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The PowerPot is a thermoelectric generator

A student startup from Utah has created a cooking pot that is capable of generating power through thermoelectricity. 

Former University of Utah students David Toledo and Paul Slusser created a startup called Power Practical, which offers their cooking pot invention -- the PowerPot

The PowerPot looks like a regular cooking pot that can be used on a camping trip, but it can actually turn heat and water into electricity. The PowerPot captures electrons traveling from the heated pot to the cooler water contained inside, and the greater the difference in temperature, the more electricity produced. 

The team invented the PowerPot in 2008 when they bought a thermoelectric cooling device from eBay (they were learning about thermoelectricity at the time in class). They proceeded to take it apart and try to improve it, and decided to create something that could generate power. 

They built the first prototype months later using an old cooking pot, but after a few hiccups, both students moved on to other projects (and schools/careers).

Toledo later found a cheap power regulator designed for hobbyists, which was exactly what they needed to make their PowerPot useful by providing a steady power stream.

Power Practical has already shipped over 1,000 PowerPots and is offering them in select retailers like Sportsman's Warehouse. The startup managed to generate $126,000 in funding on Kickstarter, and has since raised an additional $750,000 in seed funding. 

"We knew we were on to something when we got requests from around the world and more than doubled our goal during our Kickstarter campaign," said Toledo. "We just shipped all of those orders, and we are quickly getting our product into more stores."

Power Practical has different kinds of PowerPots for different purposes. For instance, there's the PowerPot V, which weighs less than a pound and can produce 5 volts, and the PowerPot X, which produces 10 volts. 

Not only can these PowerPots be used to charge smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices on camping trips, but they can also be used in emergency kits and eventually be sent to developing countries, where smartphones are becoming more and more present (yet charging is a nuisance).

The PowerPot V costs $149 while the PowerPot X costs $249. 

Source: Science Daily

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RE: Really?
By Motoman on 4/17/2013 10:59:54 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't catch the fact the conversation went from camping and hiking to third world countries you actually didn't read the *very first* post I made before responding to it?

And it's not a matter of the people in these developing countries not having the money to buy such products in the first place. This is exactly the type of thing that charity organizations buy in bulk to hand out to those in need. Like water purification systems, just for another example.

Because of the extreme simplicity of this device, and it's obvious utility in both cooking and then using leftover heat energy to generate electricity, this would be perfect for giving out to people in developing countries. It might mean that the recipient then becomes a candidate to have something else given to, a phone. Or a radio. Something else that needs electricity that they have no other way to get.

So just knock it off. This is a fabulous product and frankly you idiots should be proud of a couple of American kids coming up with it and getting it to market.

RE: Really?
By Spuke on 4/18/2013 1:04:22 AM , Rating: 2
This is exactly the type of thing that charity organizations buy in bulk to hand out to those in need.
So these charities can't/don't hand out solar panels but they can hand out a pot?

Because of the extreme simplicity of this device,
So what's not simple about an off the shelf solar panel and some batteries? Products that have been available and in use for years. Yes I'm talking about third world countries.

So just knock it off. This is a fabulous product and frankly you idiots should be proud of a couple of American kids coming up with it and getting it to market.
You knock it off. No one said it was stupid, just that there's other products that fit the bill for many years now.

RE: Really?
By Motoman on 4/18/2013 10:16:10 AM , Rating: 2
So these charities can't/don't hand out solar panels but they can hand out a pot?

Yes, they can/do. However, a pot is significantly more durable than a solar panel, and this device happens to perform 2 important functions at the same time.

So what's not simple about an off the shelf solar panel and some batteries? Products that have been available and in use for years. Yes I'm talking about third world countries.

Simple? Sure. But fragile, and eventually the batteries die. Then what? A charity can hand out one pot to a family and possibly have them covered for generations. Or, they can perpetually be managing logistics to replace broken solar panels and dead batteries. And finding a way to safely dispose of both when they die.

You knock it off. No one said it was stupid, just that there's other products that fit the bill for many years now.

This is better. For the mind-bogglingly obvious reasons stated above. So...knock it off.

RE: Really?
By HostileEffect on 4/18/2013 1:11:00 AM , Rating: 2
Its not that I didn't read it, its the fact that when looking at a tiny little screen between your legs in a death-by-powerpoint presentation on how raping people is bad, some things get missed.

The only charity I found was the ridiculous amount of drugs for the local clinics and not one of those people had a clue on which drug to administer for what. Usually, the drugs were sold or given away. The number of police I had asking me which bottle was for headaches...

Well water is hand pumped and used for cooking, no purification systems to speak of, they don't need them. Everything else is ditch water and is drinkable by locals only. You kind of have to have a tolerance to the bacteria in it or its dysentery for you. Not half bad as shower water as long as you pump it full of chlorine.

It would be fabulous if there weren't better alternatives that are already available , even in third world rat holes. This is reality, its on you if you accept it or not.

RE: Really?
By Crazyeyeskillah on 4/18/2013 8:44:44 AM , Rating: 2
i'd like to know more about this power point presentation you speak of. . .

RE: Really?
By Motoman on 4/18/2013 10:19:02 AM , Rating: 2
You're infinitely wrong about everything you just said. Other than the part about raping people being bad.

There most certainly *are* charities that do nothing but hand out water purification systems for one thing...and many other items, whether you personally have seen them or not.

You examples of solar panels and batteries are NOT BETTER ALTERNATIVES. They are incredibly worse, for reasons I've already stated, and you are invalid for pretending they're not.

So once again, if you want to play hermit in the hills of Kentucky with your iPod and some batteries, knock yourself out. Whatever it takes to keep you away from the rest of us.

RE: Really?
By 91TTZ on 4/18/2013 4:20:09 PM , Rating: 2
You're being really hard on this guy for speaking from experience. It sounds to me that this guy has actual experience being off the grid while you don't but are emotionally invested in this idea.

RE: Really?
By HostileEffect on 4/18/2013 5:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
There isn't any "want" to this, I'm required me to be in a field environment for months at a time and over the years I learned from experience what works and what doesn't. Do not associate me with Apple devices, they are an impossible waste of money.

Solar has been available for years, probably decades, in developing countries and nearly every house I passed had at least one panel. In what world of yours is this glorified canteen cup better than putting panels on the roof of your mud hut?

I cooked on a propane powered stove for three months in a third world country until I changed positions. I bought fresh eggs, chips, soda, canned beans, etc, from the local gas station that was literally 15 feet from my post, he even sold butter and salt. Also, get this, he had a cell phone, panels on his roof, and his own cell tower, which is very common.

These people are not the helpless impoverished weaklings that big charity and the media portray them as.

RE: Really?
By Fritzr on 4/20/2013 3:26:10 AM , Rating: 2
They are not selling these to the farmers and small shop keepers who are off grid. They are selling them to hikers and others who plan to be off grid, moving during daylight hours and not maintaining a fixed home.

When you carry everything you own so that you have it when you next have a chance to sit down, dual use stops being a luxury and becomes necessity. Yes, a light weight solar charger would make a nice backup to this, but if you have to choose between a cooking pot plus charger or a cooking pot charger...well which is going to lighten the load?

This is NOT being sold as a 3rd world solution for living off grid. It is a 1st world solution for traveling off grid without a logistics train.

RE: Really?
By HostileEffect on 4/20/2013 10:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
A luxury for me is a truck to carry me and my pack.

You do realize the resources needed to keep this thing running right? Time, water, fuel (wood or otherwise), its not worth the insignificant amount of power it provides, hiking or otherwise.

There was a Hawaiian culture party and booths setup outside the Exchange today, one of which just happened to be a company that is trying to get into the retail market with their new solar product line. Its unfortunate that I will be doing my annual qualifications during their one day sale but I'm seeing if I can get one set aside for me.

They are MIL-STD-810G spec folding solar panels that can get punished into oblivion and keep running. High strength plastics and lamentation prevent spider-webbing, nylon straps, the whole ten yards, all in a compact 2.2Lbs for the 42 watt version.

Green path technologies makes them, however they are not yet available for retail.

Links to spec and personal pictures of some products.

RE: Really?
By BRB29 on 4/22/2013 11:48:55 AM , Rating: 2
He is right, no matter where I've been in the world. Cell phones, CIGARETTES, batteries, etc... are abundant. I've been to a lot of 3rd world countries and never could I say it's a vacation. Honestly, I've gotten much further trading a good pair of boots, swiss army knives, etc... than any amount of money.

In these places, necessities > everything. If you go far enough that you don't see any of these stuff then it won't matter anyways. What's a cellphone worth if you don't have any signals? I can bring more gear to make it work only if mission requires. Weight is a big problem. A GPS and long range radio is enough for me most of the time. I find alternative transport during high sun or stay in a shady spot to conserve water and energy. Good time to roll out the solar kit to charge electronics.

HostileEffect is also right that solar charging panels are everywhere. Everyone had one including me. Still, GPS does not always work and break sometimes. Your survival gear, map, compass is worth more than anything else.

This pot is really good for normal folks in 1st world countries going camping.

RE: Really?
By superflex on 4/22/2013 11:36:12 AM , Rating: 2
Tell us about all your backpacking gear and experience in the field. Who makes the best internal frame pack in your opinion? What do you personally carry for a stove, mess kit, water purification, first aid, etc. Is a Katadyn worth the money? Are Vasques better than Merrels? Campmor or REI?
I'd really like to her about all your third world/backpacking experiences.
Me thinks you just like to argue on the internet.

RE: Really?
By BRB29 on 4/22/2013 1:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
armchair warriors doesn't have experience or insights, just complaints.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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