Invented by London-based developers Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves, the idea behind GravityLight was to find low-cost energy options for developing nations and mitigate the unhealthy effects of fumes emitted by kerosene lamps.
The World Bank estimates that nearly 780 million across the world women and children inhale smoke, which is equivalent to smoking two packets of cigarettes per day.
The product is also designed to be more affective than solar panels.
Riddiford and Reeves stated: “Solar panels produce electricity only when the sun shines, so the energy needs to be stored in a battery to produce the light when it becomes dark. The amount of energy stored is dependent on the size of the panel, the size of the battery, and how much (if any) sun has shone.”
The cost of buying solar panels is also a hindrance to low-income families. GravityLight is cheap in production and does not require components like batteries that the solar panels need to store energy.
“With GravityLight, however, it only takes a few seconds to lift the weight, which creates enough energy for half an hour of light, whenever it is needed. It has no batteries to run out, replace or dispose of. It is completely clean and green,” the developers said.
With various organisations looking at how to get electricity to rural areas in Africa, the project could eliminate the need for kerosene lamps.
The project is seeking funds to create at least 1,000 GravityLight units for piloting in Africa and Asia. According to Deciwatt.org, which is behind the initiative, close to US$359,200 has since been raised.