In the developed world when we talk about renewable energy, most of the time we talk about solutions which tie into the electric grid and ways to make these more available. Apart from those people who purposely choose to live off-grid, pretty much everyone has access to electricity of some sort. Not so much in the developing world, where, in places, even access to the grid is a luxury. And without access to electricity kerosene is often the fuel of choice for both cooking and illumination.
A new(ish) start-up hopes to replace these kerosene lanterns with something less polluting. Earth2Tech has the scoop, but this is the gist of it.D.light has begun manufacturing solar-powered portable lanterns which are designed to replace kerosene lanterns in the developing world. The largest of their lanterns, the Nova, is the most robust, providing 12 hours of "high" level illumination suitable for reading or up to 40 hours of light suitable for walking around or "socializing". Though the lantern comes with an AC adapter (which D.light says will fully charge the unit in 5 hours), the lantern also can be charged with a small included solar panel. This option will allow for 6-8 hours of medium intensity light from a day-long charge, according to product literature.
The Nova is expected to sell for $12-25, certainly not an inexpensive item for someone making $2 a day. If some sort of micro-credit system could be created for people to purchase them and pay back the money at a rate similar to that which they would be paying for kerosene then perhaps products such as this can have a real quality-of-life impact for the world's poorest people.
via :: Earth2Tech
Appropriate Technology/Simple Solutions
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