Off-Grid Power Generator (in form of Cooking Pot)

One evening last week I charged my iPhone by boiling a pot of water. A camp stove aided in the process as well as a cable and an aluminum cooking pot.

No, this was not a science experiment with my kids. A new product from a Utah startup company, the PowerPot, uses heat from a fire to make electricity.

PowerPot Generator pot.jpg

The PowerPot

You cook over an open flame, be it with the pot set on a camp stove or on a small fire built with logs. A mechanism inside the base of the PowerPot transforms heat to usable electricity via an electromagnetic reaction.

In my test this past week, the little pot worked right away. Power icon bars on my phone began dancing almost immediately after plugging into the PowerPot.

A cable by the pot handle provided the hook-up, and as long as a flame licked the pot base my phone sucked in the juice.

powerpot heating plate.jpg

Bottom of pot: Plate produces power via an electromagnetic reaction

Cameras, GPS devices, handheld radios, phones, and other devices will mate with the PowerPot. It comes with a universal cable and adapters to connect to common gadgets you might bring into the woods.

The PowerPot is a simple, solid product in the hand. It’s made of anodized aluminum and has capacity to heat about 45 liquid ounces of water. It weighs less than a pound (about 12 ounces) in a backpack hiking down the trail.

The pot is similar in concept to the BioLite stove, which we wrote about earlier this year, in that each is a cooking-oriented product that has the side benefit of generating power.

But the two products are different — the BioLite requires wood burning in its metal barrel to make electricity; you then place a normal cooking pot on top of it if you want water heated up.

powerpot cord.jpg

USB cable plugs into PowerPot

In contrast, the PowerPot requires a flame from another device (a camp stove) or from heat on an open fire. Both these products produce electricity from flame and heat, though by varying means.

On the PowerPot, I had concern with the rubberized cables so close to an open flame. But the company took steps in the design to make it right — the cables have a heat-resistant silicone fiberglass protective layer.

PowerPot Generator.jpg

Inside the pot

The PowerPot costs $149. For that you get electricity and hot water, too. But it is not made for cooking soup, stew, or food — hot water is its main purpose.

You can melt snow or ice in the pot to make water on winter camping trips. The company touts this as actually producing more power output as the temp difference is greater with snow and ice, perpetuating the electromagnetic reaction.

Portable solar power panels or simply extra batteries in the pack are other options for a backcountry recharge. But with the PowerPot you get an on-demand plug for recharging devices, day or night, rain or shine.

Your kids might enjoy it as a science experiment, to boot.

test continued on next page. . .

Posted by terra - 11/16/2012 02:13 PM

With a deep enough hole into the earths crust and equally long cable I can drop this into the hole and have continuous power! Start drilling!

Posted by cathrillseekers - 12/27/2012 05:44 PM

Really like option over the BioLite. I will test and review. Christmas gift to myself and you wonder why the wife never can find me anything. Because I buy it first. :)

Posted by Esowder - 01/03/2013 01:59 PM

Just got the Bio-lite for Christmas. how about heating the Power pot with the bio-lite? hmmmm

Posted by CarterH - 01/08/2013 08:19 PM

I believe you meant to say thermoelectric, not electromagnetic.

Posted by Christopher - 03/21/2013 10:28 PM

The PowerPot is the coolest thing ever, its lighter than the BioLite and is more practical. I love it

Posted by kylebg - 04/25/2013 04:54 PM

Two totally different applications and needs. I have the BioLite and have used it on several occasions. It’s biggest benifit is the unlimited fuel supply with the ability to charge devices. Personally I wouldn’t want to burn precious fuel just to charge my phone. Sure you may need to boil some water to cook a meal but I’m guessing that is not enough time to fully charge a dead device.

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