BioLite Thermoelectric Wood Stove

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I’m a big fan of wood burning stoves and wood gas stoves. I love taking my Littlbug Jr. Stove and Zebra billy can with me on short hikes (it’s too heavy for long hikes) and I like the idea of using small sticks, twigs and pieces of available wood as my fuel for cooking instead of having to carry liquid fuel with me to power my alcohol stove.

However, the one thing I dislike and continue to have a hard time getting used to is the build up of soot that occurs from nearly all wood burning stoves.  Soot is probably the main reason why stove experts like Tinny from Minibull Design and other ultralight backpackers dislike wood burning stoves so much – they’re just so messy.

Enter the BioLite Thermoelectric Camp Stove.  The BioLite Stove claims to have reduced the smoke emissions from wood burning by 90% through clever engineering, and their patent-pending thermoelectric-fan technology almost eliminates the black carbon (soot).

Not only does the BioLite stove burn pretty much anything you put into it with incredible efficiency, it can also use the leftover heat that it generates to power up your cellphone or even a small light. It does this by converting a small amount of the fire’s thermal energy into electricity using the solid state thermoelectric generator, that in turn powers what they refer to as their “combustion improvement system” a.k.a. a small electric fan.

Here’s how it works:

  • You fill the main chamber of the stove with small sticks and light it
  • Once the fire gets starts burning strong, the thermoelectric generator kicks in, powered by excess heat and spinning a small electric fan
  • The fan separates the wood gas from the burning wood and forces it to mix with oxygen
  • This creates a wood fire fierce enough to bring a one liter pan of water to the boil in just four minutes!

The BioLite Stove is not yet available on the commercial market but the designers hope to have a production version in stores for Spring of 2011. The price and precise launch date is still to be announced.  Here is a great video of a BioLite prototype in action.  I have to say it looks very promising!

Gear Links: Eastern Mountain Sports | REI | CampSaver | Patagonia | Altrec

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07709358863171332562 Ryan

    I REALLY want one of these!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    Ryan, you and me both! It’s probably not going to be the lightest stove in the world, but it certainly does look efficient and clean :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09717971522941648839 Mr. B

    I’m a backpacker and a bee keeper as well. The smoker I use to puff smoke in my hives also gets a soot build up. When the soot gets cumbersome, I use a propane soldering torch to burn out the soot.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07160778711136063152 Eakers

    I would loke to buy one of those stoves, I dont think you ccan but it in the UK.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02136752168371831819 Michael Meiser

    have experimented heavily with forced air stoves using CPU fans and a 9-volt battery. It takes an amazingly tiny amount of air in a woodgas stove like the bushbuddy or smaller tove to generate tremendous heat which thus also increases the convection in addition to getting a consistently clean burn.

    My only issue… I have a huge issue with carrying any batteries or delicate electronics which are suseptible to melting, water / rain.

    Not sure the biolite design is there yet. To be honest it’s overbuilt, bulky, obviously generating to much air and to much electricity for at least an lightweight backpacker. But the design principal is sound and I think it well could be simplified and scaled back to a more essential and elemental form.

    The key issue though is it requires absolutely no batteries.

    That it could potentially work as a charger for cell phones or cameras… remains to be seen and may never materialize since modern devices draw quite a bit of power even when just “trickle charging”.

    Anyway, this woodgas + forced air concept could well be the future of ultralight backpacking stoves. Especially if it gets down to the 8-10oz mark, and I believe it can.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15545981023354792354 A

    4/24/11-I have attempted to contact Biolite to see if it they knew when it would be available since it is now spring and that was the target date. Two emails have been ignored. I just sent my third and last one. Anyone else have any information on the product or should I move on to another camping stove? Thanks.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09628095804170935682 Brian

    I wish I knew more about it, but like you all of my email inquiries have gone unanswered. I hope it hasn’t gone belly up :(

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02136752168371831819 Michael Meiser

    have experimented heavily with forced air stoves using CPU fans and a 9-volt battery. It takes an amazingly tiny amount of air in a woodgas stove like the bushbuddy or smaller tove to generate tremendous heat which thus also increases the convection in addition to getting a consistently clean burn.

    My only issue… I have a huge issue with carrying any batteries or delicate electronics which are suseptible to melting, water / rain.

    Not sure the biolite design is there yet. To be honest it’s overbuilt, bulky, obviously generating to much air and to much electricity for at least an lightweight backpacker. But the design principal is sound and I think it well could be simplified and scaled back to a more essential and elemental form.

    The key issue though is it requires absolutely no batteries.

    That it could potentially work as a charger for cell phones or cameras… remains to be seen and may never materialize since modern devices draw quite a bit of power even when just “trickle charging”.

    Anyway, this woodgas + forced air concept could well be the future of ultralight backpacking stoves. Especially if it gets down to the 8-10oz mark, and I believe it can.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07160778711136063152 Eakers

    I would loke to buy one of those stoves, I dont think you ccan but it in the UK.

  • popupgazebo

    From the post of “BioLite Thermoelectric Wood Stove“, I must to say this is really a good equipment for our daily life, it is eco-friendly and I love its design.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I agree, if only it were to go into production!!!

  • popupgazebo

    From the post of “BioLite Thermoelectric Wood Stove”, I must to say this is really a good equipment for our daily life, it is eco-friendly and I love its design.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I agree, if only it were to go into production!!!

  • http://twitter.com/biolitestove BioLite

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the great article. We apologize for the delay in answering folks’ emails as we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response to our product. The great news is that the CampStove is now in manufacture and we will begin taking pre-orders in December for early spring 2012 delivery. If you haven’t already, please sign up for our mailing list to keep up to date on both CampStove and HomeStove developments. http://www.BioLiteStove.com/contact.html

    Thank you again to all of our loyal fans and we look forward to getting stove in your hands in the coming months.

    All the best,
    The BioLite Team

  • Derek

    How is this any different than the Zip Ztove that has been around for years?

  • Derek

    How is this any different than the Zip Ztove that has been around for years?  Check out http://www.zzstove.com/.  

  • http://www.solostove.com/ Bushbuddy

    I’ve been following that stove for a while now. I wonder how long it’s going to take for it to actually be available.  Any update?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Absolutely! You must have missed my follow-up blog post (BioLite Camp Stove | Reserve Yours Now) where I announced that the stove is available for pre-ordering. I have mine ordered and expect to get it this Spring/Summer.

  • http://www.solostove.com/ Bushbuddy

    I’ve been following that stove for a while now. I wonder how long it’s going to take for it to actually be available.  Any update?

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Absolutely! You must have missed my follow-up blog post (BioLite Camp Stove | Reserve Your Now) where I announced that the stove is available for pre-ordering. I have mine ordered and expect to get it this Spring/Summer.

  • 3Feet

    Zip stoves don’t store excess heat as energy. The BioLite does – that’s what the yellow compartment is about. It houses the battery/fan system. Yes, there is a battery. So far a lot of detailed info is not available, but I’ve placed an order request. Hope it is soon available!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’m excited to get my hands on a BioLite too – then we’ll really see what all the fuss is about. I wasn’t that taken with the zip stove demo or information IMHO.

  • 3Feet

    Zip stoves don’t store excess heat as energy. The BioLite does – that’s what the yellow compartment is about. It houses the battery/fan system. Yes, there is a battery. So far a lot of detailed info is not available, but I’ve placed an order request. Hope it is soon available!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’m excited to get my hands on a BioLite too – then we’ll really see what all the fuss is about. I wasn’t that taken with the zip stove demo or information IMHO.

  • Mike Hussey

    This is a nice product for people travelling far away from their home countries, they can use it easily for solving several issues regarding to camp stoves handling on move. I have found some very attractive collection of camp stoves on 
    camp
    stove
    that have appreciatory qualities