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This new sustainable lamp uses water to generate light

A Colombian designer has collaborated with renewable energy company E-dina and Wunderman Thompson to build a lamp that generates light using salt water. It could help over 800 million people worldwide with little access to electricity.

Ever been stuck out in the wilderness without a torch? Phone run out of battery? It’s an inconvenience that can happen to any outdoor enthusiast.

A new sustainable lamp could be the answer to your problems. Created by designer Miguel Mojica in collaboration with E-dina and Wunderman Thompson, this new innovation is called the ‘WaterLight’ lamp and is able to convert seawater into electricity.

Think of it as a cross between a battery charger and a traditional torch, a handy tool to provide energy to those in remote areas or tricky situations. We don’t have access to an electric grid everywhere we go, after all.

How does it work, you may be wondering? WaterLight draws electricity from ionising salt water. Electrolytes in the salt water react with magnesium and copper plates inside the lamp, which is then converted into electric energy.

Half a litre of water is able to produce light for 45 days and can be recharged with urine, should the need arise.

You can also use it to recharge phones, batteries, and anything else with a USB charging port. It’s built entirely of recyclable and resistant materials too, so you can sustainably dispose of it should you no longer have need of a WaterLight in the future.

It’s hoped that innovations such as these will provide electricity to remote communities.

Speaking on the design, Mojica notes that ‘840 million people worldwide do not have access to electricity’, citing it as a major motivation to create an easy-to-use solution.

To that end, he adds that the project was constructed specifically for the Wayuu community in Colombia. Mojica wanted to ‘reach any home that needs light but has no access to electricity, so that people can continue chores [such as] fishing or studying’.

The WaterLight is meant to be more efficient and reliable than solar energy, supplying immediate power rather than taking time to convert. There’s no need to rely on weather, either, as you don’t need a constant source of sunlight.

While the lamp is not yet widely available, there are plans to mass-produce a version that can be given to all electricity deprived areas. We’ll have to wait and see when those eventually materialise.

In the meantime, why not check out these Power-Blox batteries that could be giving clean energy to rural areas by 2030.


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