Over 3 billion people use solid fuel (like wood) for cooking. This is not ideal, since the toxic smoke from indoor cooking fires kills 1.6 million people per year while wafting up into the atmosphere where it does all kinds of other bad stuff (in total, it’s about 50% of the nastiness of CO2 when it comes to climate change).
What do you care about all this? You don’t! What you do care about (maybe) is sweet camping gear. The BioLite stove is portable, efficient, and powerful. It burns pretty much anything you care to toss into it, uses only half as much fuel as a regular fire, and boils water significantly faster than a conventional petroleum fuel camp stove. The reason that we’re posting about it, though, is that what makes the stove perform so well is an attached thermoelectric generator. The generator uses heat from the fire to power a small fan that improves combustion efficiency by blowing air back into the stove, and there’s enough energy left over (1-2 watts) to charge portable electronics through a USB port.
The BioLite camp stove is a bit bulkier than some other camp stoves and weighs a pound and a half, but you don’t have to carry fuel, and unless you’re camping in the arctic, you probably won’t run out of stuff to burn. It should be available sometime this year for around $80.
Incidentally, the BioLite stove also reduces smoke emissions by 95%, which saves lives and the environment. But, you know, whatever… (There’s a larger version for the developing world for $50).