"Come on baby, [bio]lite my fire.
Jim Morrison, The Doors, 1967.
Autodesk makes software for people who make things. If you've ever driven a high-performance car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a smartphone, or watched a great film, chances are you've experienced what millions of Autodesk customers are doing with our software. Autodesk gives you the power to make anything, but some segments of the general public are not yet aware of that.
The Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco celebrates design — the process of taking a great idea and turning it into a reality. With about 60 different exhibits regularly on display that showcase the innovative work of Autodesk customers, the gallery illustrates the role technology plays in great design and engineering. Autodesk Gallery Ambassadors conduct gallery tours as a sideline to their day jobs. The tours provide ambassadors with opportunities to practice public speaking in front of small groups. Autodesk Gallery Curator, Jason Medal-Katz, chose the title, ambassador, instead of docent because the correct way to address an ambassador is "your Excellency." Alas, this never happens.
The Cooking Clean exhibit is an exhibit that you see on the 2nd floor of our One Market office in San Francisco.
To address the tremendous public health problems caused by particulate matter and other pollutants in smoke from indoor fires and leaky stoves, Alexander Drummond and Jonathan Cedar created the BioLite HomeStove.
The health effects from indoor smoke are equivalent to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes per day. Smoke from indoor fires and leaky stoves is directly responsible for 2 million deaths every year — more than twice as many as die from malaria. (Hey Bill Gates, are you listening?) It is the single largest killer of children below the age of 5 in the world. These fires and leaky stoves release 1 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, contributing to climate change.
Designed to survive 3 or more hours of daily family cooking for up to 5 years, the HomeStove consumes 50% less wood than traditional cook fires and reduces smoke emissions by 95%. These innovative, low-cost biomass stoves provide another benefit as well: they convert heat from the fire into electricity that can be used to charge smartphones, LED lights, and other devices via a USB port on the stove's exterior. It is estimated that for a Toyota Prius, the cost to reduce CO2 emission by 1 metric ton is $787.03. For the BioLite HomeStove, the cost to reduce CO2 emission by 1 metric ton is $6.66. (Who says the devil's not in the details?)
For help designing the HomeStove, as well as the company's initial product, the BioLite CampStove, BioLite engineers used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to digitally simulate heat transfer, helping save time and minimize the need for costly physical prototypes. They also used visualization software to create photorealistic digital prototypes of the stoves, enabling the team to evaluate stove aesthetics.
To fund its initial HomeStove commercialization efforts, BioLite invested revenue from its early CampStove sales in recreational markets within the developed world. The company conducted pilot programs for the HomeStove in Ghana, India, Uganda, and Kenya. By 2017, BioLite plans to ship 1 million HomeStoves throughout the developing world. The company's ultimate goal is to deliver clean, affordable energy access to people all around the globe. They feel a strong sense of responsibility not just to develop products that work well but also to create businesses that make a positive contribution to the global community.
They believe in market-based approaches to poverty alleviation. By creating solutions that are effective, affordable, and desirable to the end user, they can reach more people, more effectively. Sales of the CampStove help to support the one-time market establishment costs for the HomeStove. This is not charity, or a one-for-one model, but simply the capital needed to incubate self-sustained energy access for the people who need it most.
Thanks to the Autodesk Gallery team for the descriptive text for this blog post. This is a gallery item that I have purchased. I keep one in my garage to be used in the event of an extended power outage after an earthquake. By the way, Senior Manager for Sustainability, Ben Thompson, notes that on top of BioLite receiving general support from the Autodesk Foundation, Autodesk also supported the deployment of 10,957 BioLite HomeStoves in India and Uganda by purchasing carbon offsets from BioLite this year. As a result, AU 2017, and all of our and our customer’s travel to AU 2017 was carbon neutral! Thanks, Ben.
Autodesk has always been an automation company, and today more than ever that means helping people make more things, better things, with less; more and better in terms of increasing efficiency, performance, quality, and innovation; less in terms of time, resources, and negative impacts (e.g., social, environmental). BioLite stoves are shining examples of this.
The Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a guided tour on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm and a self-guided audio tour available anytime. Admission is free. Visit us.
Cooking is alive in the lab.