Lighting Africa safely through Gravity


The biggest struggle for any developing country that we, as a nation continue to face is the source of electricity in rural areas in many impoverished areas. We have various informal settlements that still rely on the use of candles and kerosene lamps to get through the night.

According to statistics, over 1.2 Billion people globally have no access to electricity; this isn’t just an African problem but a Global problem that needed an effective solution. This leaves millions of people on the reliance of kerosene lamps, which has an extreme adverse effect on our ecosphere. The challenge becomes that if millions of people are without electricity that results in millions making the use of kerosene, which accounts for 3% of the world’s CO2 emissions, making a significant impact on black carbon.

Furthermore, this means huge health implications for families that make the use of kerosene; they could suffer respiratory problems from the smoke, “The World Bank estimates that 780 million women and children breathing particulate laden kerosene fumes inhale the equivalent of smoke from two packs of cigarettes a day”.

There are also increased chances of accidental kerosene poisoning due to many homes having poor ventilation and devastating fires that lead to ravaged communities within a matter of a few minutes. Leaving more people displaced with nothing. Kerosene as a product consumes 30% of families’ incomes.
The light provided by a kerosene lamp is not very bright and is highly inefficient. Each kerosene lamp produces about 0.2% of the light that one would get for the same price in industrialized countries.

An organization called The Gravity Light Foundation has found a smart and innovative solution in order to aid the poor in accessing effective, lost cost lighting in their homes. The Product designers, Jim and Martin, initially started work on the GravityLight concept as a SkunkWorks project in 2009. Following several years of product development, testing prototypes, and user feedback, they have now introduced GravityLight into Kenya, as a large-scale pilot.

GravityLight is powered by the lift of a weight. As the weight falls it turns a gear train, driving the motor that powers the LEDs. GravityLight doesn’t need batteries or sunlight and costs nothing to run. It takes seconds to lift the weight that powers GravityLight, creating 20 minutes of light on its descent.

GravityLight is installed to provide a 6ft/ 1.8m drop of a 12kg weight. This weight is lifted by a person pulling the orange cord. A pulley system means the weight only feels like 3kg. Once lifted, the weight then falls very slowly (about 1mm / second).

This movement powers a drive sprocket, which rotates very slowly with high torque (turning force). A polymer gear train running through the product turns this input into a high-speed, low-torque output that drives a DC generator at 1600 rotations per minute.

This generates about a tenth of a watt to power the onboard LED and two SatLight LEDs. Together these produce a light more than 5 times brighter than a typical open-wick kerosene lamp.

Once the weighted bag reaches the floor (after 20 minutes), it is simply lifted to repeat the process.

This great innovation was crowdfunded by over 6219 people, which made this product a reality for many. This product offers many benefits such as creating instant light at any time, No running costs, no sunshine or batteries needed and extremely reliable. It has managed to impact the lives of many across continents and we would like to salute The Gravity Foundation for their awesome works.
For more information;
Content Source via The Gravity Light Foundation