A CAMP­FIRE WITH LESS SMOKE

Fast Company - - Innovation By Design - —Eil­lie Anzilotti

The $199 Bi­o­lite Firepit, which hit the mar­ket in Au­gust, is a por­ta­ble de­vice—around the size of a cooler— that cre­ates smoke-free camp­fires by op­ti­miz­ing air­flow. A fan in­side the recharge­able power pack that at­taches to the side of the Firepit pumps air through 51 small jets that line the cham­ber, one row tar­get­ing the fuel, the other fan­ning the flames. “Blow­ing air onto the wood al­lows the fuel to burn ex­tra hot, and blow­ing di­rectly into the flames cre­ates clean com­bus­tion,” says Tim Con­nolly, prod­uct lead at Bi­o­lite. Be­cause it burns fuel more ef­fi­ciently, the Firepit re­quires less wood. (Bi­o­lite’s Homestove, which pro­vides cleaner, safer com­bus­tion for the more than 3 bil­lion peo­ple in de­vel­op­ing na­tions who cook meals over open fires, re­ceived an In­no­va­tion by De­sign Award in 2014.) The unit—avail­able at REI and on Ama­zon—can hold up to four stan­dard logs, or users can raise the fuel rack, scat­ter char­coal on top, and turn it into a grill. Ei­ther way, they will be able to watch the flames lap­ping. The first few it­er­a­tions of the Firepit, Con­nolly says, were built with steel sid­ing, which blocked the warmth from the fire. The fi­nal ver­sion is en­cased in what Bi­o­lite calls “X-ray mesh”—a durable, per­fo­rated ma­te­rial that, once il­lu­mi­nated from the in­side, all but dis­ap­pears: Flames ap­pear to be sus­pended in midair. “Any­time you’re see­ing a fire, you’re getting heat from it,” Con­nolly says. In this case, mi­nus the big mouth­ful of smoke.

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