Charging your cell phone during a black out or natural disaster could be as easy as lighting a candle. The Candle Charger was designed by Andy Byrnes, co-founder of Stanford’s alternative energy startup Stower, as an alternative product every home should have. The charger consists of a mini-stove, that, when heated, can charge a cell phone twice over six hours.
Byrnes believes every home’s survival kit should contain an alternative energy device that can charge a cell phone, which can be used to call for help or keep track of updates on disasters and outages. Hand-cranked generators are easy devices to have around for emergencies, but require a lot of effort to power up devices. The Candle Charger allows users to focus on other issues while their phones charge hands-free.
The model is based on one of Byrnes’ previous inventions, the Flamestower, that transforms a mini-stove into a power source. A can of Sterno, or jellied alcohol, acts as a high-powered candle. The burning Sterno heats a blade, which reacts with a reservoir of cool water. The resulting temperature differentiation creates a thermodynamic effect that generates energy.
In addition to its use during disasters and outages, the Candle Charger can be used off the grid, or in developing countries that lack reliable energy. The gadget is currently being sold on Byrnes’ Kickstarter campaign for $65.