A simple chemical reaction makes this magic work. The electrolytes in the water react with the magnesium to create electricity. The project is called WaterLight and was conceived to help all those remote communities that have limited access to the electricity grid, but which instead have a large abundance of sea water.
One such location is the Guajira Peninsula, a coastal desert at the northern tip of South America. Colombia. One of the poorest places on the whole continent (I was there in 2019 and I can confirm that it is as beautiful as it is isolated). In this desert location, these incredible lamps are starting to be tested, and judging by these photographs, they seem to fit and work perfectly.
We see that millions of people around the world do not have access to electricity on the coasts – On one charge, it can be used for around 45 days, depending on how much you use it.
Pipe Ruiz, executive creative director of Wunderman Thompson Colombia, a creative agency who worked on the design with E-Dina, a Colombian startup in the renewable energy sector that developed the core technology.
We hear a lot about sustainability nowadays. Not always in a healthy and genuine way though. Often it’s just marketing and in the end it changes little from the point of view of the planet. In this case, however, sustainability is concrete and also embraces the social aspect. In my opinion, this makes WaterLight one of the most interesting projects I’ve come across in recent years.
All this series of characteristics together – among other things applied in a context in which there really is a need – it is not absolutely obvious to find them:
> About two cups of ocean water are enough to start the refill.
> As the process separates the salt from the water, the sea water in the device can also be used later for cooking for example.
> The average life of this object has been established at approximately 5,600 hours, which is two to three years of use. Once this cycle is finished it can simply be reused as a container or even be recycled.
> It replaces another object with a much greater impact on the planet; traditional kerosene lanterns.
> Unlike a solar light, it charges instantly as soon as it is filled with water.
> WaterLight can also slowly charge a cell phone or small radio.
Photo Copyright: WaterLight – waterlight.com.co