GravityLight: No Batteries, No Electricity, No Sun
The GravityLight is an innovative new solution that requires no outside energy sources and provides a safe, easy and affordable lighting. It is currently being marketed as a cost effective solution for the one billion people in the world who are living without electricity.
The GravityLight is reminiscent of a more traditional crank powered camping lantern, any manual expenditure has been replaced by relying on the force of gravity. No batteries, no solar power, no electricity. Hung from a ceiling rafter or easily erected frame, the light then requires 11 kilos of weight from any readily available origin e.g. sand or rocks. A cord is used to lift the weight to the top, which when let go, slowly descends and powers a drive sprocket and gear train that light an LED providing 20 to 30 minutes of light, before beginning its next cycle.
A significant percentage of the global population live without electricity with their only option for lighting being kerosene lamps, which are expensive (consuming up to 30% of a family’s income), polluting, fire hazardous and a health risk. In comparison, besides requiring no energy and emitting no fumes, the GravityLight team have developed a product that can be sold for a one-off payment of less than £10.
In 2013, the team trialled the GravityLight in 1,300 off-grid homes concentrating their efforts and specifically targeting communities in 26 developing countries. The trial yielded positive results and the GravityLight team have since found a manufacturing partner in Kenya.
Currently the GravityLight is being re-engineered and is now brighter, easier to use and still gives out light while being re-charged.
GravityLight is not a replacement for creating wider reaching electricity systems, but it is an example of frugal innovation that addresses a number of issues in an economically, environmentally and socially effective way.