In trying to create a power source for off-grid villagers in Kenya, entrepreneur and scientist Craig Jacobson has picked a seemingly improbable technology–a fuel cell.
Fuel cells have been in use for decades, but they are generally more expensive than grid power, even in the developed world. And despite many attempts, portable fuel cells have yet to catch on. (See, Lilliputian Fuel Cell Gadget Charger Ready to Grow Up.) How then could fuel cell technology work in place where energy consumers are very sensitive to price?
The answer is to make an extremely rugged device and use the existing fuel infrastructure for cookstoves, says Jacobson, the CEO of startup Point Source Power.