If you’re deep in the wilderness on a rough, multi-day hike through sun-drenched rocky terrain and pristine alpine forests, your main priority is probably on keeping all your USB devices good and charged, right? Even if you’re miles from a cell tower, your movies and games still work! Fortunately TES NewEnergy has developed the Hatsuden-Nabe – a 6.3” camping pot with a USB port attached. Because water boils at 212°F but the flames in a normal fire can reach 900°F, the extra waste heat can be converted to power for your hungry electronics.
TES NewEnergy produces commercial thermoelectric generation units that provide green power to “incinerators, process plants, industrial furnaces, fueled vehicles, cookers/water-heaters, and ubiquitous machinery.” The ubiquitous machinery in this case would seem to be your iPhone or any other USB hand held device. The Japanese company’s electricity-generating camping pot utilizes a phenomenon known as the Seebeck effect, where currents formed by the temperature dissimilarities between edges of electrically conductive materials are converted into usable, clean energy.
There’s a bevy of solar and wind chargers for iPhone and USB devices out, but few if any seem capable of beating the Hatsuden-Nabe’s claims of charging a device in 3-5 hours. Some solar companies claim that 2-3 hours in direct sun is enough, but the average seems to be at least 5 hours, with some units taking up to 10 hours to charg fully. Also, those chargers need direct sunlight or at least overcast conditions, which might not always be available if you’re deep enough in the thicket.
Due to the charger’s relative speed and dependability it could be useful for a producing a quick burst of battery power to make an important call. The pot does retail at roughly $280 however, and cooking a pot of soup or boiling some hot water for tea for 3-5 hours to get a full charge might not be all that practical. Hopefully the company will follow up with a crock-pot version for a night of slow cooked chili on the lonesome trail – then the idea of iPhone-charging cookware might seem quite a bit more enticing.