Smoke pollution kills an estimated 4 million people every year and Max Chinnah, a 26-year-old Nigerian has invented a smokeless stove ‘The Genesys Cooker’ to fix that. He’s also co-founded Terraoak Inc. to produce and sell his cookstoves to eliminate smoke pollution in homes.
The Abuja-born Chinnah was fortunate to have access to a computer
when he was just 10 because his family could afford one. By 2011, Chinnah had received a scholarship package which would eventually help him get to Wartburg College.
What inspired the cookstove idea?
Chinnah, in a NextBillion podcast, explained that his passion to solve the world’s indoor smoke pollution problem was born out of the fact that his grandmother died of smoke pollution at a very young age.
Still, he says, being a computer science graduate of Wartburg College wasn’t enough. It was his experience at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in Miami that inspired him to become an inventor.
“I didn’t think it was enough to just graduate (college) with a degree. I just needed to have more out of life, cookstove was mine”Max Chinnah, Co-founder and CEO of Terraoak Inc.
Terraoak inc. which is based in Iowa was co-founded by Chinnah and Godwin Attigah, to produce the smokeless stove at a large scale with the hope of selling it worldwide.
In 2016, Chinnah won $10,000 Innovation Prize at Unite for Sight’s Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale University, which funded field tests in Ghana.
He also received funding from The Resolution Project, Duke Energy and the Iowa Renewable Energy Association and won an innovation video competition sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Recently, Terraoak got seed funds from Red Cedar, a local organisation created to help startups and entrepreneurs connect with resources.
How Smokeless cookstove works?
Terraoak’s Genesys Cooker is a versatile, high-end smokeless cookstove that converts any fuel you put in into clean energy.
It has a feature that uses an air injection system to control the smoke produced. This is done through a convection process which allows the heat to power your USB device after about 7 min of heating.
Genesys was built with a multipurpose frame so that you are not stuck with only having one cooktop. You can use all the normal cookware you would use in the kitchen.
According to Terraoak, access to clean energy ensures a greener environment and reduces the threat of global warming.
Terraoak is in its first year of implementing a pilot program. It plans to distribute over 20,000 clean cookstoves in Ghana, Malawi and Gabon.
Currently, based on the level of early sales, Terraoak is working on an arrangement with the World Wide Fund for Nature to distribute 1,000 stoves to rural Kenyan farmers.
Pending the success of their Kickstarter, Terraoak already has a manufacturer ready to begin production as soon as it is completed.
Chinnah also noted that they are planning to collaborate with some government outlets for afforestation to finance more distribution of stoves locally.
Based on research, using Genesys Cooker is said to save a household $50-60 and Chinnah believes that there is a waiting market of 500 million households. He’s counting on the fact that customers will recognise that Genesys can save them thousands of dollars annually in fuel costs and electricity generation.
Terraoak has plans to sell the Genesys in developing countries, campers for outdoor recreational activities, sports fans and farmers.
“Folks in developing societies, they know a product that works efficiently adds value to their lives. And they also want a product that is cool. Folks in the most rural of areas, they happen to be the savviest customers.”Max Chinnah, Co-founder and CEO of Terraoak Inc.
Chinnah hopes to use his invention to save lives around the world. He is using Terraoak to tap into any networking, funding and distribution resources offered by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in order to save the lives of women, men, children, and youths in Africa and in the world.