A lamp that is said to require two tablespoons of salt and a glass of water to work offers hope that lighting can be made affordable for people around the world — but it's not quite as simple as that.
The idea behind the SALt lamp to make use of ocean water, which we have in abundance. It's a product that its developers also call a social movement, reports Phys.org, because it raises the possibility of a cleaner source of light than kerosene lanterns. The reality is that the lamp requires a simple galvanic cell battery and two electrodes or cylinders, which are placed in the salt water. The electrodes pose a hurdle because they must be replaced, though some may last as long as a year.
For a relatively simple explanation of how it works, watch this video:
The lamp works by making use of "the science behind the Galvanic cell, the basis for battery-making, changing the electrolytes to a nontoxic, saline solution — making the entire process safe and harmless," according to the Sustainable Alternative Lighting or SALt Corp.website.
The lamp's power source can also be used to power or charge other devices too. It comes equipped with a USB port for charging smartphone batteries.
In the event that you don't carry a bag of salt with you, and don't want to use your drinking water, you can alternatively power the lamp simply by scooping up ocean water. The salinity of ocean water is high enough to operate the lamp for about eight hours at a time. This makes the device particularly useful for the 44 percent of the world's population that lives near the coast. For instance, many people who live among the 7,000 islands in the Philippines lack access to electricity. This technology can turn the ocean into their power source, providing lighting without the need for an electric grid.
The cost of the lamp is yet to be determined; the development team is still performing a cost analysis. But the idea will be to make it affordable for those who most need it. The "priority is to build lamps for our target communities and for the communities of the NGOs and foundations who will partner with us," they said.
"We just need to give these people the chance at life through education by providing them the basic things: the means to provide food to their family, clean water and light," said Aisa Mijeno, co-founder and CEO of SALt Corp.
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