JikoPower, a team of undergraduate business administration and engineering students, placed second overall in the college-level track of the SVP Fast Pitch 2015 competition. They received $2,000 in funding for their second place ranking and an additional $2,500 for winning the Grayling Master Storyteller Award.
JikoPower previously won the 2015 grand prize and clean energy prize in the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge and placed in the top 16 competitors for the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition.
JikoPower has created a low-cost cleantech technology to allow people in developing countries to charge their electronic devices as they cook their meals.
“The easiest way to describe it is just that it takes heat and converts it into electricity. Most of the things we have that generate electricity do so with heat, like coal, wind and fossil fuels, but we do it with a much lower temperature, which allows us to use waste heats, like the heat that radiates off of fires. Our product takes heat that’s been wasted and converts it into electricity,” said Ryan Ahearn, president and co-founder of JikoPower.
Often, people in developing countries walk or bike miles to the nearest public charging station in a nearby city where they pay to charge their electronic devices. The time-consuming and expensive process prevents them from using their mobile phones, laptops and chargeable batteries as frequently as they need to.
After a year of rapid product development, JikoPower’s next step is to bring the device to the hard-to-reach people living in rural areas of developing countries.
JikoPower is currently raising the funds necessary to bring 500 devices to Kenya as soon as Feb. 2016. Their goal is to donate the first 500 devices then use feedback from those using the device to improve the product before officially putting it on the market.