Good Thinking

SALt lamp runs on a glass of water and two teaspoons of salt

SALt lamp runs on a glass of w...
The Salt lamp runs for eight hours on a glass of saltwater
The Salt lamp runs for eight hours on a glass of saltwater
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The Salt lamp runs for eight hours on a glass of saltwater
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The Salt lamp runs for eight hours on a glass of saltwater
The company claims that the finished product will generate enough power charge smartphones via USB
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The company claims that the finished product will generate enough power charge smartphones via USB
The Salt lamp runs for eight hours on a glass of saltwater
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The Salt lamp runs for eight hours on a glass of saltwater
Salt is actually for Sustainable Alternative Lighting, with the company's founders hoping the lamp will shape more as a social movement than a regular product
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Salt is actually for Sustainable Alternative Lighting, with the company's founders hoping the lamp will shape more as a social movement than a regular product
The Salt LED lamp relies on a galvanic cell battery, in which the electrolyte solution consists purely of salty water
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The Salt LED lamp relies on a galvanic cell battery, in which the electrolyte solution consists purely of salty water

Many of the more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines lack access to electricity, so after the sun goes down light usually comes by way of kerosene lamps. While cheap, these fire hazards are bad for the environment and human health. This, combined with the cost of keeping them burning has given one startup the impetus to build a better solution. The SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) lamp burns for eight hours at a time running on only a glass of water and two teaspoons of salt.

Engineer and Greenpeace volunteer Aisa Mijeno came up with the idea for SALt after spending time with native Filipino tribes relying on kerosene lamps to perform everyday tasks after dark. She is looking to replace this hazardous light source with something the archipelago of the Philippines has in abundance: saltwater.

The SALt LED lamp relies on a galvanic cell battery, in which the electrolyte solution consists purely of salty water, into which two electrodes are placed. This is an approach we've seen used in battery designs for other LED lanterns, and is the basis of grander visions of a source of renewable energy.

Just like other batteries, the electrodes that carry the charge won't last forever. The team says that the lamp can be used for eight hours a day for around six months before the anode needs replacing, which is still a whole lot less attention than is required for regular refills of a paraffin lantern. And it also claims that the finished product will generate enough power to charge smartphones via the USB port on the side of the device.

To begin with, the company is aiming to deliver almost 600 lamps to native Filipino tribes, but it is also looking to ramp up production with plans to bring the lamp to market in early 2016. It is yet to detail pricing.

Source: SALt

23 comments
Bob Stuart
That's a great headline. Unfortunately, the article added almost nothing of technical interest, but corrected it instead. The SALt lamp apparently runs on an expendable anode of unknown composition that pollutes the electrolyte, rather than on the mixing of fresh water with salt. Or maybe the reality is a third option. I'll have to watch for a better report.
xs400
Reads like a scam spam from Nigeria! What are the electrodes made of?
thatBeatsguy
"Many of the more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines lack access to electricity" That's because less than 1,000 of those islands are even inhabited.
William H Lanteigne
The key is the cost of replacing the anode. If it's a relatively cheap metal, like zinc or copper or aluminum, it's a great idea.
Daishi
LED efficiency helps but something I have been thinking about lately is why do we tend to look to only look to white lighting? In San Jose and San Diego I noticed they use yellowish sodium vapor lighting because they produce less light pollution for nearby observatories but they also provide much warmer lighting that doesn't ruin your night vision. I replaced my porch lights with 2 watt yellow LED (bug lights) and I wish I would have done it sooner both because it doesn't ruin my night vision and it doesn't draw nearly as many insects as white lighting. Colors don't render as well as under white lighting because there is only some of the spectrum available to reflect back but it avoids the lighting arms race of having the daylight everything you need to see or serving as a beacon to signal all nearby insects to converge on you. Energy storage is still something that needs to be solved but the amount of light pumped out by many solutions is probably overkill. It probably bothers me more than most people but I find lights that are too bright at night a huge nuisance.
windykites
This is obviously old technology, which is proven to work. Presumably one would need several cells to get up sufficient voltage. The question is why doesn't everybody use this?The only cost in the whole thing is some strips of metal for the electrodes. The odd thing about these batteries is they do not need to be charged. I think I will try some experiments myself. Eight hours a day for six months is a phenomenal output. I can't see the need to spend time with Filipino native tribes, in order to grasp the situation of substituting paraffin lamps with LED lamps. A couple of minutes would be long enough. In fact you don't even need to go to the Philippines.
MarylandUSA
"the finished product will generate enough power to charge smartphones via the USB port on the side of the device." In other words, about 2.5 watts (5V x 0.5 amp). if that's the total power output, it won't create a lot of light, and presumably it won't create any light when your phone is charging. If it's spare output, great.
jerryd
Using a steel and an alum can or 2 sets in series will do this too for near free using LED's from cheap flashlights that die. LED's are only $.10 new now.
jmcalli
Similar lamps are available on Amazon. Item GH-LED10WBW.
Captain Obvious
No, it's not "sustainable" when you make a home brew non-rechargeable battery. And it's not "alternative", because electrochemical cells have been made for ...well, a long time. Don't they have sun in the Philippines? Charge up some decent batteries with PV cells.