Innovation That Matters

A single charge can last up to 45 days, and once power runs out, the water can be reused, either made potable or for watering plants. | Photo source Wunderman Thompson

Portable lamp powered by saltwater

Agriculture & Energy

The design provides light for 45 days for communities living off-grid

Spotted: Colombian designer Miguel Mojica has partnered with renewable energy company E-dina and design agency Wunderman Thompson Colombia to create the WaterLight. Portable, lightweight and with handcrafted details, the first set of lamps produced were for the Wayuu tribe in Colombia. Members of the tribe used the lamps for study, for fishing and to charge other devices. 

The lamp runs off two cups of saltwater. Electricity is produced very quickly as the saltwater reacts with the magnesium inside the lamp. A single charge can last up to 45 days, and once power runs out, the water can be reused, either made potable or for watering plants.   

Handcrafted details on the first run of lamps include locally-made leather straps and traditional designs etched into the wood sides of the lamp. Currently priced at €51 to €86, the partnership is working to reduce the cost. Although more expensive than solar-powered devices, the WaterLight produces electricity faster and with fewer parts.  

The team is also currently putting together a Kickstarter campaign to increase the manufacturing of the lamp. Development of the design focuses on standardising the lamps to help reduce the final cost for consumers.  

Other ways that seawater is being used in innovations include carbon-neutral cement and as a new source of drinking water for some coastal communities. 

Written by: Keely Khoury

Explore more: Sustainability | Nonprofit and Social Cause | Architecture and Design

Website: wundermanthompson.com/waterlight

Contact: wundermanthompson.com/contact-us

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