Solar light bulbs for pennies (Isang Litrong Liwanag/a litre of light)

A litre of light

I just ran across a wonderful innovationthat seems to have been around for a few years but just now seems to be garnering widespread attention. The innovation seems to be the brainchild either the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or of Mr. Illac Diaz of the Philippines. It is as brilliant in its simplicity as it is as a light bulb. I am going to leave the description of the “bulbs” and how they are used to the foundation (and to two interesting YouTube videos (describing the why and how). One of the linked videos below describes this as an idea out of MIT and that makes sense because that institution seems to focus on a lot of simple projects to help the poor (see my earlier blog about solar powered water desalinators that were developed by MIT folks).

This “lightbulb” is meant to give the poor of the Philippines and other nations with a means of lighting interior rooms during the day using the sun’s energy. While the bulbs are useless at night, they offer the poor totally free lighting of those interior rooms (that have no other good source of light) during daylight hours.

Mr. Diaz has set up a foundation to help poor folks in the Philippines live better and that foundation (Isang Litrong Liwanag – which means a litre of light) has a website worth visiting.

There are also two videos worth watching on YouTube. The first is sort of rough-looking, but it explains why this light source is important and the second shows how the lightbulbs are made. It is really ingenious! Both videos are short and both are worth the time to watch.

The idea of advertising these videos seems to be to raise awareness and to solicit donations to the foundation. I have not investigated the foundation to find out if they use the money wisely, or if they are profit or non-profit based, so I cannot endorse it at this time, but from the literature and movies it seems that they have pioneered a few technologies for improving the lives of the poor in developing nations and it is certainly seems worth investigating. It also seems to count among its partners the “National Geographic Channel” which seems to be a hopeful indicator that it is an ethical and effective foundation.

These days when the west is insisting on having the developing world agree to carbon emission reductions before it lives up to its own reduction commitments, this technology would go at least part of the way to allowing the poor to improve their living conditions without increasing their carbon footprint.


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