It turns out that there are indeed some companies that simply refuse to believe that small household heaters need to lack economy or efficiency. Flint is one such energy company, based in South Korea. They have created a new kind of heater that they call the Flint Bioheater, which makes use of humble cooking oil, among other things, to generate heat in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way.
Large, but portable oil-fueled innovation
At first glance, one might be forgiven for thinking that the Flint Bioheater is in fact a large video camera on wheels. The shape and form of the heater certainly suggest that, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. While the Bioheater is a larger unit, its front-mounted wheels and rear handles make it easily portable, like a wheelbarrow.
With its large frame comes a great deal of heat-generating potential, of course. The difference is that the Bioheater doesn’t require diesel, or wooden logs, or a continuous electrical stream to operate, but rather uses cooking oil. The oil is incinerated in a unique process that doesn’t depend on any added chemicals. It’s also possible to use animal fat, as well as plant, microalgae, coffee, and even insect oil.
For those with plenty of such substances around the house, the Bioheater offers an affordable way to recycle these products. What’s more, it allows for the creation of clean heating that won’t contribute to already worsening air quality in many parts of the world.
Helping clean up the air
Fuels like kerosene, coal and other fossil fuels, and biomass, all contribute significantly to worsening air quality in cities around the world. This is especially true in emerging markets and areas of rapid economic growth such as in Asia. Research conducted in 2016 by the University of British Columbia has already shown us that there are more than 5.5 million people each year dying because of poor air quality.
Flint’s main goal, then, is to create machines that will not contribute to that, and thus allowing air quality to improve and contributions to carbon footprints to be reduced over time. The chemical-free approach to burning cooking oil and other natural-oil-rich materials means that these harmful byproducts are not created.
The company has even developed its own combustion engine that cleans up the combustion process enormously by burning off more of the harmful contaminants in the exhaust gas. This significantly reduces soot production, which in turn creates a cleaner, more complete combustion process.
Flint is hoping to take these fundamental clean technology concepts and expand them to work in stoves, boilers, and household central heating systems to help make the whole country, and even the world, a place of cleaner energy use.
To materialize their vision, the Flint tapped design studio Unichest to develop the style and prototype of their Bioheater. It is currently in its prototype form and isn’t yet available for commercial sale, but customers can learn more about it and other Flint technologies at their website. Such innovations could be among the most important steps we make in improving both the quality of life for many people, and the global environment.