Millions of families in the developing world still cook their meals over open fires. These open fires are inefficient (contributing to deforestation) and polluting (contributing to global warming and to indoor air pollution, a major killer of children around the world). Most of these families do not have access to reliable electricity and, as a result, have difficulty charging their cellular phones and rely on kerosene lamps to light their homes.
BioLite, a Berkeley, CA, based company, has developed a revolutionary biomass cookstove that increases fuel efficiency and decreases emissions using a thermoelectric module and gasifier (learn more here). When the stove is operating, it also generates 1-3 Watts of excess electricity. This power is output to a USB port that can be used to charge small electronics like cell phones or LED lamps. BioLite has incorporated this technology into an extremely popular developing world cookstove, the StoveTec stove, and is intending to introduce a production model in 2011.
The potential benefits of this stove are threefold:
1) Improve the health of families that cook over an open fire by decreasing the indoor air pollution generated from cooking, decreasing respiratory infections like pneumonia.
2) Improve the environment by decreasing black carbon emissions from cooking (a substantial contributor to global warming) as well as reducing deforestation.
3) Provide electricity to off-grid families, allowing them to charge cell phones and power LED lamps (which replace dangerous, dirty kerosene lamps).
BioLite contracted Catapult Design to conduct market research in India, which they will use to plan their product introduction strategy prior to beginning manufacture or introducing a production model.
Catapult’s unique skill-set, capabilities, and extensive developing world network allowed us to collect a huge amount of information in a brief period of time. We conducted research regarding competing and complimentary products, spoke with successful technology companies with products in India, and interviewed experts on rural electrification and product distribution models in India. We then analyzed this information to provide BioLite with valuable insights and recommendations as to market opportunities, competitive landscape, sales, distribution models, and regional demand.
The results of this research will help BioLite determine a manufacturing plan, develop their distribution model, refine a marketing strategy, target specific regional markets, and increase the likelihood of a successful product launch.
Client: BioLite, USA, India
BioLite is an early stage developer of advanced stove technologies that make cooking with wood as clean safe and easy as modern fuels while also providing electricity to charge cell phones and LED lights off-grid.