Out of the 7 billion people who live on earth, 1.5 billion people are still using alternative biomass fuels (mostly kerosene) to generate light as they have no reliable access to electricity.
Yearly, 2.5 million in India alone suffer from severe burns due to overturned kerosene lamps. In Sri Lanka also there are many burn cases due to kerosene lamps. According to World Bank reports 780 million women and children are vulnerable to inhaling of kerosene smoke which is equivalent to 2 packets of cigarettes a day. Although not seen obvious, kerosene used only for lighting can consume a 10% to 20% of the entire income of a family. With ever rising fuel prices, the overhead expenditure on kerosene has created a burden which keeps them in a permanent state of subsistence living.
What is the Gravity Light?
There are many solutions found for low power off grid energy generation. Solar powered electricity in rural areas is a well-known example. Gravity light is a device that converts potential energy to light by the use of a dynamo. Someone needs to lift the weight (bag full of earth or sand weighing about 10kg) to the top position where from that point onwards the weight will slowly move down with the help of gears that cause the dynamo to rotate longer generating electricity which is transformed to disseminating light through a LED.
It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight, but it can power up to 30 minutes. There is no recurring costs; No batteries; its fully clean and green energy.
It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight, but it can power up to 30 minutes. There is no recurring costs; No batteries; its fully clean and green energy. Gravity light illumination strength is better than typical kerosene lamps. Light output is adjustable; depending on what is filled in the weight bag and the brightness of the light, it may light between 18 minutes to 30 minutes. The Dynamo and the LED lights are designed to be very efficient, so that it can last up to long time. Although you can listen to a small radio or charge batteries, you won’t be able to charge your high end phone or do fancy things with that. It’s simple and basic.
LED bulbs do not attract insects like mosquitos which is another plus point. The goal is to build a commercial version for $5. In a typical target household, the initial cost will be covered within first 2-3 months and then onwards it’s an advantage for them. Saving the money burnt as kerosene for lighting.
Who is behind Gravity Light Project?
Therefore is a UK based design company which started the project Deciwatt which is behind the Gravity light. Therefore has vast experience over 20 years in development handheld, communication and computing households for leading companies like Toshiba, NEC, Psion and Tom Tom. London-based designers Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves of Therefore spent four years developing the light.
Do I need one at home?
I don’t want it. I have mains electricity! You might say. But if you are creative, here are few ideas where you want to place the gravity light at your home. Hang the gravity light in your shed, or you can use it as a porch light. You can attach a hanging basket as the weight.
Want to help?
Please visit this link to help funding of the manufacturing and distribution of 1000 gravity lights as a follow up research in India and Africa.