PROBLEMATICWhat challenges are we addressing?
Budget of poor people that goes into energy
Kg of CO2 emitted in one year per one kerosene lamp
People in the planet who don't have acces to the grid
More than 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity, most of these people living in developing countries, and have very limited resources.
The power is a crucial weakness for them as it not only makes it difficult to see at night but it also restrains the possibilty of development. Indeed any work is stopped by the arrival of darkness, children can not study in the evening, it is difficult to be aware of what happens in the rest of the world, where are the opportunities….
In Sub-Saharan Africa, almost 90% of people own a phone but only 30% of them can charge it at home*. That means that more than hal of the population owns a phone but cannot charge it. That is a huge brake to the economic development as a phone is an access to information, banking, education, connexion with partners…
Access to power is therefore a very high priority to help these people developing their own economy.
A few solutions exist already, but their drawbacks make them not always suitable for the population targeted. Another technology should make it possible to get cheap and clean electricity everywhere.
*: Numbers according to the World Bank
1.2 Billion people use kerosene for lighting. These people are exposed to very inconvenient consequences:
- It costs a lot (around 0.2$ per night)*
- There is a risk of burning the house if it falls down
- While burning, kerosene produces CO2 and black carbon in a toxic smoke that damages people’s lungs. According to the World Bank, breathing kerosene fumes is the equivalent of smoking two packets of cigarettes a day.
The people who have more money can buy solar panels, which is much better but much more expensive, thus not targetting the same population.
For people with little money, there are a lot of solar lamps. Not expensive, everybody can afford them but:
- On cloudy days, their efficiency is very small
The lamp needs to be outside to charge, at the risk of being stolen at any time
- All of these solar lamps use small lithium batteries that end up polluting the environment
- Solar lamps usually don’t last more than 1.5 years.
Most of people in developing countries have a cell phone that they use not only to make calls but also to get awareness of the market, to save money and make transfers…. Their phone is their access to the rest of the world!
They also use the phones as a light very often. When they didn’t get time to prepare for the darkness to come, the phone’s light is the one that permits to finish the day activities, and come back home.
But how to charge a phone when you don’t have access to the grid?
– Few can afford to buy a big solar panel and charge their phone with it during the day.
– The rest of the people have to go to the town to charge their phone in a kiosk charging station, paying around 0.15 $ per charge.
The hiLyte Iron Battery aims at solving both of these two issues in the developing world.
It uses very cheap materials to create light and enough electricity to charge a phone, empowering the people who live in remote areas.
In a word, as told us a Kenyan woman living far from town:
“Life will change!”
*: Numbers and information was found while visiting rural people in Tanzania and Kenya