Nishant Bora
Aug 25, 2011

"A liter of light": cold beverage bottles do the trick!

In 1879, Edison invented the light bulb, and now, almost one and a half centuries later, it has become almost a neglected piece of invention in most parts of the world. This is true, especially in the wake of the pace at which we learn every day about other innovations that make our life better.

Astonishing though it may be, there are some parts of the world where Edison’s light bulbs haven’t yet reached. And these are the slums in certain third-world countries. Nonetheless, the slum dwellers have found their way out and how!

MyShelter Foundation helped them through by bringing to life a sustainable lighting project that aims to bring the eco-friendly solar bottle bulb to disprivileged communities. First experimented in the Philippines, the ingenious project in the slums of Manila gives thousands of poor Filipinos solar light by sticking plastic bottles filled with water and bleach into the roof of their homes. The project is known as “Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light).”

Designed and developed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the solar bottle light is based on the principles of Appropriate Technologies–a concept that provides simple and easily replicable technologies that address basic needs in developing communities.

Here, the solar bottle light becomes an alternative source for daylight powered by sunlight. The materials required are a 1.5- or 2-liter soda PET bottle, corrugated sheets, and a mixture of water and bleach or chlorine.

And so, pressed by a scarce electricity substitution the people in the slums found out that they could light their homes with a bottle of water filled with water and some bleach. The bottle is just refracting sunlight very effectively and produces the light power equivalent to a 50/60W lamp. On a rainy day, even without much light and direct sun, one can still have some light.

The procedure for doing it is even simpler. You fill the 1.5- to 2-litre empty bottle with purified water, add 3 tablespoons of liquid bleach and tightly seal the cap. Its advisable not to use tap water because this will allow the growth of moss. The chlorine and bleach “poisons” the water to keep molds from developing so the solution can last up to five years.Then make a hole of the same size as the bottle’s circumference and insert the bottom half of the bottle, leaving it exposed to the sunlight. Make another hole on the roof of the house (the same size as the bottle’s circumference) where you want to put the solar bulb and firmly fix the device. Now seal the roof to prevent raindrops from getting inside the house. It will produce a light when the water inside the bottle bulb refracts and scatters sunlight and other exterior light inside the house.

Source: Image

There are no patents obtained on the ingenious technology yet; it is only hoped that a later patent grant does not disadvantage the needy.

And so, who said innovation required a lucrative degree and an investment of millions? It comes beautifully out of need, necessity and will.