If you live by the sea and your community doesn’t have electrical power, then WaterLight is for you. This revolutionary device provides electricity for 45 days using just two cups of sea water, and its effectiveness has been proven in one of the poorest areas of South America – the Guajira Peninsula, a coastal desert at the northernmost tip of the continent..
Developed by the Colombian renewable resource startup E-Dina Energy in April 2016, WaterLight uses a “specially designed electronic circuit that manages to extend the transfer of ions from a saline medium to convert them into useful and immediate energy”, thus extracting 500 watts of energy for each litre of water.
The ultimate goal is to produce energy in significant quantities, continuously and for immediate use or to be stored in accumulators, through plants on beaches by the sea. “The effluents from this process provide additional value by becoming fertilizers or drinking water, the energy of which for the desalination process comes from the same equipment,” E-Dina says.
“Salt water is abundant and covers 73% of the earth’s surface. We can immediately extract 2 kilowatts from a cubic meter of salt water. We can extend this extraction for 10 continuous days, but ideally it should be a 24-hour process to change the saline medium and then reload it.”
“In the development of small units, the Waterlight project provides an immediate solution that can directly benefit communities that lack lighting and a small electrical source; It can supply light and it can also be the electrical source where they can charge a cell phone or listen to a radio. The Waterlights for individual use also has applications in the field of recreation (camping), navigation (at all levels) and education (turning on a computer or a television).”
In promoting WaterLight, the Wunderman Thompson agency notes that according to the World Health Organization, 840 million people worldwide currently lack access to electricity even as worldwide demand for electricity keeps growing and traditional fossil fuel resources are being depleted.
E-Dina wanted to start with a local community that lacked access to electricity, and so the current WaterLight was designed specifically for the Wayúu people, an indigenous community situated on the northernmost tip of South America where Colombia meets Venezuela and which is surrounded on all sides by the Caribbean Sea.
The WaterLight is decorated with traditional symbols and patterns while the wooden surface echoes the ancient art of Kanas weaving. The strap has been created by local craftswomen and incorporates artisanal methods. The device is waterproof and made from recyclable material and has an expected lifetime of around 5,600 hours which equates to two or three years of use.
Wunderman Thompson global chief creative officer Bas Korsten says: “WaterLight demonstrates how the holy trinity of technology, creativity and humanity can produce a genuinely groundbreaking idea – one which holds the potential to transform life for millions of people.” WaterLight is poised for a worldwide roll-out.
E-Dina Energy website.
This lantern only needs sea water to charge. Fast Company, Apr. 19, 2021
The clean energy revolution is here. Wunderman Thompson website.
Salt water lamp WaterLight set to power communities without electricity. Design Week, Apr. 16, 2021.