Spending time in the great outdoors is wonderful; the sights, the smells, the tranquility. It really brings you back to the days of our ancestors whose lives were shaped in the plains. The problem is that in the 21st century, we need to stay connected to the outside world. E-mails, sports scores, breaking news; we like to have our cake and eat it too. Those of us without an RV who don’t want to risk killing our car battery have had to suck it up and survive a few days without a smart device. Even resisting those temptations, it’s still nice to have some music to jam out to while in the mountains.
Materials scientists David Toledo and Paul Slusser wanted to make life more convenient for outdoorsmen in the United States, and potentially bring a scarce resource to people in third world countries. They are on the brink of doing just that. Their start-up company, Power Portal, is in the final stages of prototyping on a product called the PowerPot. The PowerPot will be able to create electricity for anyone with a hot surface and a cool liquid inside. Check out this demonstration below.
Toledo and Slusser attribute the PowerPots’ success to our newfound ability to affordably and efficiently harvest thermoelectric power from a small generator. The amount of electricity produced is based upon the difference in the temperature of the bottom of the pot, and the liquid inside the pot. The greater the difference, the more electricity. Don’t worry, electricity is still produced when the two temperatures are the same. You can find the specifics of the concept right here.
There are a couple of different models in the works, producing anywhere from 5 Watts to 15 Watts of electricity. The base model weighs less than one pound, and can be had for only $125. It’s waterproof, fireproof, and can silently generate power within seconds. The PowerPot features a voltage regulator to go from 5V to 12V and all models are suited to charge multiple smart phones at once. The inventors claim that the product has an ‘indefinite shelflife’ but one wonders what exactly that means.
If you like what you hear and would like to secure a model at wholesale price, the idea is being offered on KickStarter.com right now. Not only that, but they are putting their money where their mouth is and offering a full lifetime warranty. The PowerPot will definitely be a useful accessory in the U.S., but it will be very intriguing to see if it can become a go-to wireless electricity source to the less fortunate worldwide.
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