Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 24, 2014

Tellurex offers portable power

TRAVERSE CITY — A local company is shedding new light on alternative energy sources.

Traverse City-based Tellurex Corp. is eyeing sales success with its Standby Station, portable, pocket-sized generators that use solar power to charge phones, tablets and other devices.

Tellurex’s product stable already includes its Enviro-Light, a handheld device that converts heat into electricity for portable lighting by using a simple tealight candle as its source. The new solar-powered generators could be another similarly themed product.

“The idea is that it is a universally charged reserve battery for your mobile device,” said Richard Harmon, Tellurex’s program manager.

The Standby Station is a portable charger the size of an iPhone that’s powered by a lithium battery that acts as a reserve energy source. The device draws its charge from solar power.

Plugging into a computer or electric outlet for four hours also stores two full charges for a mobile device.

The “Field Charger” doubles as a phone case and reserve battery. The charger incorporates the same electronics and solar panel, but is geared toward outdoor usage.

“We saw two very good uses for this,” Harmon said. “It protects your phone and keeps all of the things neatly put together.”

The March 2012 unveiling of the Enviro-Light — manufactured in Traverse City — proved lucrative for Tellurex. Funding was attained through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, in which monetary donations are pledged by donors. Government grants funded similar projects in the past, but Harmon said it has since proved an unreliable source of income.

The crowdfunding effort raised $113,000 in just 30 days — surpassing a goal of $85,000 — with pre-sales topping 1,300 in one month. The first Enviro-Lights were sold in January 2013 — nine months after initial blueprints had been drawn. But sales of the devices since faded.

“Sales are not as high as we’d like,” Harmon said. “The challenge is getting the consumers aware of the value of the product.”

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