“Firebee” Thermal Charger Wins Environmental Innovation Challenge

167 judges voted on 22 teams from seven
universities to pick the Firebee team
as double winner

SEATTLE, April 22, 2015 – When you can invent a new clean energy solution that inspires students you can be proud! Hydrobee president Burt Hamner, and company advisor Dan Terry, have developed the patent-pending "Firebee" Thermo-Electric Generator (TEG) for turning heat into USB charging power. It will be another charging accessory for our Hydrobee USB Energy System. We recruited a team of engineering students from the University of Washington to adapt the Firebee to the Obamastove, the best-selling cookstove in Africa. The founder of Obamastove is, like Hydrobee founder Burt Hamner, a graduate of the Fledge accelerator program for startup companies. Hamner mentored the student team and supplied them with parts and a Obamastove.

The team entered the 2015 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, which is open to students from seven universities in the State of Washington, to show off their solution for making power from an Obamastove. They won! Both the $15,000 Grand Prize and the $5,000 Clean Energy Prize, awarded by the UW Clean Energy Institute. Congratulations to the team!

We are now developing a business partnership with Obamastove in Ethiopia to field test the Firebee charger with some of their 250,000 customers. The design enables the Firebee to fit on any stove.

Obamastove founder Yusuf
Tura shows the prototype
Firebee charger installed
on a Obamastove. The
prototype can power LED
lights using the heat f
rom boiling water.

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves lists 263 makers of stoves for the more than 2 billion poor people at the "bottom of the pyramid." The goal is to distribute 100 million cookstoves by 2020. We are going to do our best to ensure they will all have a Firebee charging accessory for clean power and light. Our Firebee can be sold by micro-finance because, since it's electronic, it can be equipped with a transmitter and turned on and off by text messaging or an infrared transmitter like the one that operates your TV remote control. Customers can buy it on Pay-As-You-Go basis, for a dollar a week, and they'll save a dollar extra a week by avoiding costs (and time!) for USB charging and buying kerosene and candles.

This is an exciting addition to the contests Hydrobee has won: In December the Global Cleantech Cluster Association, representing over 10,000 cleantech companies, named Hydrobee SPC a Top 30 Cleantech Company for its Universal Backup Charger. We received the award at the 5th European Cleantech Investing Seminar in Lausanne, Switzerland. We also won awards in the American Startup Challenge of the Kauffman Foundation, the Business for Good contest of the Social Enterprise Alliance, the Innovative World Technologies Contest from the SXSW V2Venture conference, and the Cleantech Open, the world’s biggest contest for cleantech companies. So far, over 200 expert judges have voted for Hydrobee and Firebee as the winner!

The Hydrobee power system will be available for sale starting summer 2015. Want to learn more about Hydrobee SPC? We have created a Hydrobee company profile on Angel List. Accredited investors can join Angel List to learn more about our plans.

Hydrobee is a startup company in Seattle revolutionizing the concept of personal renewable energy. The soda-can sized Hydrobee turbine battery harvests renewable energy from any natural energy source, including water pipes, rivers and streams, wind, fire, sun, bikes and muscles. It puts out USB power for phones, LED lamps, or any USB device. Once attached to an energy source, the battery in the Hydrobee can be "hot-swapped" with another battery or taken away with you for power on the go.