Jiko Power: Enhancing Rural Communication

Globally, there are currently 1.5 billion people who have no access to the main grid, and who are predominantly located in poor rural areas in developing countries. Currently, Kenya stands at 83% on mobile penetration, but only 20% of these statistics have their households connected to the main grid. The question then becomes how possible it is to address the communication challenges being faced by this consumer segment in terms of powering their mobile gadgets. Globally, nearly 1.3 billion people burn kerosene for light, which emits about 270,000 tonnes of CO2. How can Jiko Power address these problems?

‘Jiko’ in Swahili means a cookstove, while ‘Power’ essentially connotes the electrical power derived from the heat generated from the firewood that is used in the stove. Jiko Power is a mechanical assemblage that has a protruding spark which is placed in the midst of firewood in a cookstove or fireplace and which then taps wasted heat from the firewood, and coverts it into electrical energy which charges mobile phones and other communication gadgets, LED lights, and other small devices. It is a small, mobile, thermoelectric generator with a 2-5 watt energy output with a metal shaft directly inserted into a cooking stove or fire. The device affords a multiplicity of devices to be simultaneously charged, as it has USB ports for peripherals and output.