Douglas Injugu excels in the art of reporting the most awe-inspiring technologies with utmost elegance. This time he comes with the story of GravityLight, an off-grid lighting project to bring down the polluting and dangerous kerosene lamps. About 1.3 billion people across the world are compelled to use kerosene lamps because access to light is still a dream for them. The product that we are talking about here has no batteries or sunlight. All you need to put on it is some weight and you are good to go.
Douglas further explains the working by showing us a 12kg bag of sand or rock that is probably attached with the installed unit of GravityLight. Once the weight is attached, you can switch on the light as per your convenience. The weight remains in air by being pulled down over a bead cord. As the bag is released, the weight goes off gradually which converts potential energy into kinetic energy empowering a polymer gear train and drive sprocket. This helps in generating power worth one-tenth of a watt, enough to empower ancillary devices and onboard LED lights. As the weight of bag reaches the floor, it is lifted again to repeat the process.
An enlightening concept that offers a promising solution for disaster preparedness and emergency relief. The best part is it can be stored for a long durations and can be easily used anywhere, anytime, at any temperature. As World Bank estimates, around 780 million people (including kids and women) inhale smoke equivalent to 2 cigarette packs everyday due to kerosene lamps. Around 60 per cent of female as well as adult victims of lung cancer are non-smokers in developing nations. The fumes also lead to cataracts and eye infections. Kerosene is also immediately dangerous that can lead to severe burns due to overturned kerosene lamps.
Kerosene is also a financial burden; usually it takes over 10-20 percent income of a household. On an annual basis, Kerosene burning leads to emission of 244 million tonnes of CO2.
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