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Charging Cellphones with Fire

Power Pitch

This wood burning cellphone charger promises to recharge your iPhone (AAPL), boil water and even help clean up the planet. You've got to see it in action in this video to believe it.

Former design engineer Jonathan Cedar has created two cool devices that help generate green energy in remote locations and the developing world—and power smartphones and other mobile devices.

"Our product generates electricity from the waste heat of the fire, and with that is able to deliver a 90 percent reduction in emissions, while also charging mobile phones and LED lights," said Cedar, founder and chief executive of BioLite, based in Brooklyn, NY.

His start-up BioLite, which employs 25 people including a rocket scientist, features two green-energy products.

The CampStove (demonstrated in video above) is available in the U.S. and Europe for outdoor recreational use and emergency preparedness. You stick wood (twigs, pine cones) into the small contraption to create a fire. You can then plug your mobile device USB cord into the base of CampStove to recharge your gadget. Talk about green multi-tasking.

The CampStove can charge a phone in about the same speed as a laptop, in other words not as fast as a traditional outlet. But Cedar said it's "a speed that most consumers seem comfortable with."

BioLite also sells a larger model called the HomeStove in emerging markets, and has already launched pilot programs in India and Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Health Organization, three billion people still cook on open, smoky fires. Cedar markets the HomeStove as a safer, cleaner alternative that offers a another major bonus: it also generates electricity for charging phones. The World Bank says nearly five billion cellphone users live in developing countries. Cedar's target market therefore is enormous.

"We work with local retailers in those markets who really understand their communities, who already have a proven model of distribution for energy and energy related products ... so it's a partnership model," he said.

The CampStove retails on BioLite's website for $129.95. And the HomeStove sells in India and Sub-Saharan Africa for about the same amount as a typical cellphone, Cedar told CNBC.

BioLite's wood burning electricity makers have helped the company raise nearly $2 million from investors such as the Disruptive Innovation Fund, run by author and Harvard Business School Professor Clay Christensen, and Toniic, an international impact investor network.

See Cedar charge his cellphone by burning wood, and watch him deliver his 60-second BioLite Power Pitch to CNBC Host Tyler Mathisen, Buzzfeed President & COO Jonathan Steinberg and CNBC Real Estate Reporter Diana Olick.

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