8 JULY 2015
People in too may parts of the world lack access to reliable power grids, instead, relying on kerosene generators, battery-powered lamps or candles for light during the night. These solutions can be harmful to both people and the environment. The SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) lamp offers a healthier solution with a salt-water-powered battery.
The lamp uses the science behind a galvanic cell for power. The cell is an electrochemical power source, powered by electrical energy which cause spontaneous redox reactions. Two different metals, a anode and a cathode, are submerged into different solutions and are connected by a salt bridge to form a reaction, balancing each other. What the lamp will do is take the same process and change the electrolytes into a non-toxic, saline solution.
The saline solution in SALt is significantly safer than other methods of producing light without a power grid. Kerosene and candles are both fire risks, and kerosene produces toxins that can poison people in the short term, and cause lung problems in the long term. Batteries contain strong acids, and pollute ground and water when disposed of.
The SALt lamp can also connect to a smartphone. The lamp will charge phones and is stressed to be used in critical situations. This is for areas that experience natural disasters and are in need of aid. Electricity is difficult to use in these situations and the SALt lamp can provide it.
The SALt lamp uses 1,000 grams of ocean water to keep it powered, taking the device a few hours to recharge.
SALt lamp’s designers have not announced their distribution plans, or how much they expect to charge for the device. However, they have announced that they intend to price it to be affordable for low-income families in developing nations.