No Power? We’ve Got Your Back(up).
“I’m in Florida, and my mom lives in New Jersey. The power went out in a storm yesterday, and I told her to keep her phone off and use it only for emergencies. Now I can’t talk to her, just because she can’t charge her phone.” — Steve P., Ft. Lauderdale, early Candle Charger supporter
“The Candle Charger breaks new ground.” — Gizmag
The Candle Charger by Stower is the first indoor power plant for smartphones. Candle + water = essential USB power for your home!
Blackouts happen. When power outages hit, staying connected to family, friends, and emergency services is critical. But how to keep charged?
- Batteries drain quickly
- Solar chargers can’t help at night or indoors
- Hand cranks produce minimal power.
We need a more reliable solution. After years of work and dozens of iterations we’re proud to introduce the Candle Charger – the first indoor generator designed to charge smartphones and keep them charged.
The Candle Charger is a safe, compact, and effective minitature power plant that provides on-demand electricity for USB devices when the grid can’t. It provides power anywhere you need it, indoors or out, with no cranking or batteries required.
Thanks to our amazing community of Kickstarter supporters (thank you! thank you! thank you!), we successfully raised enough money to manufacture and ship our first product, the FlameStower – its now for sale at retail partners across the US and Canada.
The FlameStower is portable power for campers, but based on your invaluable feedback and our own experience we realized we needed to design a power generator – elegant, simple – to work inside the home during blackouts.
The Candle Charger fits in existing emergency kits and works readily with common household items: candles and water.
With your help, we want to make the Candle Charger a reality and modernize power outage readiness… as well as get it quickly shipped to backers like Steve (and his lovely mother in New Jersey, of course). We hope you’ll join us!
The Candle Charger uses the heat energy from candles to generate electricity.
Bonus! The Candle Charger also quickly boils and sterilizes water, which you can reuse for cooking or making a cup of something nice before the grid returns. We recommend tea, Earl Grey, hot.
Stower is a leader in personal energy product engineering and design. Together with our manufacturing partner PCH, Stower makes smart, reliable energy products that 1) do their job and 2) do it well.
The Candle Charger contains two core pieces of technology:
- A thermoelectric module, also known as a Peltier cooler. Thermoelectric modules are semiconductor devices that convert temperature gradients – one side hot, one side cold – into electricity. The Candle Charger uses nontoxic bismuth telluride-based modules, which have been in mass production for over twenty years for scientific, refrigeration, and automotive industries.
- The Stower smart circuit that conditions the power coming from the module to match power requirements of the device being charged (e.g. a smartphone).
What makes the Candle Charger an important innovation is the conversion efficiency of the device, its electrical strategy, and the focus on design for indoor use.
The Candle Charger achieves class-leading power output from thermoelectric modules, providing reliable USB power over extended periods of operation. We do this through a combination of patented mechanical engineering steps to optimize heat transfer from the candle, to the thermoelectric module, and into the water bath; careful control over thermal interfaces; and spatial design to position the Candle Charger relative to a heat source (i.e. the candle).
To increase cost savings and overall efficiency, Stower directly charges your electronic devices rather than charge an intermediate battery. We’re able to do this through circuitry developed exclusively for Stower products that
- continually monitors the power output from the thermoelectric generator,
- boosts the voltage to USB standard 5V,
- conditions the power from the generator so it matches internal charging requirements of smartphones, switching between “bands” of acceptable current levels and gradually dropping the voltage so phones don’t drop the charge,
- provides LED indicator sequences to clearly show power availability – a flashing light means power is available, while a stead light means steady power is achieved and the power output is “iPhone ready.”
Designed for Indoor Use
We began with energy – the candle – and built the Candle Charger from there. The Candle Charger is sturdy enough to work outdoors, but its sleek design fits in with other beautiful shelf items for in-home storage and use.
The handle and locking mechanism are necessary features that provide safe interface with the water bath during operation and collapsability for anywhere storage. The all-aluminum exterior – designed for maximum thermal efficiency – lends a modern look while being durable enough to take outdoors.
Popular Science – “We’re obsessed.”
FastCo – “a product everyone should have in their homes.”
Tech Shop – Winner! 2015 SF Hardware Cup
US Patent Office – Award Winner! 2015 US Patents for Humanity
Stower’s been a hard charging machine since our birth in 2012.
Stower is led by Andy, Adam, and Jason. Andy and Adam met in grad school studying materials science. Both were obsessed with solar technologies and nanomaterials – so much so that Adam once illicitly snuck Andy into the campus nanofab, bunny suits and all, to help characterize sapphire wafers. STOWER GONE WILD!
We’re also lucky enough to work with some extremely talented advisors and partners that help make Stower a reality, including:
- Dr. Reza Kassayan – our world-class electrical engineer and advisor
- PCH – our supply chain, design, and manufacturing partners
- REI, Sportsman’s Warehouse, FGL Sports in Canada, and other retail partners who’ve helped deliver our first product nationwide.
- Stanford, StartX, and Orange Fab – hundreds of folks who support and help us make new energy innovations.
Stower builds energy products for individuals, making it easier and more efficient to generate and control our own electricity. Smartphones are amazing machines: Stower chargers keep these powered when the grid can’t.
With this technology, Stower is also introducing electricity to thousands of homes in emerging markets. To learn more about our work with clean cookstoves, you can visit the Patents for Humanity website.
Thank you for visiting our page and checking out what we’re up to! Before you leave, please check out our website for more information on us and be sure to pass on the news that now we all have control of our power – with the Candle Charger!