NEW YORK CITY – The innovators at Deciwatt have created a product that could revolutionize lighting, especially in developing countries. GravityLight is a low-cost, sustainable lamp that is works independent of the electric grid and solar or battery power.
Using gravity to generate electricity, GravityLight has no running costs, and when sold at $10 an hour, the product pays for itself in just a few months. The LED light is powered through a weight that is attached to the light by a string. The kinetic energy created through the descent of the weight (after it is lifted) is converted to electricity which is then fed into the light bulb. The weight takes 3 minutes to lift, and powers the light for 25 minutes at its highest setting.
Deciwatt, the group behind GravityLight, “is a product development initiative with a mission to explore how to do more with less; in turn empowering people through sustainable and affordable low power solutions,” according to their website. Deciwatt would have had to stop work on GravityLight were it not for the generous global contributions funding research and development of the product. $399,560 was raised for the project compared with the original target of $55,000. The beginning of the production run and trial was then pushed back to the fall, as Deciwatt had more resources than expected to improve GravityLight’s efficiency, robustness, and quality of light.
Right now much of the developing world relies on biomass fuels, primarily kerosene, for light. According to the United Nations Foundation, “more than 1.4 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity, and 1 billion more only have intermittent access. Some 2.5 billion people – almost half of humanity – rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating.” Close to one billion women and children are inhaling kerosene fumes equaling the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes a day. Burning kerosene also has a huge cumulative contribution to CO2 emissions. Used for 4 hours a day, a single kerosene lamp emits over 100kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year. Deciwatt’s efforts have resulted in a product which can will contribute to the health of the developing world while keeping up with its ever-expanding population in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
– Martin Drake
Sources: Deciwatt, UN Foundation
Photo: The Guardian