Good Idea – tPOD1


One inexpensive tea candle can power a 25 LED bulb for up to four hours or charge an auxiliary battery pack using the patent-pending device, tPOD1. Great for when the power goes out or in a natural disaster.

Pronounced “tea-pod,” the invention converts energy from heat into electricity. tPOD1 is a product from a company called Tellurex, based in Traverse City, Mi. The project is currently seeking $85,000 of funding on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform. There is 20 days to go and a little more than $40,000 left to raise.

Richard Harmon, engineering manager at Tellurex tells Mashable that at first he figured the tPOD1 would be useful in developing countries such as Africa. He read that a lot of people in Africa walk miles to charge their basic cellphones at community places with electricity.

“I developed a product where they could charge the cellphones over their cooking fire,” he said. “I started doing a lot more research….one of the downsides is I would be encouraging people to burn wood.” He decided to use tea candles instead.

Kickstarter link – If you pledge $10 or more you will receive a thermoelectric module, the magical component of the tPOD1 that produces thermoelectric power.


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  • Mediaan

    Wonderful if it works and all the people running it are biz-smart and honest.

    Not wonderful if it goes on and on, years in development, appeals for more money. Not wonderful if he doesn’t own the rights in fully correct manner. Not wonderful if it works but people in the third world can’t get hold of it or afford it, and it is of only “put in dusty drawer because never used it” relevance to our super-affluent society. Not wonderful if it has already been on the market in similar but not identical form for the last ten years in EcoBias shops and nobody noticed or wanted it.

    Not wonderful if he is some big spender from the Land Of Idiot Money-Obsessed Youngish Males. (I wish I could find where they are landing their human-smuggling boats, I’d go down there and pitch a tent

  • Engineer

    They probably design them more like a long stick so that they can be pushed into a fire (horizontally), hence getting a better heat difference (the other end is not in the fire).

    Would also be good for Hunters/Hikers/Campers to recharge their cell phones and LED torches wouldn’t it?

  • Guest

    Total waste of time for anyone who has access to solar energy. Peltier devices are not efficient as efficient as even basic solar cells and storage.

  • Orange

    Solar is better for Africa. Like the video says, burning stuff is kinda dumb. And burning a candle so you can run it through a bunch of highly inefficient energy converters to power an LED light. Here’s an idea, just use the candle for light.

  • Ctremp

    The difference that I see with the tPOD1 is the convenience and ease of use. It is on demand and the conversion produces SOOO much more light. Great product!!!

  • tpod_fan

    Check out the update video on kickstarter – it explains how it works and demonstatres how much more light is actually produced! Really cool little device…