Alfredo Moser is a Brazilian mechanic and inventor who one day, tired of the constant power cuts in his city, had an idea which is illuminating hundreds of thousands of homes in marginalised neighbourhoods all around the world at zero cost.
The Moser Lamp
Moser lives in Uberaba, a city in the south of Brazil, where the majority of houses don’t have electricity; only the factories have the benefit of this “privilege.” As happens on so many occasions, necessity sparked this inventor’s creativity. In 2002 Moser fabricated a lamp using only a plastic bottle, water and a little chlorine. The “Moser lamp” doesn’t emit CO2and it generates the same light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. He first installed it in houses in his community and now the invention is providing light during the day to thousands of homes without economic resources in over 15 countries, including the Philippines, India, Tanzania, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Pakistan and Fiji.
The lamp provides interior light during the day in simple dwellings with thin ceilings. To install the “device”, the common transparent 1.5- and 2-litre plastic bottles originally used for carbonated drinks are cleaned then filled with water and a little bleach to prevent the growth of algae inside it. They are then sealed with silicone before holes the diameter of the base of the bottle are made in the ceiling and the lamps are fitted before being sealed with more silicone. During daylight hours, the water inside the bottles refracts the sunlight. If the bottles are installed correctly, these lamps can last for up to five years.
This video explains how to make and install the lamps step by step.
In the Philippines, the MyShelter Foundation builds houses with sustainable and recyclable materials. In 2011 they learned about Moser’s invention and began to integrate the lamp in the constructions. The foundation also started a business model which allows the local population to obtain a small sum of money to assemble and install the lamps after training in their workshops. In just a few months, they installed 15,000 bottles in 20 cities in the Philippines. With the motto “A liter of light,” the MyShelter Foundation also trains volunteers around the world who wish to implement this model in their communities. Their objective for 2015 is to have installed 1 million lamps. The project, in which partners such as Roche and Pepsi participate and which has been publicised by media groups such as Reuters and CNN, can be seen on the website, A liter of light, another example of creativity and efficiency.
One Step Further: Light During the Night
Recently, the project organisers have set a new challenge: to provide light when the sun goes down. The nocturnal lamps incorporate an LED bulb which works for three or four hours thanks to a small solar cell which charges two small batteries during the day. (See video below.) “Liter of Night Light” is raising funds to be able to install the system in as many homes as possible.
Both the diurnal and nocturnal lamps may seem very rudimentary, and indeed they are, but they are enabling many children to do their schoolwork at home, permitting their mothers not to cook in the dark, and lighting up many small businesses. In a nutshell, they are improving their quality of life.