Wins Enviro Innovation Challenge



Wins Enviro Innovation Challenge
Burt Hamner, President
Cell Phone: 206-491-0945
Email: [email protected]
Hydrobee Student Team Wins $20,000 Environmental Innovation Challenge
Invents Device to Make Charging Power from Cookstoves
April 3, 2015, SEATTLE, WA – A team of three University of Washington students and Burt Hamner, the
President of Hydrobee SPC, won the 2015 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge for their
invention of a renewable energy generator powered by cookstoves. The team won both the $15,000
Grand Prize and the $5,000 Clean Energy Prize of the UW Clean Energy Institute. 22 teams from 7
universities competed in the Challenge. Winners were selected by 168 judges from Seattle’s technology,
startup and sustainability communities.
The Firebee portable thermoelectric generator (TEG) turns any cooking fire, fireplace or firepit into
personal power stations for charging LED lamps, mobile phones and other low-power uses. The Firebee
team invented a way to energize the TEG without exposing it to the damaging direct heat of the fire, and
220 2nd Ave S, Seattle WA 98105
to install it on any stove or fire. Using off-the-shelf components they produced 3 Watts of power from
boiling water. This is plenty of power for a LED lantern that lights up a room.
The highlight of the contest was the Firebee presentation on stage.
Following the short presentation, the founder of the Obamastove
in Ethiopia came on stage and signed the team’s first purchase
order for 200 units (photo left, with Firebee TEG attached to an
Obamastove). Over 250,000 Obamstoves have been sold in
Ethiopia and the market potential is 10 million or more. Another
purchase order for 100 units was signed by the president of Burn
Manufacturing, now making stoves in Kenya.
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has a stated goal to install
40 million new cookstoves by the end of 2017. 20 million of them
will be installed in just four countries. People in poverty can now
buy small electric devices with remote on/off control using Pay-AsYou-Go micro-finance systems already in place. The Firebee makes
electricity for USB charging and can be sold by this micro payment
system to tens of millions of people with no electricity who use
cookstoves every day.
“The brilliance of our invention in the Innovation Challenge is its
simplicity,” says Burt Hamner. “We can adapt our generator to any
kind of fire source, including simple cookstoves, brick fireplaces,
iron woodstoves, and open fire pits. It makes power within minutes and keeps going as long as food is
cooking. In many village households that is several hours a day – enough to fully charge a phone
battery. We have several ways to improve it and will work on those next.”
Hydrobee SPC and Green Energy Without Borders, maker of the Obamastove, are both graduates of the
Fledge Accelerator for “conscious companies” in Seattle.
About Hydrobee SPC
Hydrobee is a Social Purpose Corporation founded in Seattle in 2013 to develop micro-renewable energy
systems for off-grid use. Its first product is a USB battery recharged by a turbine attached to a water
faucet, hose or pipe, or floating in a river or stream. Its new product line includes chargers for wind,
sun, fire, bikes and muscles. In 2014 Hydrobee won four major awards. Hydrobee’s founders have
experience in micro-hydropower, consumer electronics, medical devices, and international
development. Team members have worked for USAID, the World Bank, Microsoft, AT&T, FEMA, US
Navy, DARPA and other leading organizations.
220 2nd Ave S, Seattle WA 98104

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