If successfully integrated, a new electricity alternative will help one in five people around the world—that’s 20 percent of the earth’s population. It’s called GravityLight, and it essentially works in harmony with the earth’s tow, eliminating the use of kerosene lamps for people who don’t have access to electricity.
Our world’s population is growing, meaning more people are born into poverty without the proper tools to harness light, what so many of us take for granted.
Daylight only goes so far when there are children to be cared for and bodies to be nourished. Rather than live in fear of the sun setting, many people have embraced other ways of producing light. One of the more popular ways is a kerosene lamp. Kerosene relies on distilling petroleum and can be found in everything from cleaning solvents to jet engines.
Contamination of lamp fuel with even a small amount of gasoline leads to higher vapor pressure, leading to high risk consequences.
“A typical lamp is made by taking an empty bottle or tin can, putting a wick in the middle, filling it with fuel and lighting,” GravityLight captions on their website, under a photo of a vodka bottle so lit up, it resembles more a Molotov cocktail than it does a light to eat your dinner under.
Apart from the lamps being dangerous, causing 1.5 million people in India alone to suffer burns and slum fires every year, they’re also neither economically nor environmentally viable.
Kerosene lamps can suck up more than 30 percent of a family’s yearly income, many of those families living in some of the world’s poorest communities. The communities also contribute to 3 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions.
Kerosene lamps consume an estimated 77 billion litres of fuel per year
To lower kerosene use and its dire consequences, GravityLight has come up with a technology that eliminates costs, health risks and any reliance on the sun or batteries that other solutions might have. This allows people to “break the fuel poverty cycle caused by kerosene lamps,” and replace it with more positive cycles.
The lights come in kits and operate with kinetic energy. Each kit provides the installation of a 6ft/1.8m drop of a 12kg weight, so that when the weight is lifted, its fall goes through a process that generates a deciwatt of energy. That deciwatt is then capable of powering onboard LED devices, producing a light five times more bright than a kerosene lamp.