, the Powerpot can simultaneously power four LED lights or a smartphone and an MP3 player. To learn more about thermoelectric power we’d recommend a look Power Practical’s “How it works” page.
Currently, Toledo has two models ready to go: the Powerpot V,which provides up to 5 watts of electricity, and the Powerpot X which generates 10 watts. He is also developing the XV which will put out up to 15 watts of electricity. Respectively, the pots can hold 1.5 quarts, 2 quarts, and 1 gallon. Powerpots are made out of anodized aluminum, and come with a thermoelectric generating base (in the photos, the base is the copper-looking piece at the bottom of the device).
Powerpots V and X are expected to be available starting in June with the potential for the XV to come out in July. You can preorder a Powerpot for $125, donate one to Africa for $99, or do both for $199.
The designers hope that they can get the Powerpot distributed in developing countries. Caleb Light, CFO of Power Practical, says, “There are over 200 million people in Africa that use cell phones but lack access to electricity. Some must walk over a mile and spend over 15 percent of their monthly income just to charge their phone. It is difficult to keep in touch with loved ones or do business off-grid. Since most people faced with this problem cook on an open fire, the ‘powerpot’ fits perfectly into their routine.”