SEATTLE — Seattle Start-up JikoPower Inc. is recruiting NGO partners to receive their new invention, dubbed the Spark, which provides electricity to people during disasters or in remote areas virtually anywhere. During their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign Oct. 18 – Nov. 30, to fund ramping production of the Spark, people may buy the devices for themselves or donate them to non-profit partners of their choice.
Qualifying charities may email [email protected] to become a partner.
“When Hurricane Matthew left people stranded without electricity, the JikoPower Spark could have helped,” says JikoPower Founder and President Ryan Ahearn. “It’s frustrating for us, because we have invented a simple solution that can save lives.” The hand-held device converts wasted energy from cookstoves and fires into electricity to charge cell phones, batteries, LED lights, and other small devices. “We urgently need to ramp production to help in disasters and help people who live without electricity in developing countries,” says Ahearn.
The team went to Kenya and Uganda last July to test market the Spark using the grand prize money they won placing first at the 2016 University of Washington Business Plan Competition awarded by the Foster School of Business. “We came back with orders, distribution connections and moving personal stories from people whose lives were greatly improved,” says Ahearn. “The company is now poised for growth.”
“We saw mountains of unused donated shoes and clothes, yet these well-dressed people with cell phones were without basic electricity,” says JikoPower Co-founder and VP Marene Wiley. “With access to clean electricity, people no longer depend on dangerous, polluting kerosene for light and they don’t have to travel great distances or pay exorbitant fees to charge their cellphones,” she explains. “We have already seen women in Kenya using the JikoPower Spark to start their own businesses. The impact on their lives is amazing.”
“80 percent of people in Kenya have cellphones, but only 20 percent have access to electricity,” says Ahearn. “We started JikoPower to help doctors who volunteer overseas like my mom, because it’s often difficult for them to charge their phones. We quickly realized the Spark has potential to save lives during disaster relief as well as create jobs while improving health with clean, environmentally-friendly energy.”
The JikoPower Spark is a small thermoelectric generator (TEG) with a 2-5 watt output using a water reservoir with a metal arm inserted directly onto a cookstove or fire. “While people cook, the heat creates electricity that we capture,” explains Ahearn. “Many small devices can be powered via the USB.”
JikoPower started a year ago with three engineers winning the grand prize at the UW Environmental Innovation Challenge. They’ve grown into a team of eight inspired graduates and students from the University of Washington working to make a difference in the world.
To participate in the Kickstarter, visit jikopowerinc.com Oct. 18 – Nov. 30. – PRNewswire