Believe it or not there are still parts of the world where people are forced to live without access to electricity. In the Philippines people are dependent on kerosene and other fossil fuels for basic life necessities such as heat and lighting. This raises a number of logistical problems as transportation on the islands is unreliable and it’s not uncommon for residents to have to walk 12 hours to buy a single bottle of fuel. Additionally, gas is relatively expensive for the average Filipino budget and gas lamps are notoriously dangerous (just look at the Great Chicago Fire.)
That’s where Raphael and Aisa Mijeno come in. This brother and sister pair are problem solvers extraordinaire. Looking at what everybody, even the poorest residents, in the Philippines had access to (mainly salt, water, and rice) they invented a lamp that could provide light using these basic materials. Introducing SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting), a lamp that’s powered exclusively by salt and water (I guess they couldn’t find anything to do with the rice). The science is a bit technical but basically the lamp uses special metal rods connected by a wire. When submerged in saltwater the electron interactions between the rods creates a fairly basic galvanic battery. The rods need to be replaced every six months but until then the lamp can run on a single glass of saltwater for up to 8 hours! The light is generated from LEDs so there’s no fire hazard. Recently the pair have even added a usb port which lets the lamp function as a low yield charger.
Although the siblings plan to make money off of their invention they’re also heavily involved in social activism and continually raise funds to provide their lamps to impoverished communities free of charge.
For more information about SALt check out their website here.