There are over 7,000 islands in the Philippines and most of these islands do not have access to electricity. These rural communities will soon be trading in candles and battery-powered devices for lamps that run on salt water. The SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) lamp burns for eight hours at a time running on only a glass of water and two teaspoons of salt.
SALt’s motto is “This isn’t just a product. It’s a social movement.” Architect and scientist Aisa Mijena is combining her skills as a member of the department of engineering at De La Salle University and her compassion as a member of Greenpeace Philippines to get the lamps in the most underprivileged communities in the islands.
The SALt lamp relies on a galvanic cell battery, in which the electrolyte solution consists of purely salty water. Just like other batteries, the electrodes that carry the charge won’t last forever. The electrode in the device can last up to a year, depending on how often and long it is used. Being the third most disaster-prone country in the world, the Philippines could really benefit from these lamps. It is also a lot cheaper that conventional kerosene or electric lamps, considerably safer since it does not have components and compounds that may spark fire, and most importantly, it’s environment-friendly since it does not emit toxic gases and leaves a minimal carbon footprint.
If it manages to work as promised, it can produce about 90 lumens of light at just $20, plus $3 to replace the anode every 6 months. The company also claims that the finished product will generate enough power to charge smartphones via the USB port on the side of the device. The company is aiming to deliver almost 600 lamps to native Filipino tribes. Median believes the product will be available in the market in 2016.