I just received my much anticipated Power Pot X thermo-electric generator which I was very happy to support on Kickstarter several months ago. I knew as soon as I saw this technology that it would be synergistic with biochar making. Even though the weather didn’t want to cooperate today, I couldn’t wait to try this out to see how well it works.
I loaded up my little Champion Stove with about a gallon’s worth of walnuts that the squirrels had dined on over the winter. Walnuts, being fairly dense, burn for quite a while which is better for this situation. The Champion Stove does better with a fan blowing air up through the bottom, especially if you are charring something dense. Recently I’d stumbled upon a USB powered fan which I had been plugging in to my laptop, but it would be perfect for this scenario. Once the walnuts caught fire, I added the other 3 elements of the Champion stove and set the Power Pot filled with water on top. In less than a minute, the green light turned on indicating it was ok to plug in any devices. The fan worked instantly and helped to boost the flame. The Power Pot comes with a multi-plug option so you can charge up to three different devices at once but they all have different types of chargers: an iPad charger, a universal charger and one other one (not sure what I have that fits that yet but it’ll be fun to explore).
The walnut burn lasted about 30 minutes and about half the water was used to quench the burn (you aren’t supposed to empty all of the water until the pot cools down so as not to ruin the thermo-electric burner). Then I added some colder water and the fan kept running for another minute or two. Overall this is one fantastic little machine.
Although apparently this is targeted towards the camping crowd, this micro-scale closed loop system has tons of possibilities around the world, especially in places where electricity is scarce, expensive or intermittent. Used after natural disasters you could charge phones, USB compatible lights, or water purifiers like the Steripen, plus a growing list of other electrically charged gadgets all the while making more biochar which will help rebalance carbon. This is definitely one small but promising way to help get the planet out of hot water! CHARpe Diem!!