Super-low-cost, clean power for developing communities
Here’s an invention to make Sir Isaac Newton proud: a super-low-cost lamp powered by gravity alone. Its goal is to render dangerous, polluting and expensive kerosene lamps obsolete. This sort of lamp is a potentially revolutionary solution to the problem of inadequate electricity supply, a problem we simply must solve if more people are to benefit from the sorts of digital tools and services available in the developed world today.
One fifth of the world population is forced to use biomass (kerosene) lighting because they lack access to mains electricity. Each year, kerosene fumes are linked to 1.5 million deaths in Africa alone and the lamps cause 1.5 million incidents of severe-burns injuries in India. Biomass depletes fossil fuel resources and a single lamp burned just four hours a day emits 150 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere over the course of a year.
GravityLight was among Time Magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2013. Bill Gates called it ‘a pretty cool innovation’. Unlike batteries and kerosene, it has no operating costs. Value engineering is central to the design and the team are working to minimise unnecessary costs to ensure it's affordable for off-grid households, typically living on $2.50/day.