A foundation from the Philippines brings light to zones without electricity, one plastic bottle at a time. The technology is open source and the foundation wishes to empower people to spread and install these lights in their communities.
Empty plastic bottles are usually associated with pollution and images of littered lakes and beaches. The MyShelter Foundation might help give the plastic containers a more positive connotation by turning them into solar lamps.
Bringing the Sun Indoors
The Liter of Light movement started in 2011, using Brazilian mechanic Alfredo Moser’s invention. Moser discovered that by mixing bleach with water in an empty bottle and placing that bottle in a hole in the roof, he could illuminate the inside of his house – during the day. The refraction of the sunlight turns the water bottle into the equivalent of a 40-60 Watt lightbult.
Filipino organisation MyShelter took this concept and turned it into the empowering Liter of Light movement, teaching people how to install the lights. The invention is particularly useful for areas without a reliable supply of electricity.
Watch the video below to see how to build a solar light bulb:
Liter of Light – Also at Night
Water and bleach is a simple formula, but it only brings light to outdoor spaces while the sun shines outside. For areas without power, it is also crucial to get light at night. This is why the MyShelter team took the concept one step further, with the Night Light project.
The recycled plastic bottles are still the central part of the concept, but for the Night Light they are fitted with a small solar panel, a battery and and LED lightbulb. The resulting device can provide up to ten hours of light when fully charged by sunlight.
This simple, sustainable device is particularly useful in areas recovering from a disaster. When Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines in 2013, MyShelter was able to provide lighting to areas that would have otherwise been plunged into total darkness.
Liter of Light won several awards, including the Zayed Future Energy Prize and the World Habitat Award. Just a few weeks ago, the initiative made it to the Top 10 of the Bright Minds Challenge, a competition showcasing solar and energy storage solutions. If you wish to support MyShelter and bring light to areas desperately needing it, head to the project’s page to make a donation.