Thanks to a team of industrious MIT students and a social entrepreneur named Illac Diaz, people in the Philippines have a new way to power their lives with sunshine. All it takes is an empty plastic bottle, a liter of water, and a bit of bleach. Puzzled? Just watch:
The program is called A Liter of Light, and not only is it creating green jobs, it is breathing new life into plastic bottles and changing the way many Filipinos live. A Liter of Light aims to fit 1 million homes in the Philippines with plastic bottle lights by the end of 2012. At present there are a bit over 10,000 bottle lights installed in Manila and Laguna.
If you think about it, it seems like an obvious recipe for success.
- 1 country with ample sunshine (avg. solar radiation in the Philippines is 128-203 watts/m2).
- 1 large heap of households with black painted ceilings and no windows, where the homeowners can not always afford to turn their lights on.
- 3 million+ homes outside of Manila without power
- 1 surplus of plastic bottles, destined for landfills
- Bleach (to prevent algae growth)
Blend all six ingredients at high speed. Slowly add in the light refracting properties of water. Bake under the sun. Serves 1 million.
The recipe is so obvious, in fact, that others who came before MIT and Illac also built the light bottles, but without all of the press. Many credit the invention of the lights to a Brazilian named Alfredo Moser, who installed some in his own home during a long electrical shortage in São Paulo in 2002.
However they came to be, they are an innovative way to channel the sun’s light and change the way entire communities live.
The bottle lights have a 5 year life expectancy, as the end of which it will be simple for homeowners to swap out the old bottle for a new one.