Cruz, Discar, Ng, Parlan, Tabafunda, Trinidad
In developing countries such as ours, one of the most devastating realities is the fact that a huge percentage of the population is struck by poverty. Situations of extreme poverty deprive the people of their basic needs. One such basic need that is being deprived of to the community, especially in the world of today, is the source of electrical energy. Even on daytime, people in the poor settlements experience darkness in their homes.
The rise of the Appropriate Technologies – technologies that uplift the standard living of the developing world, gave the poor communities a chance to get back on their feet, one step at a time. An innovation that proved to be of significant value in solving the problem of light deprivation among the dark areas of the communities is this simple technology that takes advantage of the ability of water to refract light. In 2002, Alfred Moser was able to recreate the coming of the Light – the ‘Artificial Light of the World’, the Moser Lamp, or more popularly known as the Solar-powered light bulb. And it doesn’t cost people anything! Indeed, salvation has been shared to the people, especially towards the poor, where this appropriate technology is directed.
HOW IT WORKS
The technology of the Solar Bottle Bulb consists of a clear plastic bottle, usually a 1 liter soda bottle, filled up with a solution of purified water and bleach. The bottles are placed in roofs with half of it inside the house while the other half outside. A sheet of iron is placed in the middle of the bottle so that when placed in a roof (with a hole), the bottle would not fall/drop.
The water inside the bottle is filled with bleach to “poison” the water so that the molds would not grow, keeping the water clear for years to come. Then by the fact that water disperses light through refraction, houses now have an alternative for a light bulb that equals a 60-Watt bulb without even costing for electricity and the bulb itself. Talk about energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
The good thing about the technology of the Solar Light Bulb is that it can actually be created by people in the community from scratch. The materials used are cheap and are already readily available, thus the people living in the poor settlements can use them effectively. Because it doesn’t use any form of electricity, using this technology reduces the danger of faulty electrical wiring that causes fires. What’s more, the bulb does not produce and harmful pollutants. However, the simple innovation is not perfect. Obviously this technology wouldn’t work at night since it only gets its light from the sun.
From the concept of this simple and innovative piece of technology, it is already clear how greatly this could impact societies, especially those living in impoverished areas.
It’s a light source that can be easily made by anyone from a used plastic bottle and a solution that can be attainable and created anywhere. Aside from being an easily accessible technology, it also is a means of recycling those plastic bottles that are always being produced because people love buying their drinks in large portions. We all know plastic isn’t exactly a renewable resource, so when there’s a good, efficient way to reuse it, like reusing plastic bags from groceries for trash bags, then it does us and the rest of the world some good.
And that’s the first impact it has on society so far. In the Philippines alone, when this project started, it was used to brighten over 140,000 homes in squatter areas. It gives even the poor a source of light. Sure, it doesn’t work at night, but the initial alternative was that they had no light at all times anyway, and if at night they then have to resort to the usual means of lighting with the use of electricity, these bottle light bulbs are still helpful in the sense that it cuts down electrical usage to half a day. It’s also capable of being used widely over several areas throughout the world because of its simplicity and accessibility. After the use of the bulbs in the Philippines, it even began to spread to other impoverished areas in countries such as India and Colombia.
The solution of bleach and water however, as previously mentioned, only lasts five years, but then again that’s not exactly a downside. Everything runs out eventually and needs to be renewed or replaced. The fact that it can last five years is actually pretty impressive if you consider the alternative electric light bulb. The ones in my own condominium sometimes pop or die out in less time than that. And it costs electricity which costs money. These mixtures are easily replaceable and don’t have as bad effects as our current electrical means do. And again, it’s useful to everyone. Now it’s not just the people with jobs and money that can afford to live in the light.
To sum it up, this is a great innovation. Despite minor, almost insignificant issues with these bottle lights, it’s one of the easiest, cheapest, ways to have access to light. It saves on electricity, using our sun as a natural source for light. It saves on waste as creating one requires reusing old plastic drink bottles and it helps cut down electric light usage down to half or even to none if you can tolerate the night time. And again, the biggest impact it could have, with all its efficiency and usefulness, is how widespread and accessible it is. With it, every single home on the planet could have one with just these simple materials and ingredients.
With that said, government assistance would be welcome in furthering this process. The government could help fund this project to spread this innovation more quickly and farther around, helping even more people.
At its current state, the Solar Bottle Bulb is serving its function. It provides an electricity-free light source to enter the home. The product is cheap to make and the usage can last for up to five years. It probably won’t evolve into something more advanced in the near future, save for the possible renewal for the future material to be used.
The improvement of the product is very difficult as the materials used are quite simple. Perhaps a safer replacement for bleach can be used, or if unable to produce any, reduce the amount used, as bleach is very dangerous. Further improvements can be made through the strengthening of the outer materials such as the iron and bottle. Though improving of the product is possible, it may be very hard to be able to make this product work at night due to the lack of daylight.
There is future innovation for this. There are a lot of possibilities that may happen because of this project. It may be the cause for inspiration to some scientists trying to create an energy source that is cheaper and more environmentally-friendly. It might also cause an increase of simplified technology for those in need. The future is very vague and unsure, but there is one thing that we’re sure of: Because of the Solar Bottle Bulb, The future is BRIGHT.
Then Moser (not Moses) said: “Let there be light.” And there was light… for everyone… And it was good.
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