Living by the light of a kerosene lamp is like smoking two cigarettes...


One third of the world's population lives off-grid, not by choice but by circumstance. Buying kerosene for lighting can consume up to 20% of a family's income. But it's not just the cost and fire risk that's a problem. The World Health Organisation say inhaling the fumes of kerosene is the health equivalent of smoking two cigarettes per day.


7 steps from kerosene to gravity


Solar Aid challenged the design company Therefore to develop an L.E.D. lantern for Africa replacing the financially crippling and dangerous kerosene lamp that so many developing communities depend on. The product of the work is the Gravity Light which provides a gentle light for 30 minutes and a more intense reading light for 20 minutes simply by raising a weight.

The lamp currently costs less than £6 ($10), has no running costs, no battery and nothing to replace. The $10 investment a family makes is recouped in about 3 months without the need for kerosene. The design team think that in a big enough production line the gravity light can be manufactured for as little as £3 ($5).

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The Gravity Light was funded by an Indiegogo campaign in November 2012 that raised over seven times the target funding. The extra funding enabled the team to improve the design for better efficiency, robustness and quality of light. The Gravity Light has gone out to villages in Guatemala, the Philippines and Bangladesh to get feedback to improve the design still further.