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Startup Fuels ‘Off Grid’ Energy Solutions in Developing Countries

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For those of us in the western world, powering our lives seems almost automatic. But for the billions of people globally living in energy poverty, the lack of large company infrastructure or government investment leaves them with few options. New York startup BioLite is working to change the energy market structure. 'In emerging markets we think that energy is going to be owned by the individual and that it's going to be purchased in these bite sized affordable portions that get owned and controlled at the family level,' says BioLite CEO Jonathan Cedar. BioLite is creating clean energy solutions that allow low income consumers to generate their own 'off grid' power. But with 4 million deaths a year linked to indoor pollution, this new power source cuts out the smoke that traditional biomass fuels produce. Here's how it works: the thermal energy from the burning stove powers an internal fan, which changes the combustion level and generates a clean burning flame. Users can then charge their electronic devices via a built in USB plug. The outdoor camping stove retails for $130 in western markets, whilst the larger home stove is sold in India and sub Saharan Africa for just $50. It’s a business model that BioLite calls parallel innovation.

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