Candle power to charge smartphones

A power outage – it’s an experience all are familiar with and everyone dreads. The lights go out, the TV goes black, the computers shut down as their batteries drain. And worst of all – your smartphone dies.

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This scenario was one of the inspirations for Andrew Burns of California startup Stower to develop the candle charger. Its simplistic design is based on the principles of therm-oelectrics, which have been around since the early 1800’s.

Light a candle, fill the device with water, and you have a charger.

“So the way thermo-electric generators work is you have a hot plate and a cold plate and you smash these generators together and it’s that temperature difference, it creates a diffusion of energy from the hot side to the cold side,” said Burns, co-founder of the company.

That diffusion outputs between 2-3 watts, about the same amount of power derived from a USB port – perfect for charging smartphones and tablets. In an emergency situation a small amount of energy can go a long way, says Burns.

“Part the power of a mobile handset or a smartphone is infinitely greater than a vacuum cleaner and they only need tiny little bits of energy,” he added.

The company has also developed a similar device designed to charge phones over a campfire. Burns advises to keep devices off and enjoy Nature when outdoors, but says that’s not always an option.

“I’d rather send a text from the top of a mountain than from a desk in my office,” he said.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]

The company is currently working on developing a charger for stove tops in Guatemala as part of a push to expand their business and provide sustainable micro-energy solutions in emerging markets.


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