Could you create light from a bag of rocks and a downward force? The answer may surprise you.
Creating a future that’s bright and safe for all is at the heart of GravityLight – the lamp that’s lighting areas of the world with limited access to electricity using the power of (you guessed it) gravity. As the 2015 winner of Shell’s Springboard programme, GravityLight is a gravity (there’s that word again) powered lamp designed by Deciwatt to provide a safer, cleaner alternative to the dangerous kerosene lamps which are common in the developing world.
Did you know that as of 2015 1.1 billion people are still without access to energy? For many of these people the only affordable solution to their lack of access has been kerosene lamps which are harmful to their health. In fact, studies have shown that inhaling the toxic fumes from kerosene lamps is the equivalent of smoking 170 cigarettes per year; unintentional ingestion of kerosene is the leading cause of child poisoning in the developing world . Beyond respiratory issues, the danger these lamps pose to the societies they light are plenty – in India alone the WHO estimates that one million people each and every year suffer moderate to severe burns caused by overturned kerosene lamps.
Exploring the great potential of the simple – and infinite – force of gravity has allowed GravityLight to combat issues of energy inaccessibility and risk to public health, paving the way towards a safer future for those that need it most.
The magic of the rocks? As gravity does its thing and pulls the rocks to earth the force pulls a strap, which in turn spins gears, driving an electric generator, powering an LED. That’s quite the chain reaction, but it works – Each journey to ground creates enough energy to give continuous light for 20 minutes. The device will combat the issue of energy expense in the developing world – there are no operating costs after an initial purchase of a GravityLight, and it can last for years.
Following its recent second successful crowdfunding campaign and with support from Shell, The GravityLight Foundation is on a 50 Night Tour across 50 villages of Kenya. People in these villages regularly can be found lighting their homes with harmful kerosene lamps. Now they can see for themselves the innovative solution that the GravityLight can provide – a reliable source of safer, cleaner energy to the people of Kenya.