Gravity Light: Our Renewable Energy Future

Gravity Light
Gravity Light. By GravityLight (GravityLight) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

What could be better for providing light in a poor country with no electricity than a cheap kerosene lamp? A group of renewable entrepreneurs think they have found the answer – meet Gravity Light, a third world LED lighting system powered by lifting a bag containing 12Kg (27lb) of rocks every 20 minutes.

GravityLight Brings Clean Energy to Kenya

In Kenya it’s estimated that one in seven people live without access to electricity. Sixty eight percent of Kenyans rely on kerosene as their main source of energy. Kerosene is expensive as a fuel, and can be dangerous as a flammable in the household. GravityLight is one of several startup companies working to make clean and renewable energy and lighting available to families in Kenya and around the world. The foundation has partnered with Shell to send more than 3,000 lights to families in Kenya.

Read more: http://www.engineering.com/DesignerEdge/DesignerEdgeArticles/ArticleID/13777/GravityLight-Brings-Clean-Energy-to-Kenya.aspx

The light isn’t very bright. According to the specification;

Product weight (empty bag) 1.2 kg / 2.6 lbs
Max loaded bag weight 12.5 kg / 27.5 lbs
Nominal Voltage 2.7 V DC
Max current <0.031 A
Max electrical power 0.085 W
Luminous flux 15 lm
Luminous efficiency 208 lm/W
Colour temperature 5000 K
Colour Rendering Index > 70
Beam angle 147o

Read more: Specification Document

But hey, the idea has an endorsement from Bill Gates. And think of the health benefits. Instead of studying for hours by the steady flame of a kerosene lamp, risking DVT from all that sitting down, every 20 minutes someone has to winch up a heavy bag of rocks.

Perhaps the benefits will spread to first world countries. Who needs an industrial economy and a steady supply of fossil fuel powered electricity, when you can have the healthy exercise benefits of owning a human powered gravity light?

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Kyle K
November 25, 2016 4:03 pm

One step closer to that hamster on a treadmill.

urederra
Reply to  Kyle K
November 25, 2016 4:24 pm

You won the thread.

Reply to  urederra
November 25, 2016 5:43 pm

Actually it reminds me more of a mouse on a waterslide or a spider trapped in your bathtub.

M Seward
Reply to  Kyle K
November 25, 2016 7:17 pm

I have an idea. Why not burn a gram or so of hydrocarbon oil/wax/whatever every 20 minutes? And then, and then arrange a bunch of grams in sequence so you don’t have to ‘reload’ all the time…..Just an idea.
Think of all those poor hamsters you will save from a life of misery…

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Kyle K
November 25, 2016 7:26 pm

I have a hand-crank led flashlight. What’s the difference here?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 25, 2016 9:00 pm

You have to be really good at cranking that handle 😉

JohnKnight
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 26, 2016 12:24 am

Yeah, Pop, I’ve got a couple of those, and they work pretty well, with three LEDs . . When I first read the blurb on the homepage, I thought there would be a much longer downside, so to speak ; )
I also have a few solar charge path-lights I use as if candles, when the power goes out, and have used when camping. I got them for very cheap, A few hours of available light each night should be easily maintainable, in the tropics especially so . . This newfangled 20 minute wonder would be better than nothing no doubt, but I’d much rather have a well designed small solar/battery light.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 26, 2016 12:54 am

“JohnKnight November 26, 2016 at 12:24 am
…but I’d much rather have a well designed small solar/battery light.”
Exactly! We have them all over Australian cities powering lights in public areas like parks etc and signs etc. Work very very well and are almost maintenance free and no need for someone to “recharge” the system every 20 mins.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 26, 2016 2:18 am

I use to have a travel device that worked by foot power. Old tech.. — Eugene WR Gallun

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 26, 2016 7:15 am

Garrity Power Lite 3 LED Crank Lightcomment image
Price: $29.16
* Self-powered flashlight ideal for power outages, camping, and traveling
Provides up to one hour of bright light per minute of cranking
• Three super-bright LED bulbs; sealed, rechargeable NiMH battery
• Magnifying lens casts a bright beam; comfortable rubberized grip
• Lightweight, compact housing; lifetime warranty on the fixture
https://www.amazon.com/GARRITY-Bright-Rechargeable-Emergency-Flashlight/dp/B000FLECU8

usurbrain
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 26, 2016 5:39 pm

Eight years with a Democrat President and it will be a job posted in the internet. Hopefully, by then they will have those Treadmill generators.

usurbrain
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 26, 2016 5:41 pm

“have a few solar charge path-lights ”
Took just the light part of two of those on a camping trip and they were great in the tent.

Earl Rodd
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 27, 2016 3:45 pm

That flashlight uses a rechargeable battery which eventually dies. This scheme seems to have no battery being charges. The power is generated as needed. So the equivalent would be constantly cranking a flashlight.

rocketscientist
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 28, 2016 1:59 pm

Rocks last longer than the rechargeable batteries in those flashlights. I’ve thrown several of those things away.
Like we say in the engineering world when some marketing wonk thinks they have a notion, “A bad idea whose time has come.”

shrnfr
Reply to  Kyle K
November 25, 2016 7:42 pm

But you must admit that this concept rocks.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  shrnfr
November 25, 2016 9:33 pm

Rocks are involved, all right.

James Bull
Reply to  shrnfr
November 26, 2016 1:16 am

This always assumes that your shanty hut will support the weight and you can get hold of rocks/cement blocks that aren’t being used to support someone else’s hut.
James Bull

observa
Reply to  Kyle K
November 25, 2016 9:08 pm

Ve haf vays of making you all green white boy….mwahahahahahahahaha…

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  Kyle K
November 25, 2016 10:37 pm

That thing is extremely efficient in use of energy. If it’s 10 kg dropping 1 meter in 20 minutes, that’s 98N X .00084 m/sec or .08 Watts [1 Watt = 1 N-m/sec] . If the LEDs including circuitry are really 208 lumens/W, that’s 17 lumens.
I once had a US Navy diver on a treadmill putting out about 250W for a half hour. That’s the best he could do. It gives you a lot of respect for the energy in burning fuel.

Reply to  dan no longer in CA
November 27, 2016 12:25 am

Some more perspective.
In my mid 50’s, I can still manage 237 watts during a half hour Functional Threshold Power test on the bicycle. FTP testing determines maximum sustained aerobic power. Most of my racing buddies are in the low 300’s. They tolerate my anemic FTP power because if I survive to the end, my all fast-twitch muscle fibers will produce 1,300 watts for about a minute, which is good for about 40 mph in the lead-out sprint train. Professional (un-doped) cyclists are in the low 400’s watts for FTP. The best are around 450 watts.
But the human body runs around 25% efficiency, so I am burning somewhere north of 900 calories per hour to produce anything over 200 watts. The average human stores a little more than 24 hours of sugar supply in the muscles, or for me about 2,400 calories. At 900 calories per hour, that sugar runs out in about 2 hours, 40 minutes, and from them on calories have to be supplied by fats, which requires 30% more oxygen to metabolize, and since we are already at our aerobic maximum this forces a 30% reduction in power, which is also known as hitting the wall. And the brain runs only on sugar, so hitting the wall and running out of sugar makes you stupid. So for longer courses, we have to dial back the power, or cram in some more sugar during the ride so we don’t run out. In the end, if you expect to produce power for say an 8 hour day, you have to dial the power down to about 100 watts, or you just will not have enough fuel to make it to the end, and even then you will end up lighter due to supplemental fat burning.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  Kyle K
November 26, 2016 2:15 am

urederra — Kyle k wins. Damn and its fhe first post.. — Eugene WR Gallun..

Reply to  Kyle K
November 26, 2016 8:28 am

As a kid, this kind of olden-days technology is exactly what popped into my mind when people said,
“Many hands make light work.”
I guess that puts me somewhere on the spectrum.

Stephen Greene
Reply to  Kyle K
November 26, 2016 11:02 am

Or a bigger generator on a hill with a shitload of really big rocks, that will do for a whole village! Duh, why didn’t I think of that!

Reply to  Kyle K
November 26, 2016 12:37 pm

Remember Soylent Green.

Reply to  Kyle K
November 26, 2016 1:32 pm

This reminds me of the article by the author of Dansdata who ripped into an environmental award winning ‘gravity lamp’ – which he writes no one actually tested before handing out the award..
He wrote of the Gravia light way back in 2008, but seems you can’t keep a goofy idea down. Well worth reading his thoughts on the matter.
Possibly this new gravity light is just the inevitable outcome of making learning ‘easier’ for people such that they need never heart their brains by doing something so mundane as researching (I saw this with science advanced diploma’s being dumbed down to the point graduating students didn’t know what pH meant.. and I quit lecturing in disgust)

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2016 1:35 pm

sorry for the link fail – it’s
http://www.howtospotapsychopath.com/2008/03/03/stop-press-pixie-dust-unsuitable-for-household-lighting/
and the offending gadget concept art.

Reply to  Karl
November 26, 2016 3:57 pm

Gravia light
That sounds like something to market to academics so they can keep on working on their grant applications at night during wind / solar induced power outages.

Reply to  Kyle K
November 26, 2016 3:14 pm

One step closer to the “personal energy board” in Glen Beck’s fictional book “Agenda 21”. Big Brother is watching.

Paul Westhaver
November 25, 2016 4:12 pm

I saw this in a “BestofYouTube” video a couple years back…maybe 18 months.
I judge the technology as a stopgap survival type technology. So it is OK. I am not enamored with its novelty.
What would be better is a more intelligent division of labor brought on by work specialization and a stable government. Erect power lines, build power plants, lay water pipes and sewer lines. This requires social change and the end of tribal warfare.
Instead we tell these poor people to hang in there with their corrupt socialist governments and live the green religion. Do as the UN dictates, use gravity rock lights, like a green peace wilderness nut job.
The answer to 3rd world poverty is to allow them to burn coal, oil, gas, and get rid of their tyrant leaders propped up by the UN.
IMO

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
November 25, 2016 4:39 pm

Amen, Amen, Amen

Reply to  jimmy_jimmy
November 25, 2016 4:47 pm

Paul wrote – ” The answer to 3rd world poverty is to allow them to burn coal, oil, gas, and get rid of their tyrant leaders propped up by the UN. ” – kind of what Western Society did to progress out of the horse and buggy era

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
November 25, 2016 4:56 pm

“The answer to 3rd world poverty is to allow them to burn coal, oil, gas, and get rid of their tyrant leaders propped up by the UN.”
FIFY.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Bear
November 27, 2016 10:37 am

heh heh touche

auto
Reply to  Bear
November 27, 2016 2:28 pm

Bear,
Most apposite.
+ several. a
Although the energy gained may be minimal [except for Fat Boy Kim?] the example is salutary!
Auto

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
November 25, 2016 5:44 pm

+ many Paul.

Hivemind
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
November 25, 2016 6:32 pm

15 or 20 years ago, I saw a TV program about somebody that made a clockwork radio. It was for similar places, where people had no electricity and no money to buy batteries. Frankly, I think that this light would work better off clockwork.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Hivemind
November 25, 2016 9:37 pm

A clock with the same operating torque as the Rocky Horror Chandelier would shear all the teeth off its gears in a day.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  Hivemind
November 26, 2016 2:28 am

I am old enough to remember wind up watches. We can sell them to the college snowflakes as an environmentally sound alternative to battery driven watches. Run articles about the millions of watch batteries polluting our landfills. Save the planets! The money will roll in!!!!
Eugene WR Gallun

Oldseadog
Reply to  Hivemind
November 26, 2016 3:16 am

Hivemind, that is what Pop Piasa is talking about up-thread at 7.26pm. I have a couple on my boat.

Dave Ward
Reply to  Hivemind
November 26, 2016 5:12 am

“I saw a TV program about somebody that made a clockwork radio”
Here you go:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Baylis

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Hivemind
November 26, 2016 5:49 am

I’ve never seen a clockwork radio. Saw a clockwork orange though.

meltemian
Reply to  Hivemind
November 26, 2016 6:33 am

Good Lord! I’ve got two watches…both wind-up models and I’ve still got a clockwork radio somewhere, I’m obviously completely out of date.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Hivemind
November 26, 2016 6:55 am

Eugene WR Gallun
November 26, 2016 at 2:28 am I am old enough to remember wind up watches.
I am old enough to remember them AND still have two working versions, one of which is a 22 jewel kinetic automatic which is about 50 years old and the other a genuine 17 jewel wind up, which is about 60 years old.
My wife has a vintage ladies Cocktail Watch which is nearly 100 years old and still working.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Hivemind
November 26, 2016 10:50 am

I am old enough to remember wind up watches. We can sell them to the college snowflakes as an environmentally sound alternative to battery driven watches. Run articles about the millions of watch batteries polluting our landfills. Save the planets! The money will roll in!!!!

I’ve had Casio solar watches for the past 20 years. Never changed a battery, and they have never not worked. And, they’re calibrated with the Atomic clock in Colorado. Never had to set the time.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Hivemind
November 26, 2016 10:04 pm

Jeff Alberts,
The Casio “Wave Ceptor”, I have one one on my wrist also. One of the best uses of solar power. I’m planning on upgrading to a Citizen EcoDrive this year. Same concept, but better quality.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Hivemind
November 27, 2016 5:29 pm

The Casio “Wave Ceptor”, I have one one on my wrist also. One of the best uses of solar power. I’m planning on upgrading to a Citizen EcoDrive this year. Same concept, but better quality.

My latest is a Pro-Trek, much more expensive than I usually go for, but since it’s Casio I went for it.
I’ve had the Citizen Wingman before. Was not impressed for a $150 watch 20 odd years ago. The band came apart in less than a year, the rotating bezel came off after a couple of years. All battery, had to replace it twice I think in 3 years. Maybe they’re better now, but once bitten…

MarkW
Reply to  Hivemind
November 28, 2016 7:51 am

I remember self-winding watches. The had some kind of weight on a slide internal, every time you moved, the weight would slide back and forth, as it slid the weight would hit a lever causing the spring to be wound up one tick.

gospace
Reply to  Hivemind
November 28, 2016 11:08 am

Eugene WR Gallun
I am old enough to remember wind up watches.

I remember my first luxury purchase out of boot camp was a Seiko self winding watch. A few months later I bought a plastic Texas Instruments LED watch where to avoid wearing the batteries down you only saw the time when you pressed the button. My first foray into consumer electronics.

joelobryan
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
November 25, 2016 9:36 pm

Regime change for people too ignorant to even know what that is merely means more civil war, warlords, squalid permanent refugee camps, and social chaos in the ensuing power vacuum. Meanwhile the children don’t go to school, and then become easy manipulations for death squad recruitment as illiterate teenagers. Repeat.

MarkW
Reply to  joelobryan
November 28, 2016 7:51 am

So the solution is to leave them under the current warlord?

2hotel9
Reply to  joelobryan
November 28, 2016 6:04 pm

Been there, seen that, smelled that. These leftarded a$$holes have never had to collect and bury the remains of the children, elderly and women their leftist ideology has systematically murdered. F*ck them.

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
November 25, 2016 10:11 pm

So inspiring! Wouldn’t that be fun to insert in a 6-12 grade world geography class!

Michael J. Dunn
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
November 28, 2016 1:52 pm

And what do you do in the meantime? Zambia has coal…but the mines have been left to ruin and the rail lines are in disrepair. There are no coal powerplants in operation. Zambia has hydroelctric power, but the twin governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe have allowed the reservoir of the Kariba Dam to drop lower than they should have, so the entire nation is living on rationed electric power, while paying customers (like neighboring nations) get priority. It is all very well to declare a truism about what people should do in the long term…but the long term will not arrive until the political system is rectified to make it possible, and meanwhile the struggle to live is a daily one.
I do not scoff at this gravity-lamp approach. At least you can give it to someone, and they have usable light when they need it. My cat weighs 16 pounds, so lifting 27.5 pounds is not unduly onerous. My briefcase seems to weigh as much. I would hope the lifting distance is not much more than a meter, just for the sake of comfort.

2hotel9
Reply to  Michael J. Dunn
November 28, 2016 5:58 pm

It is clear, you have no idea what it is like to NOT have electricity. Knucklehead.

2hotel9
Reply to  Michael J. Dunn
November 28, 2016 6:11 pm

Yes. Socialists. Marxists. People keep making my point for me, over and repeatedly like. Its eerie.

Michael J. Dunn
Reply to  Michael J. Dunn
November 29, 2016 6:43 pm

Hi, 2hotel9:
Gee, whiz. No electricity. I guess I didn’t get through a week of power outage in December during snow, when the only heat I had was burning wood in a cast iron stove, and the only light came from LED lanterns. This would not have been the first or only time. On previous occasions, I used kerosene lanterns, both with and without modern mantles (it makes a difference). I had to put all our refrigerated food out in the snow. We were lucky the municipal water supply was working. And this was in the heart of darkness of liberal Puget Sound (Federal Way, population 75,000…and as many 100-foot-tall Douglas Firs). Oh, yes. I had to chop the wood for burning. We would stoke it to reach 90 deg F in our family room and then bank the fire and rely on the stove to keep residual heat in the house until morning, when the cycle started all over again. We used handcloth baths (not brave enough for cold showers).
Yeah, I guess we knuckleheads know nothing about what it is like to NOT have electricity. Or…who is the real knucklehead?

2hotel9
Reply to  Michael J. Dunn
November 30, 2016 6:52 am

You were inconvenienced for a few days and that makes you SOOOO special. Your self imposed martyrdom shows you to be a knucklehead. I heat using wood and gas every winter, have 2 kerosene heaters for backups and use on job sites, oil/kerosene lamps(hanging and free standing), have rebuilt 2 spring fed catch basins so we don’t have to depend on municipal water and multiple electric generators for emergencies and job sites. All of this makes me not a martyr, it makes me a prepared, intelligent citizen.
Please feel free to pull that thorn crown tight on your head and rend your garments and wail about how special you are. I’ll continue to laugh at your dumb a$$.

Michael J. Dunn
Reply to  Michael J. Dunn
November 30, 2016 5:33 pm

2hotel9:
What is the matter with you? In no way am I trying to set myself up as a martyr or anything else. I was just trying to emphasize that lack of electricity in Zambia was a serious problem, and we ought not dismiss it as being a trivial inconvenience. Do you disagree with this message?
In any case, you came out with the presumption that I knew NOTHING about what being without electricity was like. Well, I knew a little something–and now you chastise me for not living off the land, like you do. I guess if I lived in the middle of Montana, or somewhere between Ellensburg and Spokane, doing so might be necessary. But I have the wonderful privilege of living in an electrified western urban environment, and I have a due appreciation for that privilege. Zambians also have that appreciation…when the government is not turning off the lights on them, paralyzing anything resembling modern life.
But what I can say about your lifestyle is that it is redolent of luxury, compared to the rural poor in Zambia. Access to, and the ability to purchase wood, gas, kerosene. Springs of water. Stoves & heaters, lamps, LED lanterns, catch basins. My wife’s father was once the Minister of Forestry for Zambia, and his project was to proliferate tree farms (Eucalyptus) to increase the forestation. It got to the point where wood was a valuable export. He died. Time passes. The Zambians have been burning down all their trees to produce charcoal for heating and cooking. Kerosene (paraffin) is dear, when it is even available. Equipment is expensive. Good water is not generally available. In the outskirts of Lusaka, my stepchildren are reporting the municipal water supply is providing dilute and detestable goop (treatment system has not been cleaned out, due to lack of funds and electricity). Mind you, Lusaka is the capital. President Lungu and his chief henchmen go about in Mercedes-Benzes.
Be smug and enjoy your access to 20th century technology in the midst of the planet’s most technologically endowed nation. It is yours for the taking, and it is good. God bless you. But also pity what the Zambians are doing without.

2hotel9
Reply to  Michael J. Dunn
November 30, 2016 5:43 pm

Son, you cried about being out of electricity for a few days, people in Africa, Asia, South America and right here IN America live their lives with no electricity. Tell your sob stories to someone else. You don’t impress me and you damned sure don’t impress any of them.

2hotel9
Reply to  Michael J. Dunn
November 30, 2016 5:50 pm

And why are you hung up on Zambia, boy? Did you see that name on NatGEO yesterday? Compared to Zimbabwe, Rawanda, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia et al Zambia is a glittering jewel of progress. Oy vey.

Michael J. Dunn
Reply to  Michael J. Dunn
December 2, 2016 5:23 pm

2hotel9:
Uh, I’m married to a Zambian, and have 3 stepchildren in Lusaka, and numerous family connections (her side) in Zambia and Zimbabwe. But what do I know? I only get the story from the people who are there. I must be a knucklehead.
In case you haven’t noticed, I have been trying to emphasize that their plight is serious and beyond any inconvenience that we live through. Do you want to argue that it isn’t? Then we have no argument. Have a good night…with or without electricity.

2hotel9
Reply to  Michael J. Dunn
December 2, 2016 6:14 pm

You keep acting like one that is what you are perceived to be. Been there and done that, every bit of it wasted by the people IN Africa continuing to embrace socialism. Once they are ready to throw that sh*t off get back to me, till then it is ALL wasted.

November 25, 2016 4:12 pm

Greens just don’t much like people.

Cinaed
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 25, 2016 6:00 pm

They don’t like plants either.

Reply to  Cinaed
November 25, 2016 7:04 pm

They don’t like anything.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  Cinaed
November 26, 2016 2:30 am

No, they are very fond of themselves. — Eugene WR Gallun

MarkW
Reply to  Cinaed
November 28, 2016 7:52 am

It’s other people they don’t like.

Ron
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 25, 2016 7:21 pm

or facts.

golf charlie
November 25, 2016 4:17 pm

It would be interesting to know how many of these could have been purchased, for every return plane ticket to Marrakech that US Taxpayers have just paid for.

TRM
Reply to  golf charlie
November 25, 2016 7:09 pm

You win. Best reply in the thread. A 15 watt LED is somewhere around a 70-80 watt incandescent so nice an bright. No need to buy fuel so you can spend the money on other stuff further stimulating the local economy.
By the way to those who think getting up every 20 minutes to lift a pile of rocks is somehow bad think about the fires from lamps that kill and maim thousands every year. Third world folks would laugh at the idea that getting up every 20 minutes was a hardship. They walk everywhere and do most chores manually. Don’t judge them by lazy first world behaviour.

Ray Boorman
Reply to  TRM
November 25, 2016 7:56 pm

No, TRM. Read the specs again. This thing produces only 0.085 Watts, & its light output is 15 lumen, probably not even as bright as a candle. It is at least white light, though, at 5000K.

techgm
Reply to  TRM
November 25, 2016 8:20 pm

At the 15 lumens in the specs, it produces a bit more than a typical candle at 12.7 lumens (and it’s ~500X as bright as a firefly). Hardly worth the effort, especially every 20 minutes. Reminds me of Sterling engines: clever, efficient, and cute to watch, but not very useful or practical.

gnomish
Reply to  TRM
November 25, 2016 9:15 pm

sure- just go and trigger all of africa – that’ll be good.
the light is white? what were they thinking?!
besides that, it’s cultural expropriation.

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  TRM
November 25, 2016 10:56 pm

techgm: The Swedish Navy would disagree with that. Their Gotland class submarine can stay underwater for weeks using its Stirling engine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotland-class_submarine
The reason you don’t see Stirling engines in cars is because they are more expensive to make. Mechanical Technology Inc had some nice prototype Stirling powered cars in 1970-1985. here’s a 1986 NASA report on their program. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19880002196.pdf

gallopingcamel
Reply to  TRM
November 25, 2016 11:19 pm

As a child one of my jobs was to maintain the oil lamps. That involved polishing the brass lamp bodies, cleaning the glass chimneys, trimming the wicks and re-filling the oid tanks.
Looking back it would have been much more fun to lift a bag of rocks every twenty minutes.
You folks never had to live without electricity for a single minute of your pampered lives……WAKE UP!

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  TRM
November 26, 2016 2:35 am

TRM — OK, you buy it and report back in a year. Make sure you get rid of all electric lights and even candles. No cheating. — Eugene WR Gallun
PS — You have obviously never held a job where you are physically tired at the end of the day.

TRM
Reply to  TRM
November 26, 2016 8:15 am

I did misread the specs. My bad. I thought it was 15 watts which would be plenty bright. At 15 lumens well that is not very helpful. So this now falls into the nice idea but not very practical for the amount of light.

Reply to  TRM
November 26, 2016 3:23 pm

It is essentially a common childhood night-light. Just enough light to allow you to walk across a room – not enough for reading without straining your eyes.

Michael J. Dunn
Reply to  TRM
November 28, 2016 1:56 pm

First, we substitute light for darkness. Then we make the light brighter. This is called Enlightenment (and I’m not being arch).
Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. But it is totally foolish to curse the candle.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 25, 2016 4:21 pm

Funny that it’s always wealthy western new-colonialists living in luxury inventing devices requiring absurd levels of effort and discomfort for the poorest in the world which have the effect of delaying proper heating and lighting and freeing themselves from the poverty of “sustainability” (whatever that is supposed to be).
Actually kerosene is a great form of heating as anyone familiar with Japanese homes will tell you.

David L. Hagen
November 25, 2016 4:25 pm

A great new” application for weight powered equipment! Clocks and Grandfather clocks have only used it since 1670.

tadchem
Reply to  David L. Hagen
November 26, 2016 7:03 am

My grandfather’s grandfather clock would run for a full week on one raising of the weights – over 500 times as long as this contraption.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  tadchem
November 26, 2016 9:47 am

My wife inherited a late 1800s 8-day kitchen clock that still keeps decent time (it needs a cleaning).
We also own her parents’ Grandfather clock built in 1970 which has weights for chimes and clockwork lasting 1 week.

jake
November 25, 2016 4:27 pm

Are you kidding? What’s wrong with stationary bicycle/dynamo? Or feet-powered sawing machine?

November 25, 2016 4:27 pm

Stupid. But for the record, 27 pounds of rocks is not heavy except to unfit armchair Warmunists in sheltered places like Seattle or San Fran.. The old small rectangular twine bound hay bales on my Wisconsin dairy farm went ~60 pounds each, and we heaved hundreds of them per day from baled fields onto hay wagons using bale tongs, and then via a loader again via bale tongs onto the winter hay benches in the upper hay storage of the old barns. Cyrus McCormick invented haying technique from ~1850 to ~1990.
Much easier now using plastic mesh covered half ton round baler bales and a skid loader with bale prongs. No barn required. Square baler scrapped. Hay wagons scrapped. Upper barn now fit mainly for Halloween parties. Lower barn cows still very happy with hay. Just round steel framed feed pens rather than old linear feed troughs.

dmacleo
Reply to  ristvan
November 25, 2016 4:30 pm

so those of us with multiple torn discs in spine limited to 15lbs lifting are warmunists?
🙂
would say this has survival benefits EXCEPT it reqs a mount and a weight falling to work.

Philip Schaeffer
Reply to  dmacleo
November 25, 2016 5:53 pm

From the linked article:
“One thing that Jim Reeves wanted to improve was the usability of the product. If a child was studying alone they might not have the ability to lift 12 kilograms of rocks, limiting their access to the light. This new redesign incorporates a winch so that anyone can pull the winch to lift the weights and gain twenty minutes of light.”

Barbara
Reply to  dmacleo
November 25, 2016 8:18 pm

AMA/American Medical Association: ‘Human Health Impacts From LEDs’
‘Report of The Council On Science and Public Health’, 2016
“Human and Environmental Effects of Light Emitting Diode (LED) Community Street Lighting”
http://www.darksky.org/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/AMA_Report_2016_60.pdf
And:
AMA/ American Medical Association, June 14, 2016
‘AMA Adopts Guidance to Reduce Harm from High Intensity Street Lights’
http://www.ama-assn.org/ama-adopts-guidance-reduce-harm-high-intensity-street-lights
Seems there are some health and safety factors associated with LEDs and I have a few LEDs.

Reply to  dmacleo
November 25, 2016 9:13 pm

The health impact from LED streetlights is from ones where the high efficiency of white LEDs is used less for energy conservation, more for increasing the amount of light.

angech
Reply to  dmacleo
November 26, 2016 4:43 am

Could use a pulley system

Barbara
Reply to  dmacleo
November 26, 2016 1:06 pm

Review Of Optometry
Wait for search results.
‘Seeing Blue: ‘The Impact of Excessive Blue Light Exposure’, April 15, 2016
In the article scroll down to: ”Impact on Refraction”
Article includes the use of LEDs for school lighting. Note the recommendation on LED use.
http://www.reviewofoptometry.com/search/?q=blue%20light

Barbara
Reply to  dmacleo
November 26, 2016 5:57 pm

CORNELL CHRONICLE, June 8, 2016
‘Consumers sour on milk exposed to LED light’
“Got LED light? Display cases and grocery stores increasingly do. And that’s bad news for milk drinkers.”
More on LED effects on milk at:
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2016/06/consumers-sour-milk-exposed-led-light

Reply to  dmacleo
November 27, 2016 7:27 am

Those references are not based on medical health studies, Barbara. They’re guidance, based on possibilities; e.g. High intensity white light could affect night time rest, according to “large surveys”…

“The guidance adopted today by grassroots physicians who comprise the AMA’s policy-making body strengthens the AMA’s policy stand against light pollution and public awareness of the adverse health and environmental effects of pervasive nighttime lighting.”

Nor is the announcement based on proven medical research. It is a statement against light pollution coupled with a bland activist statement regarding vague health and environment lighting effects.
LEDs emit specific frequencies, not broad ranges of light. Bright white LEDs originally came in response to the desire for bright illuminating light.
Demand is toward warmer multiple frequency, essentially friendlier home lighting. Light that does not wash out colors; a tough thing for LEDs to accomplish since individually, LEDs do not emit a full range of light frequencies.
LEDs constructed for plant growth utilize ranges of LEDs to maximize plant growth.
Similar arrays of LEDs can resemble the broad range of daylight or incandescent light frequencies.

2hotel9
Reply to  ATheoK
November 27, 2016 7:46 am

There are LED replacement bulbs for home fixtures that are not the blindingly white or numbing blue that most older LEDs produced. Also dimable and 3 level for residential use. I tried the early LED replacement bulbs for MagLight flashlights etc and they SUCKED, newer ones are excellent. I carry a Tasco LED flashlight on me at all times(Never know when you are going to be in the dark) and it casts a strong beam out to 120 feet in total darkness and works very well in crawlspaces and attics. Left it in a drop ceiling, on high, for 3 days. It was still working and the batteries lasted another month before replacing. LED has come a long way in a short time with ZERO government subsidies and no laws/regulations requiring their use. Imagine that! Market forces at work.

2hotel9
Reply to  ATheoK
November 27, 2016 7:54 am

Also, been using LED “christmas” lights for shop and business applications. Put 3 strings under the bar at my local watering hole and they have been able to stop using most of their florescent overheads. Another business we put single bulb ceiling fixtures up to replace the 4 foot by 2 foot florescents, using a dimable LED 60watt replacement bulb and greatly improved their dining and bar area lighting. Customers immediately began commenting on how much better the lighting was. And both cases saw less electric use. It is an amazing and wonderful world we have managed to stumble our way into!

Barbara
Reply to  dmacleo
November 27, 2016 2:10 pm

Research & Reviews: Journal of Food and Dairy Technology
‘The Need for Study of Led Light’s Capacity to Damage Fluid Milk’, Pub.May 20, 2016
Abstract at:
http://www.rroij.com/open-access/the-need-for-study-of-led-lights-capacity-to-damage-fluid-milk-.pdf

2hotel9
Reply to  Barbara
November 27, 2016 3:43 pm

Use container that blocks light from milk. Knucklehead.

Reply to  dmacleo
November 27, 2016 7:57 pm

2hotel9:
Yes, LEDs started off as basic electronic component usage as a diode.
Initial light emitting diodes were dull and dim, good for indicator lights.
The light emission tended to be frequency specific and yes, market desire coupled with customer demand slowly brought LED efficiency and brightness from dull and dim to bright.
A large part of that demand came from people losing their quality incandescent lights and suffering under flickering fluorescent lights.
That bright white/blue LEDs took longer to develop. There are several decades of work and research behind the current state of LED lights.
Barbara:
Light spectrum destruction of vitamins in milk has been identified for several decades.
If you want healthful milk, you’d transfer all milk from translucent materials into absolute light blocking stainless steel containers. Next up to worry about is oxidation caused by milk exposure to oxygen in air. One can always buy some compressed CO2 to spray in the container to displace that nasty O2.
There is little difference between LED light and any other light, except that LEDs are restricted to narrow bands of light emission frequencies.

Barbara
Reply to  dmacleo
November 27, 2016 7:43 pm

CBC News, Feb.26, 2016
‘LED traffic lights trouble in winter because they don’t melt snow’
“New LED bulbs don’t generate the same amount of heat the old incandescent bulbs did, so they don’t melt the snow that builds up in traffic lights.”
Article includes photo of a snow covered traffic light.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/led-traffic-lights-trouble-in-winter-because-they-don-t-melt-snow-1.3465301

2hotel9
Reply to  Barbara
November 28, 2016 4:15 am

I have seen this here in western PA. Pointed it out to a friend works for PENNDOT and he said not to worry! His union has already put in the bid to hire specialty workers to clean them off for only $65.000.000 per year, so we are saved!

MarkW
Reply to  dmacleo
November 28, 2016 8:08 am

Unless you have more than one of them, the it will be dark while you are lifting the weight.
Of course you are going to need more than one if you expect to have enough light to actually do anything useful.
Of course if you have more than one, you have spend that much more time lifting the weight on each one.
Eventually you reach the point where you are going to spend all of your time lifting weights, no time left to do anything useful.

Latitude
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2016 4:43 pm

I would guess the novelty would wear off in about 20 mins….

Latitude
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2016 5:04 pm

head wall………..

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2016 5:17 pm

I liked the “Soccket” ball:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2013/11/21/the-soccer-ball-that-helps-kids-in-underdeveloped-areas-finish-homework/
If I had this current thing, I’d run a rope to the door and every opening and closing of the door would add charge. Or build a platform that you step on to, then it descends like an elevator. Us a ramp to get into the house and the moving platform when leaving.
However, Paul W. at 4:12 is spot-on. Join the developed world.

gymnosperm
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2016 9:22 pm

And you’ve only just BEGUN with the warning labels for that sukkah. They will probably cost more than the light.

gnomish
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2016 9:22 pm

and would you leave them in the dark unable to read the Swahili translation of Finnegan’s Wake they labored in the mines all week to be able to purchase?

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 26, 2016 2:49 am

Eric Worrall — So true. i am the youngest of 3 brothers. — Eugene WR Gallun

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  ristvan
November 25, 2016 5:25 pm

ristvan November 25, 2016 at 4:27 pm
Eric Worrall November 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm
Guys bad bad idea, you are forgetting we are Americans. Well if 27 LBS of weight will produce 15lm what would 150 LBs do. Yup I can see it now “Hey Bubba help me left this”. Ever hear the caution “don’t let rednecks play with anti-matter? Any, all of us would be heck bent on improving it
Note disclaimer a few days ago during a thunderstorm we had our power go out. I’m still laughing.
michael

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  ristvan
November 25, 2016 5:43 pm

ristvan November 25, 2016 at 4:27 pm
Joking aside this is the typical stupid idea that someone who lives in a advanced society makes when trying to help less advanced.
What happens when something breaks? No hardware store for a couple hundred miles, and if they dispensed with all their lamps and candles?
You don’t give Tech that the recipient can’t reproduce on their own.
michael

yarpos
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
November 25, 2016 7:53 pm

Really, how many 1st world consumers even understand the tech they use every day? let alone have the ability to reproduce it.

MarkW
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
November 28, 2016 8:10 am

Not needed. Plenty of places where broken tech can be fixed or replaced. In first world countries the infrastructure is in place so that each individual does not need to know how to fix everything.

Oddsox
Reply to  ristvan
November 25, 2016 5:57 pm

My first job was $0.50/hour or a penny a bale whichever was higher!

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Oddsox
November 25, 2016 7:31 pm

We’re almost related.

Just an engineer
Reply to  Oddsox
November 26, 2016 1:33 pm

Been there, done that!

tony mcleod
Reply to  ristvan
November 25, 2016 8:28 pm

Luxury. We used live in a shoe-box, in road, and every morning we had a load of rotten fish dumped all over us.

AndyG55
Reply to  tony mcleod
November 25, 2016 11:51 pm

Heck, So you got breakfast in bed.. now that is looxury !

Patrick MJD
Reply to  tony mcleod
November 26, 2016 12:51 am

Cardboard?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  tony mcleod
November 26, 2016 10:54 am

I hope you seized your opportunity to learn fish slapping.

Don K
Reply to  ristvan
November 25, 2016 11:05 pm

FWIW, 12kg is basically six full 2-liter soda bottles. Your local grocery store will probably only put two in a bag — three if you ask. A bag with six such bottles is heavier than most folks wish to carry. It’s also heavy enough to possibly rip the handles off a reusable cloth bag. (I’ve had that happen). OK for a healthy adolescent or adult. Definitely too much for small children, the sick, the frail, the elderly, or folks with bad backs.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Don K
November 26, 2016 1:02 am

“Don K November 25, 2016 at 11:05 pm
Definitely too much for small children, the sick, the frail, the elderly, or folks with bad backs.”
Which you find more of in poor, rural areas in Africa.

gallopingcamel
Reply to  ristvan
November 25, 2016 11:22 pm

I love you ristvan. You clearly know what it is like to live on a farm.

Peter Morris
November 25, 2016 4:32 pm

What an unbelievably arrogant, self-absorbed bunch of assholes. I mean that’s just obnoxious.

Reply to  Peter Morris
November 25, 2016 4:40 pm

I agree. +

ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
Reply to  Peter Morris
November 25, 2016 10:59 pm

True. Why don’t they just stop breeding?
I mean, over many decades the entire world has been hammered by images from Cambodia and Africa full of starving children in countries run by despots. The parents can barely feed themselves already. Seriously, what’s the message here?
Stop breeding, die out and there’s nobody for the despots to lord over anymore, then they too die out. Job done.

2hotel9
Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
November 26, 2016 3:27 pm

That,,,,,was simply spectacular! You win AlGore:Thegoreacles’ intrawebs thingy for the day!

Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
November 27, 2016 12:01 am

Small populations V big ones.. I’ve had this conversation many a time with well meaning folk and it’s a matter of perspective – them imaging our current standard of living but with reduced numbers resulting in a better quality of life.. Sure this is kind of what happened with the Spanish flu ripping through the world resulting in a concentration of wealth for the survivors, but it also meant setbacks that took time (and more people) to overcome.
But it ignores the efforts of the many people who contributed to the raising of this standard before they were sacrificed. Fewer people means less to do maintenance, less brains contributing to problem solving and clever steps forward.. it means like in many small Australian towns you do not get a hospital or maybe even a school – there needs to be a critical mass of people to have these things – and in the Australian example, there’s a nation of wealth which can subsidize these smaller towns. Paved roads become a luxury.. I’m reminded of the story of a Scot called Calum who spent 10 years building 1 3/4 miles of road by himself. You don’t get roads without a critical mass, you don’t get power stations.
Telling people who can find themselves penniless and with no social security to keep them alive to stop having children who can help keep them alive seems cruel.. and of course you can’t just have one or two given the lack of available medicine.. child mortality, illness and accidents are going to take a few out of the picture. My wife’s grandmother was married off when she was 14.. had 10 living children who made it to adulthood (no one knows how many did not survive), buried all but one and even some of her grand children before she herself left this world..
the command ‘Die out’ .. delivered to others seems very harsh. I’m sure you might see this if you think about it from your own point of view? Those images we’ve been hammered with of carefully selected poor people were often to guilt us into making donations to wealthy western corporations to provide aid..
Look around yourself, without a vast number of people almost nothing you see would exist – it’s hard to have the time to build an iPhone when you’re swatting flies away while you’re grubbing the forest floor for food

markx
Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
November 27, 2016 9:36 pm

Thanks for the input, ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N @ November 25, 2016 at 10:59 pm
But the solution is known: Cheap energy > labour saving devices > increased productivity > time and opportunity for education > more prosperous society > rapid decline in population growth.
Summed up nicely here: Hans Rosling and the magic Washing Machine)

2hotel9
Reply to  Peter Morris
November 26, 2016 3:35 pm

How many times do you have to tell people to boil their drinking water and not to urinate/defecate in their local springs/streams/river? Apparently we have not reached that magical number since we have been doing it for around 200 years now. Perhaps this is also an indicator of why socialism keeps being so persistently embraced in these places.

ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
Reply to  2hotel9
November 27, 2016 11:12 pm

Too right. Why constantly give “aid” when there’s a very high chance that much of it reaches only the despotic grabbermint in that country?
For the rest, making cheap energy available to those without a means to pay for it except using maybe dung is pointless.

2hotel9
Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
November 28, 2016 5:35 am

Can’t help people who won’t help themselves.

November 25, 2016 4:33 pm

Fifteen lumens?
A candle would last longer.

Reply to  ATheoK
November 25, 2016 5:32 pm

“Let the market decide, but for those without any electricity this may prove to be a suitably low tech intermin part of the solution”

Indeed!
Can the device be ‘pre-charged’ by lifting the weight a dozen or a hundred times?
Spring controlled pocket watches were designed centuries ago; built upon older technology based on using weights, gearing and chains. Essentially reaching spring controlled perfection early in the 20th Century. Modern wind up watches use a person’s normal motions and activities to keep a watch ‘wound’.
Now, allegedly, some urban art nouveau students of the electrical grid have again devised a chain driven clock; taking modern non electrical grid society back at least 300 years.
Such genius.
Care to lay odds that the dang thing is noisy too?
I have this little device, an NSD Powerball, for exercise. Just by holding the ball while swinging one’s hand in tight circles, spins an internal weighted gyro. The faster the gyro spins, the brighter led lights flash. There are apparently folks who try and spin the little gyro over 20,000 rpm.
In a world that easily designs and constructs such devices, one would expect modern society to build a much brighter, less intrusive much longer lasting device.

Ross King
November 25, 2016 4:38 pm

It’s parallel-thinking to the wind-up flashlight/radio products (which I think are brilliant for when the power goes off, or was never there in the first place when the sun goes down.
The treadmill analogy, adduced above, is a perfect rejoinder. It’s fine, so long as the jail-birds(?) driving it don’t drop dead of starvation. As the Russians so acutely manipulated the energy-balances to the last Calorie in the Siberian gulags, so we get to the $-efficiency of man-powered (or horse-powered, for that matter) generation at the margin: that is, $-worth of Calories to *just* keep the treadmill operators alive, vs. alt. methods.
Soon, we hit upon economies-of-scale, and — lo! — the Industrail Revolution makes sense …. RIGHT! (Economies of Scale and Thermal Efficiency seem to be long-forgotten truisms!)

marty
November 25, 2016 4:46 pm

They need a TV and a fridge too. So I would prefer a small windmill or some solar cells with a generator when both fail.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  marty
November 26, 2016 1:24 am

Griff is a great supporter of the project in Kenya to deploy 10,000 homes with………a solar powered light and TV.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Patrick MJD
November 26, 2016 11:09 am

I’ll take door #2. The Scrubber-equipped coal plant with matching water treatment and sewage facility combo.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  marty
November 26, 2016 2:59 am

Well, first you have to have cheap energy to o create good jobs so they can afford to buy windmills and solar cells. — Eugene WR Gallun
Then take away the cheap energy and watch them regress.

catweazle666
November 25, 2016 4:47 pm

I imagine a similar amount of energy could be generated with a handful of loose change and half a cup of urine…
Now, THAT must be worth a research grant if anything is!

HENRYSatSHAMROCK@aol.com
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2016 5:15 pm

Eric, your ignorance of reality is astounding. Those little fans are not powered by Sterling engines. They are powered by the Peltier–Seebeck effect. I suggest that you learn about such things before you make a fool of your self.

HENRYSatSHAMROCK@aol.com
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2016 5:34 pm

Don’t have to watch your stupid video……..Sterlings are not cost effective.

Ever check Amazon?
..
https://www.amazon.com/Wood-Stove-Fan-Heat-Powered/dp/B00H2TECU6

You ever hear the phrase “cost effective?”

You really are ignorant

Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2016 11:08 pm

HENRYSatSHAMROCK@aol.com November 25, 2016

…before you make a fool of your self.

and

You really are ignorant

What unpleasant and unnecessary remarks in what is, after all, a fairly light-hearted thread. Some people would do well to learn some manners before exhibiting their social failings.

dan no longer in CA
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 25, 2016 11:11 pm

Eric: Robert Stirling patented the engine that runs on a unique thermodynamic cycle. Please spell his name correctly. [Other cycles are Otto (most car engines), Brayton (Airplane turbine engines), Rankine (steam engines) and Carnot is the theoretical benchmark for comparing them] I admit, I’m a nerd, and yes, I have plans to make a Stirling fan copy of the common kitchen table alcohol powered fan of 1900.
http://home.cogeco.ca/~obosma/hafan.jpg

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 26, 2016 3:05 am

dan no longer in CA — I am an alcohol powered fan. Watch sports all the time. — Eugene WR Gallun

Flyoverbob
Reply to  Eric Worrall
November 26, 2016 9:10 am

HENRYSatSHAMROCK@aol.com November 25, 2016 at 5:15 pm
Thank you for you self disqualification.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  catweazle666
November 25, 2016 6:02 pm

HENRYSatSHAMROCK@aol.com November 25, 2016 at 5:34 pm
“Sterlings are not cost effective.”
What are you babbling about? they use heat from the stove to power a fan. Where is the cost? Are you trying to say that the heat used to power the fan is more then you would get from not having the unit to begin with?
Name calling is bad form unless I do it,
respectfully michael

markx
Reply to  catweazle666
November 27, 2016 9:50 pm

Ha! Eugene wins!: 🙂

I am an alcohol powered fan. Watch sports all the time. — Eugene WR Gallun

Philip Schaeffer
November 25, 2016 4:54 pm

“Gravity Light: Our Renewable Energy Future”
Well, rail gravity storage seems to be a good idea. So, even though you are just taking a cheap shot at renewable energy systems, you may actually be right.
As for the gravity light, you don’t even pretend to take a serious look at the idea. I suppose you think the real answer for people in Kenya is to have a proper power grid.. Well, great, but they don’t, and unless you are going to go there and build and maintain it for them, they will still need to rely on other alternatives, and the gravity light actually works, and does something useful.

TonyL
November 25, 2016 4:57 pm

Probably not a bad idea, actually. If you are out in the middle of nowhere with no electricity.
These sorts of kinetic electric generators used to be something of a joke, but now with ultra-low power electronics being all the rage among the EE crowd, more and more devices will be able to make use of this.
I would bet that the system is way cheaper and more reliable than a solar cell+battery combo. If your needs are small and intermittent, there is probably a niche for this sort of thing, just like the old hand crank flashlights, or explosive detonator boxes.

gnomish
Reply to  TonyL
November 25, 2016 9:30 pm

they make great flashlights when you go to the corner store at night, too

gnomish
Reply to  TonyL
November 25, 2016 9:32 pm

i think they already tried the solar powered night light.
it turns out that you need diesel generators to power the lamps that shine on the solar cells…

Hivemind
Reply to  TonyL
November 26, 2016 2:51 am

I still prefer clockwork. But anyway, very suitable for anywhere that there isn’t reticulated power, like Kenya or South Australia.

November 25, 2016 5:05 pm

Why was there no mention of the distance the rocks needed to be lifted to provide 20 minutes of light per the specs?

November 25, 2016 5:06 pm

have a wind mill do the lifting, green green

M Courtney
Reply to  bobbyvalentine466921
November 25, 2016 5:26 pm

That’s a practical application of green technology.
If you have several weights so as you can store the energy for when the wind doesn’t blow.

Bubba Cow
Reply to  M Courtney
November 26, 2016 7:19 pm

by golly, a rock battery …

Airheadbit
November 25, 2016 5:06 pm

This would work in America instead of Michelle’s food program. The cycle time would have to be cut down to 5 minutes and any child with a high BMI would get the honors.

indefatigablefrog
November 25, 2016 5:21 pm

To help put this miraculous 15 lumen advance in technology into context – this mini pen torch (see link) which operates from a single AAA battery – can produce 300 lumen max, or 15 lumen in low power mode for 7 hours. Obviously it can be run from a rechargeable battery. It’s just a random example chosen from many.
I think that I would rather recharge some batteries and have a handy mobile source of bright light – than spend my evenings lifting rocks and straining my eyes in the 15 lumen gloom.
I’m not saying that Africans should all buy top-notch U.S. manufactured flashlights.
They should be permitted to choose the best options which suit their needs, as we do.
But – the fact that a single AAA and LED combo can produce 20 times as much light – tells me all that I need to know.
I have 3 watts of warm white LED illuminating my desk and keyboard at this very moment. It is sufficient.
0.085watt would not be.
http://www.surefire.com/titan-b.html

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
November 25, 2016 9:39 pm

Most lumen claims of flashlights are greatly overstated. 300 lumens from an LED on a usual flashlight budget requires at least 2 watts (even though 15 lumens can be obtained from a single chip LED from significantly less than .1 watt due to nonlinearities that LEDs have). And the LED requires more voltage than a single AAA cell provides, so a boost converter is required, and it costs a lot to get a boost converter that is more than 75% efficient with 1.5V input and ~3 volts output. So, to get 300 lumens from a 1.5V battery is going to require over 2.5 watts or a high budget. Even at an extreme 210 lumens/watt, 300 lumens requires 1.43 watts – nearly am amp from a AAA cell, which a AAA cell can’t do for more than a few minutes, even if its datasheet says a majority of an amp-hour of charge (applicable at a low discharge rate and not considering the cell dead until it is down to 1.1 volts or something like this). 300 lumens is probably what the LED produces at its maximum power when cooled by Niagara Falls, bare from the LED before losses in following optics.
As for an amp from a AAA cell – once alkaline cells became the common chemistry of D, C, AA and AAA disposable batteries, flashlights using D cells got upgraded bulbs with premium fill gases and with current consumption increased from around .4-.5 amp to around .6-.9 amp. So did some with C cells, although C cell flashlights with the new premium bulbs did not shine bright long enough for most night hiking use. And 2-AA cell flashlights came alonmg, to use the old PR-2 bulbs. And 2-AAA-cell flashlights came along to use special bulbs with premium fill gases and current consumption around .25-.3 amp or so.
15 lumens is about the light output of a 4-watt 120V incandescent nightlight bulb, or in the range of flat wick kerosene lamps. It is also about the light output of an old-fashioned 2-D-cell or 2-C-cell flashlight using the PR-2 bulb / lamp.
Also, 15 lumens of 5000K LED light has more effectiveness in dim areas than 15 lumens of ~1900-2000 K kerosene lamp light or ~2300 K incandescent nightlight light because the LED light has greater stimulation of scotopic vision, or a higher scotopic/photopic ratio.

gnomish
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 26, 2016 1:07 am

google ‘joule thief’. good to the last drop. they’ll drain that cell till it’s around 0.6v.
with a proportionally short duty cycle, and led can be overpowered in pulses that are very bright and persistence of vision makes the light seem brighter than the same average power at lower but continuous brightness.

gnomish
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 26, 2016 1:19 am

http://www.rapidtables.com/calc/light/lumen-to-watt-calculator.htm
15 lumen LED needs @ 0.25W
the tech advances daily…

indefatigablefrog
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 26, 2016 7:58 am

I never trust any high power battery-LED device IF it doesn’t have a DC-DC driver.
Relying on stacking two 1.5V cells and then hoping that the voltage is matched to the LED’s needs is a shoddy approach. And then, this would fail to take consideration of the 1.2V of NiMh versus 1.5V of Alkaline. I always prefer to drive LED’s using a constant current source. i.e. I regulate for current not voltage.
I was aware that there are possibilities for exaggerated claims of high watts and high lumens.
But, I think that we can expect better fidelity to the actual real-world values from American and European manufacturers, than from the Chinese non-branded market. So, that’s why I chose a U.S. manufactured torch.
I’ve been using LED’s for torches and lighting, since I manufactured arrays of superbright LEDs to function as backlighting in my off-grid home, back in the 1990’s.
Initially, these served the purpose of allowing us to navigate in the dark, when the main generator and inverter were turned off, at night.
Now, I can buy cheap 3 or 5 watt torches which run from a couple of AA’s. They are COB technology.
A wide band of active material.
The principle downside, is that they are so bright that I have to put them inside a lampshade so that looking at them doesn’t temporarily compromise my vision.
Apologies for not going to town with analysis of the technical spec. discussed in my original post.
I was really only offering a general comparison.
I think that we can safely conclude that the torch that I pointed to is considerably brighter than the rock-lift assembly. I’m more inclined to doubt the veracity of the rock-lift lumen claims, than the AAA torch’s claims.

M Courtney
November 25, 2016 5:25 pm

It’s some light. That’s better than none.
Compared to being on the grid it’s rubbish.
But compared to being off grid and wasting fuel on low energy necessities… it has a use.
For inconvenience, it’s not much worse than having to get up and put a coin in the meter.

JohnB
Reply to  M Courtney
November 25, 2016 7:15 pm

Why not build a power station instead?

Philip Schaeffer
Reply to  JohnB
November 25, 2016 8:18 pm

Well, do go to Kenya and build one. Let us know when you are done.

seamusdubh
Reply to  JohnB
November 25, 2016 9:01 pm

It charges a battery.
I’ve seen projects of this kind for over a decade now and the greenies still haven’t solved anything overall.
http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/buy-one-give-one-solar-lamp-luci.html
http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/can-a-tiny-weatherproof-solar-light-bulb-replace-kerosene-lights.html

seamusdubh
Reply to  JohnB
November 25, 2016 9:02 pm

sorry wrong post

Michael 2
Reply to  JohnB
November 26, 2016 9:33 am

This *is* a (small) power station!

EW3
Reply to  M Courtney
November 25, 2016 10:20 pm

Just bought a palm size backup LED/Radio for under $25. It has an LiIon battery with 1000mAH that can be charged via USB or handcrank..
The light gives 50 Lumens. One minute of cranking gives 30 minutes of light or 20 minutes of radio.
Wonder what the unit cost would be for 100K units?

Annie
November 25, 2016 5:36 pm

A lot of work involved for just 20 mins of light, for goodness sake! They’d be better off with a string of solar-powered Christmeas lights. At least there would be a chance of a few hours’ worth at a time. Not so good in very shady places though.

Jim Butts
Reply to  Annie
November 25, 2016 6:35 pm

Solar powered lights– think about it.

seamusdubh
Reply to  Jim Butts
November 25, 2016 9:02 pm

It charges a battery.
I’ve seen projects of this kind for over a decade now and the greenies still haven’t solved anything overall.
http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/buy-one-give-one-solar-lamp-luci.html
http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/can-a-tiny-weatherproof-solar-light-bulb-replace-kerosene-lights.html

Annie
Reply to  Jim Butts
November 25, 2016 9:45 pm

It’s not much of an idea but no worse, if as bad, as lifting a heavy weight every 20 mins! My string of lights (solar) outside gives quite some light all evening …so long as we’ve had a few hours of sun! I still think proper coal-fired energy is the least one can do for poor developing countries; this means so much in terms of health, and education.

Gary Pearse
November 25, 2016 5:39 pm

I’m sure Kenyans would erect a pole rigged with a block to raise the rocks up high enough to give them an evenings worth. Twenty minutes isn’t much of a span.
It could have some use I suppose, but it is a bit of a Luddite idea. The feel-good thought that lefty, well-off, white sustainability types are doing something wonderful for Third World unfortunates by giving them dull lights powered by their own labor is a product of an insidious, subtle form of racism that the perpetrators are unaware of. It is built into their world view and out of sight, yet it is part of almost everything they think or do.
Back in the 1960s, following independence of Nigeria I was puzzled, but only for a little while, when a Nigerian newspaperman said to me “Why is it that Bature (whites) can’t understand that an African can take a handout from them with one hand and smack them in the face with the other?” After being in the country for a while and seeing the missionary ladies in white ankle socks and sensible shoes doing God’swork with the heathens and the “Aid” communities’ patriarchal condescension, I came to see the journalist’s point. The same thing imbues the new world order types view of the world and that’s what pi55ed off middle America in the election and middle UK in Brexit.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
November 25, 2016 9:02 pm

Right on, Gary!

old engineer
November 25, 2016 5:47 pm

Okay, lots of deservedly snarky comments but no one has done the math. So here it is:
At a luminous efficiency of 208 lm/W, and an out put of 0.085 watts, the light gives 17.7 lumens. And at 5000 K, which is very blue, which makes it dim to the eye.
A check in my linen closet found a 60 watt incandescent bulb that puts out over 850 lumens at about 2800 K (called “warm white”)
So it would take 48 of these gravity lights to give the equivalent light of one 60 watt incandescent bulb.
One LED bulb found at Lowes on the internet, sold as 60 watt equivalent, puts out 800 lumens at 2700 K, and uses 9 watts.
From wikipedia:
“Flat wick-type lamps have the lowest light output, Center Draft round wick lamps have 3 – 4 times the output of flat wick lamps and pressurized lamps have higher output yet ; the range is from 8 to 100 lumens. A kerosene lamp producing 37 lumens for 4 hours per day will consume about 3 litres of kerosene per month.”

u.k(us)
Reply to  old engineer
November 25, 2016 5:58 pm

Who needs engineers 🙂

kalsel3294
Reply to  old engineer
November 25, 2016 6:37 pm

re “Flat wick-type lamps have the lowest light output, Center Draft round wick lamps have 3 – 4 times the output of flat wick lamps and pressurized lamps have higher output yet ; the range is from 8 to 100 lumens. A kerosene lamp producing 37 lumens for 4 hours per day will consume about 3 litres of kerosene per month.”
As a kid on a post WW2 Soldier Settlement block in rural Australia, I remember well our progression from the flat wick lamps to mantle lamps and eventually the pressurised lamps (all bought secondhand) which seemed to match the increase in amount and complexity of school homework as we progressed from primary to secondary school when fortunately electricity became available.

JustAnOldGuy
Reply to  old engineer
November 25, 2016 8:07 pm

I’ve never experienced life in Africa and I have certainly never experienced extreme poverty – at least after my college years. But Wikipedia left out one major category of kerosene lamps; round wick, unpressurized, incandescent mantle lamps. I have five Alladin Mantle kerosene lamps. The oldest is approaching the century mark and the newest is around 20 years old. Parts and components for all of them are still available. They all work well and I use them whenever the grid goes down due to weather. I also use them just for the warmth and gentle quality of their light, supposedly the closest to natural light. Their design eliminates any objectionable kerosene fumes except when they are first lit or extinguished. Their output is the equivalent of a 40-60 watt incandescent electric light and they normally give me 12 hours of light per quart of kero. Yes, flat wick kerosene lamps are very inefficient, producing little illumination with their incomplete combustion but properly designed lamps utilizing complete combustion and incandescent mantles are safe and effective.

Reply to  old engineer
November 25, 2016 9:52 pm

5000 K does not make light appear dim to the eye. For one thing, the lumen is a photometric unit rather than a radiometric one – the lumen is defined in terms of photopic reception by the “standard human eyeball” as defined by CIE. For that matter, how human eyes deviate from “standard photopic vision” in dim light conditions makes them more sensitive to wavelengths from mid-green to greenish-blue.
Another thing to consider: Peak wavelength of a 5000 K blackbody, as determined by amount of radiometric content per unit nm of bandwidth, using the blackbody formula, or simplified using Wien’s displacement constant: 579.5 nm to the nearest .5 nm, 579.6 nm to the nearest .1 nm. This is yellow.
The temperature of a blackbody radiator that maximizes its luminous efficiency (according to the CIE photopic function) is about 6600 K. The peak wavelength of that is somewhat bluish, but lowering the temperature increases the percentage of spectral output being in infrared more than it decreases the percentage of spectral output being in ultraviolet due mostly to broadening the bandwidth in wavelength terms.

seaice1
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 26, 2016 1:07 pm

“This is yellow.” and quite close to the sun at 5770K, which is indeed yellow

Udar
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 26, 2016 8:17 pm

5000K light sucks. Everything has this weird bluish hue. Feels like everyone is a zombie, (if zombies were blue, that is).
This is my very (un)scientific observation.

Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 6:17 pm

Who, among the smarmy scoffers, here has ever done anything to improve the lot of the world’s poorest? We all understand that this a lo-tech, non-starter in our world, but if a 9 yr. old Kenyan child is helped to learn to read by such a simple device, it’s in very poor taste to condemn it for lack of sophistication. Please, people, think before commenting. Other people are watching this site.

markl
Reply to  Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 6:27 pm

+1 We need to encourage technology transfer to those that lack it. Whether they embrace it or not is their choice…. but I don’t see that they would not no matter how simplistic.

Ray Boorman
Reply to  markl
November 25, 2016 8:13 pm

This is not technology transfer, how do the Kenyan’s repair the darn things if they break? It is simply a feel-good response from some over-educated idiot. They would have done much better to promote the building of coal fired electricity generators & an electrical grid in rural Kenya.

J.H.
Reply to  Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 6:30 pm

The best thing to improve the lot of the third world would be access to cheap fossil fuels and small single cylinder diesel engines… With that you can run small agricultural plants, fishing boats, businesses. You can run refrigeration, freezer plants, generate electricity, us as PTO’s for all manner of agricultural work, engines for fishing boats and commerce…. etc.
This light is rubbish…. A 5kva 240v generator or 24 volt/240volt inverter system driven by a 8 hp diesel engine would be a lot more practical for a family farm.

hunter
Reply to  Larry Wirth
November 26, 2016 7:08 am

And using a weight that requires resetting every 20minutes or so, instead of getting cheap large scale power to the poor helps them nearly zip.

J.H.
November 25, 2016 6:20 pm

The technology of the Grand Father clock incorporated into a light…. So we’re going back to the 1600’s.
So what comes next? The reinvention of the wheel or the lever?

Just an engineer
Reply to  J.H.
November 26, 2016 1:48 pm

Windmills?

Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 6:43 pm

JH, you’re missing the point. Yes, they would be better off with a one-lunger diesel engine, but are you going to deliver it to them? Nor do they currently have access to ‘cheap fossil fuels’ or even expensive ones. Hoisting a fairly small bag of rocks is something that can be done now. Don’t let ‘best’ become the death of ‘better’. Your situation has nothing in common with a Kenyan peasant.

u.k(us)
Reply to  Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 6:49 pm

Political stability is the problem.
Figure that one out.

ECB
Reply to  Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 6:51 pm

” Don’t let ‘best’ become the death of ‘better’”
Agreed. If I was sitting in the dark, and could lift a bag of rocks every once in a while to get light, I would. That might allow me to get an education. Priceless.

JohnB
Reply to  Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 7:25 pm

Larry, I take your point, and ECB is correct as well.
However the philosophy behind these types of projects isn’t that it’s to be a stop gap until wide scale generation arrives, but to delay wide scale generation. You don’t need to build a power station and grid if the people are shown to be happily lifting bags of rocks for light and have you beaut solar Bar B Ques for cooking on. (Just don’t expect a hot breakfast.)
“They already have zero emission lights and cooking, why do you need a power station?” It’s about keeping non whites down. Seriously. If you believe in finite resources on the planet then every developing nation of non whites is taking irreplaceable resources from your grandchildren and your grandkids will have to make do with less.
From this POV, stopping or slowing development is a very good thing.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 10:28 pm

For about 2.5USD one can buy retail small solar LED “pathway” lights. Sold in bulk the price will be much lower. All the little light needs is a switch so it comes on when desired and not just when it gets dark.
Simple is better, or rather best.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 10:35 pm

An engineer friend of mine worked on a project to develop a very low-tech, minimal cost water-well drilling rig for African use. It worked well, but was never deployed. Why? Because the import baksheesh demanded by local authorities made the rig generally unaffordable, even with subsidies. Rather than play King Canute, trying to halt the tide, the backers [who had VERY big money] withdrew funding. Well- intentioned outside theoreticians will never make one iota of progress in most of Africa. Too much corruption/ greed/ politics.

Roderic Fabian
November 25, 2016 6:46 pm

I don’t see this supplanting candles and lamps. Too inconvenient.

Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 6:47 pm

And we are not going back to the 1600’s or any other time. They desperately need to exit the Stone Age.

Christopher Hanley
Reply to  Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 11:37 pm

It’s up to Africans to solve their many political and economic problems.

Reply to  Christopher Hanley
November 27, 2016 8:16 am

+1000
And they aren’t going to be solved by a solution that requires a bag of rocks to produce 20 mins of light.
They might be solved by that bag of rocks used in a different way however….but that is UP TO THEM to do it.

Larry Wirth
November 25, 2016 6:50 pm

Candles and lamps aren’t all that convenient if you live three days walk time from the nearest store. Ever been backpacking in the Sierra Nevada? No 7-11s above treeline, nor in the Kern valley nor anywhere else if you forget to bring matches.

Ill Tempered Klavier
November 25, 2016 6:57 pm

I think all the clue challenged brain dead buctflacks should start by reading “The Ugly American” by Eugene Burdick and William J. Lederer. Once they understand the relevant parts of it, possible but probably only after years of contemplation in the lotus position for most of them, they can go live Kenyan style in Kenya, or in the style of the residents of any other place in amongst said residents, for a while. Then, if any of them actually have the brains God gave a grape, they might figure out how to use something readily available right there to do something the people who live there would really like to do but haven’t figured out yet.

Reply to  Ill Tempered Klavier
November 25, 2016 7:05 pm

I agree, and one of the reasons the gravity light is getting such contempt in this thread is that some greens think it is some sort of real solution. I remember seeing an interview with an Indian peasant saying he wanted “real electricity”, not solar panels and batteries. They want to keep the peons in their place.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 25, 2016 8:10 pm

Well Tom, it seems very “Green”. I’m thinking all those ecologically responsible people in California could use this system. I will start selling ” bags of green power” next week (just add rocks). Engineering consulting services extra if you want two lights or air-conditioning or something (1 really big bag or dozens of smaller ones?) Also, they can hire illegal aliens as ” bag men”.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 25, 2016 10:38 pm

I want the rock concession, John.

Ill Tempered Klavier
November 25, 2016 6:59 pm

Then they would have accomplished something worth doing.

ECK
November 25, 2016 7:02 pm

Just gotta love it. A “hi-tech” candle! Whatta they think of next?

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  ECK
November 25, 2016 10:40 pm

A clockwork watermelon.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
November 26, 2016 12:45 pm

LOL-You just caused that “singin’ in the rain” scene to flash through my head.

Nigel S
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
November 27, 2016 2:21 am

Sunbeams from cucumbers.

marque2
November 25, 2016 7:06 pm

Why not just give them those flashlights with the spin handle? Several hours charge with 30 seconds of spinning.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  marque2
November 26, 2016 12:43 pm

Way brighter too.

Reply to  marque2
November 27, 2016 3:20 pm

I have a lantern, a radio/flashlight and a flashlight that run on that principle. None give “several hours charge with 30 seconds of spinning”. I’m lucky to get an hour. The lantern and radio/flashlight are pretty much useless unless I’m desperate. The flashlight isn’t too bad—you can wind it, walk until it goes dim, then wind again. None of these seem to perform as advertised.

2hotel9
Reply to  Reality check
November 27, 2016 3:45 pm

How much you pay for each? What quality of battery and charger are they? You get what you pay for, and with gravity light you get a sack of rocks.

November 25, 2016 7:09 pm

A lot of guys here talk from life in Africa, even if they never have been there and certainly not knowing the circumstances of poor people there.
When I worked in Tanzania, kerosene in small amounts was 2 $ per litre. Dayly income was 1$, if you were employed. Many are not.
Kerosene Lamps produce smelly gasses which are not healthy. At night you have to close the door and windows because of moskitos. And evne in Africa it’s cold, so it seems there is som impact on health.
LED light with 15 lumen you can direct to a table or desk and this is much brighter on that area than a kerosene lamp. If you direct the light with a small angle, its multiple times brighter than 360° surround of a kerosene lamp.
If you have such a lamp, you never have to spend money on kerosene. So it depends on the price of the gadget.

ECB
Reply to  Johannes Herbst
November 25, 2016 7:27 pm

I agree, it is likely a great fix if you can buy it for a dollar and it lasts for years. I recall a visit to a village where there simply was no light for most. This could be a real godsend to them. The negative comments here come from people who live a life of Kings by comparison, and so they simply have no idea. A bit of Christian humility is due IMO.

Reply to  ECB
November 25, 2016 7:48 pm

Even 20$ is not bad. People who use kerosene need more than one litre per week, so it is paid off after ten weeks.

Udar
Reply to  ECB
November 26, 2016 8:40 pm

Liter of kerosene would last way longer than 1 week. More like 1 month, or longer if you try to conserve it.
How long do you think would this thing last, if it costs only $20, with 30lb of weight moving on it every 20 min? With daily use, I’d be surprised if it survived for a month. Something that can last years would be much more expensive.
But the derision is not because of LED lights, it’s because there is so many better alternatives that had been in existence for many years, like for example crank-powered lights with battery, which gives light for much longer at lot less effort.

Yirgach
Reply to  Johannes Herbst
November 26, 2016 8:26 pm

Let’s not forget why they are poor.
Clean up the corruption and things will get much better.

pkatt
November 25, 2016 7:38 pm

I have a nifty little device that is a hand crank 5 led flashlight and radio combined. 30 secs of crank is about 3 hours at max usage. It cost about $25 dollars. Its only problem would be aging on the rechargeable battery but mine has lasted about 10 years so far, it just needs a crank a little more often. This “new” tech idea is totally ridiculous. Im all for helping but for heavens sake you need to really help and not just feel good about sending them crap, they have enough crap.

Reply to  pkatt
November 25, 2016 8:13 pm

I have one also. From South Africa. Good for hurricane country.

Reply to  pkatt
November 27, 2016 3:25 pm

As noted above, I have not gotten more than an hour. Mine are less expensive than yours, I think. However, as other commenteros noted, $25 is a lot of money in Africa. If you’re sending them as gifts, that’s great. They are much better than nothing, and much better than lifting 27 lbs of rock every twenty minutes. As gifts to the people who have no lights, that’s fine.

Logoswrench
November 25, 2016 7:41 pm

How about a bag of U.N. Bureaucrats think of the potential. Wieght and hot air.

Ray Boorman
Reply to  Logoswrench
November 25, 2016 8:18 pm

Brilliant idea, Logo!

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Logoswrench
November 25, 2016 10:42 pm

The benefits go on and on.

gnome
Reply to  Logoswrench
November 25, 2016 10:45 pm

A better than good proposal. The stone age clearly ended when they ran out of stones, and using rocks risks a similar problem coming up, but the world will never run out of UN bureaucrats.
Enough green UN bureaucrats and the stone age could well be refreshed as the stones recover.

November 25, 2016 7:43 pm

My cousin brought down many 40W equivalent bulbs he got at Cocos to replace the incandescent bulbs here in Cabo, Baja, Mex. He payed $1 per bulb. (I think they are actually 4W bulbs now).

shrnfr
November 25, 2016 7:47 pm

I suppose that you are welcome to do as you please, but the concept of packing 25# of rocks along on a camping trip leaves me a little cold., /sarc A rechargable battery/dynamo would seem more practical.

Jer0me
Reply to  shrnfr
November 25, 2016 8:21 pm

I think rocks are common enough that you can find them where you are, no need to carry them with you. Sand, wood or water would work just as well, too.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  shrnfr
November 25, 2016 9:42 pm

Or use a kid. Billy, it’s your turn to grab the rope and hang on for 20 minutes.

Reply to  shrnfr
November 26, 2016 11:18 pm

jorgekafkazar has nailed it.. but instead of using a kid, put a cradle in place of the weight like a garden swing – you want light, you sit on the cradle.. as you descend you get your light, when the light runs out you stand up, wait for the return spring to raise the cradle again then plonk your butt back in the seat for another round. 60+ kilograms with just the effort of standing up at the end might be easier than lifting 10+ kilograms of rocks..
Note: greenies, you’re not free to pinch this idea, go away – it now belongs to jorgekafkazar and Anthony.. I suggest it be marketed to families with a chunky relative who they’d like to put to use. Marketing-wise, a picture showing ring of happy smiling facing bathing in the glow of LEDs with granny suspended in the middle should do the trick. Optional extras could boost the profits, like a sharp metal spike that could be placed beneath the swing to prompt the weight to raise it’s self when the pendulum runs down..

November 25, 2016 8:12 pm

Kenya is one of those countries where micro-installations of solar cells are working. The houses pay via cellphone that is also recharged. After one panel is paid for, most families sign up for another. The receptacles are reasonably priced and the systems devised for adding more is easily done.
This product is more suitable for the outhouse or animal/drying shed.

Ray Boorman
November 25, 2016 8:28 pm

I wonder how many rural Kenyans have a house sturdy enough to hang a 12Kg weight from the ceiling?
And how long will what appears to be a plastic strap to hang the weight on last when it is in use?
Finally, positioning this thing so that the light produced is pointing where you want it will not be easy with a 12Kg weight hanging off it.

ChrisB
November 25, 2016 8:36 pm

Lets calculate the efficiency of this great engineering innovation.
The suspended weight is 12.5 kg and is lifted to a height of 2.4 m, a potential energy of 12.5*9.81*2.4= 294.3 Joules.
This energy is released over 20 minutes, a power of 294.3/(20*60)= 0.245 watts.
Now as per their spec sheet the led lamps were is rated at 0.085 watts. We are not talking about the lumen efficiency here, just electrical rating of the lamp.
Thus, the nominal mechanical to useful electrical energy conversion efficiency is = 0.085/0.245 = 34.6%.
Well done boys, a bicycle generator will have around 95% of conversion efficiency and I now really love my antique cuckoo clock.

Curious George
Reply to  ChrisB
November 25, 2016 11:29 pm

What brand bicycle do you use?

kalsel3294
November 25, 2016 8:38 pm

What happened in remote villages in Indonesia in past decades, and probably still is in some places not yet connected to the grid, is that some enterprising villager who often had left the village to work elsewhere and saved some money, would buy a small genset then set it up paying a villager to run it for several hours each day. Wires would be strung on poles or on trees to households that would pay a small fee based on the size of the light bulbs in each house, a win-win all round. A free enterprise spirit can achieve much in the absence of a bureaucracy.

dp
November 25, 2016 8:38 pm

What they need is a generation plant that will run refrigeration so they can spend less time gathering fresh food and more time learning to make iPhones.

Ed Dooner
November 25, 2016 8:38 pm

The Clinton foundation was in talks to put in a 10 MW Rock plant in Kenya. Which would be more then sufffient to bring electricity to thousands so the they can watch a 15 lum bulb in a dark hut.

RoHa
November 25, 2016 8:47 pm

A chance to get an education and really big muscles.

Bob
November 25, 2016 8:52 pm

Hey! Just think of what we have here.
This is a guaranteed way to get people to exercise while watching TV. Take old, fat, retired people like me and don’t let me watch Fox News or Oprah without doing some heavy lifting, and I will become a new person. a lean, mean, lifting machine. You could sell these things on TV for $49.95, or two for the same price with only an additional $50.00 shipping and handling charge. You will love it. Your kids will love it. Your cat can will play with it. It’s a great deal!

Reply to  Bob
November 27, 2016 3:28 pm

Didn’t they try that with exercise bikes?

prjindigo
November 25, 2016 9:04 pm

So, basically, instead of reducing the pendulum load to chunks a child can lift they added in another device that can fail.
That’s moronic. I don’t think this was engineered well enough.

observa
November 25, 2016 9:18 pm

I think replacing all their CF globes with these is the only way Hillary supporters can get over their ‘literally shaking’ episodes and find some safe space to be at peace with themselves and Gaia again. They can also double as pendulums to answer their big questions for the future, particularly if filled with rock crystals.

joelobryan
November 25, 2016 9:22 pm

1. Who buys these for poor people? They need tens of millions of these for Africa alone.
2. What is the carbon footprint for the lifecycle of each gadget, raw material to final product delivered? Does it really save that much emissions in a life cycle evaluation?
Buy a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he feeds himself and his family for life.

RoHa
Reply to  joelobryan
November 26, 2016 4:04 am

Teach a man to fish, and his wife complains that he’s never at home and when is he going to put up those shelves, and his children say “Not fish again!”

November 25, 2016 9:27 pm

I’m just surprised Bill Gates hasn’t advocated extending the life of billions of slow old computers by installing fast and light Linux operating systems on them, all free and ready to go.
Actually, I’m not surprised.

b fagan
November 25, 2016 9:36 pm

There are better solutions already out there. D.light is one brand of small, inexpensive solar lamps. Out of curiosity I bought the S2 and S20 a few years ago and they still work fine. http://www.dlight.com/
The solar cell charges even during fairly cloudy days, and when charged, the S2 provides several hours of light you can read with, and the S20 has two brightness settings and gives more distributed light – also lasts longer. They don’t provide lumens ratings on their web site, but instead rate as “x times brighter than kerosene”. I haven’t bought a kerosene lamp to compare, but solar powered lights like this are a marked improvement for people at the bottom of the financial ladder, in that buying one gets you off the kerosene purchase (and smoke) and lets you extend daytime a bit.
They offer larger systems, too, and their top-end D30 system can also be bought on a pay-as-you-go approach being adopted in Africa and elsewhere, where the ubiquity of cell phones means you can be billed per usage even while living where the traditional grid might never reach.
There are a variety of companies and public/private partnerships getting basic illumination and charging capacity out to the non-grid public using the pay-as-you-go approach. People benefit, and it’s not simple charity – they are buying electricity instead of kerosene. Light, no smoke, no inhaled particulates. One step up the ladder.

Reply to  b fagan
November 27, 2016 3:31 pm

We used a solar powered shed light and had good luck with it—it was surprisingly bright and lasted for quite some time. We put the charger inside in a window so hail wouldn’t get it.

b fagan
Reply to  Reality check
November 28, 2016 7:17 am

Good idea with solar panel placement – window glass is a lot cheaper than silicon!

anna v
November 25, 2016 9:39 pm

I find it a good idea, if it is cheap.
There exist cheap flash lights that are powered by hand. They are useful for everybody where shops are far away and shopping is done once a week and one runs out of batteries. I have two at the country house. Maybe I should experiment with a bag of rocks :).
This goes one step further. Not a bad idea for summer houses that still have outhouses here in Greece. . Or garages and store sheds without electricity extensions. 20 minutes is plenty to find what you are looking for.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  anna v
November 26, 2016 9:04 pm

Heres something that makes more sense that’s $20 American. Collapsible, waterproof, personally portable, gives 65 Lumens and goes 18hrs on a 7hr charge.
http://www.gandermountain.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?pdesc=Luci-Collapsible-Outdoor-Solar-Light-2-0&i=1018442
If a charity could post legit destinations where these could be sent I would buy one and ship it and challenge all to follow…

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 26, 2016 9:21 pm

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Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 27, 2016 3:34 pm

Interesting. I shall have to consider investing in one or two for our cabin! Thanks!

dp
November 25, 2016 9:43 pm

Every large village has a well. This could be operated by raising and lowering the bucket. It is still far short of what is needed.

gnome
Reply to  dp
November 25, 2016 10:52 pm

Even if your idyllic view of African villages holds, the bucket goes down empty and comes up full. Not a lot of surplus energy for other purposes.

dp
Reply to  gnome
November 26, 2016 12:25 am

It’s human powered by the well operator, Einstein.

November 25, 2016 9:59 pm

The Wikipedia article on kerosene lamps says that kerosene consumption in Africa for producing light is about the same as jet fuel consumption by the US. And if most of Africa’s kerosene lamps are of the flat wick kind (which I don’t know for sure), which are generally little or no brighter for nighttime illumination than this “bag of rocks” lamp, then a lot of kerosene that poor Africans buy can be used for cooking instead of for making light, and less animal dung gets burned for cooking so more animal dung gets used as crop fertilizer.

Tony
November 25, 2016 10:17 pm

Wow, only $70 for a light that puts out 15 lm. You can buy a 3000 lm light on ebay for $1.

bobl
November 25, 2016 10:37 pm

No, it’s pretty dumb. Give each kid a bike, attach an efficient generator and a lead acid battery, enough energy for a decent light and TV. The kids will charge it during the day and love doing it. Not only that you can send them to the corner Hut for milk and an hour of TV.

Tim
November 25, 2016 10:51 pm

If we stuff the bag with chunks of coal, it would still be fossil fuel…

Mike the Morlock
November 25, 2016 10:59 pm

sorry to thread break Castro just passed away
RIP
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-38114953
michael

huntet
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
November 26, 2016 12:22 am

I think it more likely that a special spot in hell finally opened up just for Fidelito. May Fidel Castro burn in hell forever.

Reply to  huntet
November 26, 2016 12:36 am

+ a google

Reply to  huntet
November 26, 2016 6:31 am

We know how the people of little Havana feel. We felt the same in the UK when Thatcher died. In fact the song “Ding Dong the witch is dead” reached number one.

catweazle666
Reply to  Gareth Phillips
November 26, 2016 11:31 am

“We felt the same in the UK when Thatcher died.”
No WE didn’t.
Although the Leftys probably did.

hunter
Reply to  huntet
November 26, 2016 7:20 am

Gareth, comparing Thatcher to Castro is a disgusting insulting display of ignorance. Thatcher was elected, served until democratically removed, and despite your implications, left the UK better than she found it. Castro was a faux revolutionary kleptocratic tyrant who has left his country worse off, and only ended his rule after nearly 50 years when he finally assigned power to his equally tyrannical and corrupt brother. Bugger off.

Reply to  huntet
November 26, 2016 9:07 am

Hey Hunter, you are obviously one of the political ignoramuses who don’t realise that some politicians kill their opponents like Castor did, others get other people to do it like Thatcher did.
Thatcher and other right wing politicians gave substantial support and arms to countries like South Africa , Argentina, Chile and others so that they could kill their citizens without being hassled by people who complained about “Human rights”
Castro did indeed infringe human rights as did many other countries. But he also did positive things which the usual human rights abusers did not do.
What did the far right regimes in latin America so beloved of Thatcher and Reagan do for their citizens? Like Castro they killed their opponents ( in the case of right wing regimes through death squads)
But did they provide universal education, healthcare and social services free at the point of delivery? Something that not even the US has yet quite achieved, though we have had it in the UK for some time, despite the actions of Thatcher to stop such services to citizens.
Well did they? Nope not a bloody thing.
But idiots like you never understood that. Castro had a lot to answer for, but he also took a poverty struck island from the hands of a dictator and the mafia and gave the citizens a basic level of care. That deserves some praise.

catweazle666
Reply to  huntet
November 26, 2016 11:44 am

“you are obviously one of the political ignoramuses …”
No Gareth. That’s you actually, and all your traitorous Lefty mates.
Your Lefty friends such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler – yes, HE WAS A SOCIALIST, no matter what you lying lot claim – killed several orders of magnitude more than any other political or religious ideology that has ever been.
Margaret Thatcher rescued this country from the lunatic Left trade union thugs – motto: “We will bring the country to its knees” – and massively improved the exonomy for decades.
Unlike you lot, she was a true patriot.
Were you around in the 1960s and 1970s, terminating in the 1979 ‘Winter of Discontent’?
I very much doubt it.

Nigel S
Reply to  huntet
November 27, 2016 2:30 am

GP still cross about the result of the Cold War, thank God for Ronnie and Maggie.

Reply to  huntet
November 27, 2016 3:36 pm

Gareth once again illustrates just how far one can stretch reality in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable.

catweazle666
Reply to  Reality check
November 27, 2016 3:50 pm

Reality check: “Gareth once again illustrates just how far one can stretch reality in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable.”
That’s what Leftys do

joel
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
November 26, 2016 8:39 am

Let’s not forget Che!, his brutal colleague.
But, many people, mainly women, weeped when Stalin died.
People are crazy.

Yirgach
Reply to  joel
November 26, 2016 9:08 pm

All the brouhaha.
Fidel was just one of the more obvious.
Nothing to see here, move along.

Ross King
Reply to  Yirgach
November 26, 2016 9:21 pm

Fidel’s passing?
Buy a box of Kleenex, offer it to a bunch of women, and you’ll get weeping-to-order!

Bill Parsons
November 25, 2016 11:19 pm

Maybe they could get the total weight down for backpackers. Twenty-five pounds seems like a lot to carry.

Just an engineer
Reply to  Bill Parsons
November 26, 2016 2:17 pm

Just borrow some rocks at destination. 😉

Andyj
November 25, 2016 11:32 pm

Kenya is an oil rich state. This is proof of the adage about aid to Africa being a black hole for money and resources.
“Aid is all about taking money from poor people in rich nations and giving it to rich people in poor countries.”.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Andyj
November 26, 2016 3:19 am

Correct!

Reply to  Andyj
November 26, 2016 10:38 am

Andyj has made the best point. Mugabe gets the money the people get nothing. This is true of much of Africa. Western Socialists pay “Third World” Socialists and the workers of the world unite to pay for it.

Nigel S
Reply to  Andyj
November 27, 2016 2:34 am

So is Venezuela where they queue for toilet paper.

2hotel9
Reply to  Nigel S
November 27, 2016 4:54 am

Yes, that is precisely what happens when you let socialists have any power at all.

Alcheson
November 25, 2016 11:34 pm

God…. certainly hope none of the Progressives that run California get wind of this. We will be mandated to buy them to light our houses. They will probably also mandate improvements to be made to the gravity power generators to power all the appliances and water heaters in our house as well By 2050 your house will have to be 100% gravity powered our you will be paying a $20000 fee.

hunter
November 26, 2016 12:19 am

The climatocracy is less and less subtle in their arrogant and demeaning view of how those outside the climatocracy should live. The attitude expressed towards the poor by the climate obsessed deserves a third finger salute.

David Cage
November 26, 2016 12:30 am

I did better by modifying a foot pump to be a generator charging a conventional led lantern cheaply and readily available from camping stores in the same way the wind up ones work but foot power was capable of far greater capacity for less effort. I think it was 150 lumens as well ( I Cant’t be sure as the label print has worn off.)so it has a reasonable light level. The foot powered generator was made entirely from scrapped stuff and I saw enough for two fair sized villages in a single trip to the recycle centre.
I did wonder about modifying one of those stepper exerciser things so you could do it while sitting down in an arm chair but never got round to it.

huntet
Reply to  David Cage
November 26, 2016 12:44 am

Why should the Kenyans be trapped at the equivalent of the kerosene lamp? Are they less worthy of the liberation of high quality, high quantity power than us in the West? It seems to me that only a bigoted misanthrope would answer on the affirmative

Reply to  huntet
November 27, 2016 3:40 pm

There is something to be said for working one’s way up. Americans didn’t go from kerosene lamps to 24/7 power in a week or a month or a year. Starting at the bottom allows people to work up slowly and adjust. It’s not keeping them trapped—thought that may be the goal of the greens—it’s realistically letting them grow and learn and move up.

2hotel9
Reply to  Reality check
November 27, 2016 4:18 pm

Problem is the people of African countries should ALREADY have worked their way up to it. At the end of European Colonial rule most of them HAD productive industry and agriculture, they were already at and above the kerosene lamp level of technology.
I keep asking this question, been asking for 30 years, and never get an answer. How many times do you have to tell people to boil their drinking water, do not urinate/defecate in springs/creeks/rivers/lakes? What is the magic number? Apparently we haven’t reached it, we have been telling them these things for nearly 200 years.

Mike Borgelt
November 26, 2016 1:35 am

Great! Feelgood Green virtue signalling for techies.

November 26, 2016 2:09 am

will the world ever be rid of these crazy marxists ?
pheeeew i cant believe enough people have awaken
to give us another bite at the freedom apple

Eugene WR Gallun
November 26, 2016 2:43 am

Forrest Gardener — Remember Pet Rocks? When the fad passed stores were stuck with them. A little repackaging and they can clear their storerooms. Pet Rocks, now more than just a companion! They will bring light into your life! Etc, etc, etc.
Eugene WR Gallun

JohnKnight
Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
November 26, 2016 1:33 pm

(I’m not goin’ there . . ; )

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 26, 2016 2:54 am

Andyj’s remark about aid is taking money from poor people in rich countries to give to rich people in poor countries is sadly so true far too often and excellently phrased.
Can I just mention something to the gentleman who uses kerosene mantle lamps. Yes they are very bright indeed and surprisingly so compared to wick types, but this brightness is achieved by a reaction in the mantle using Thorium to achieve incandescence. In the process it seems that alpha particles are a by product. There are health warnings about not using them in confined spaces.
I am not advocating using kerosene if electricity can be provided, but kerosene heating is efficient in cold climes and for cooking kerosene stoves are far better for health than dung fires.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 26, 2016 12:23 pm

Modern gas mantles do not use thorium, but alternatives (that are at least a little less efficient) such as yttrium.

Eugene WR Gallun
November 26, 2016 3:38 am

Dammit, I will repeat what i said up top. WINDUP WATCHES! There is a fortune to be made. We can get Al Gore in for a piece of the pie. Next speech he gives he dramatically pauses halfway through — and winds up his watch! What an impact! Greenies will be falling over each other to purchase the new green status symbol! A WINDUP WATCH!! We can go weird — windup Mickey Mouse watches! Go high end — the windup Rolex! There is a fortune to be made here!
Eugene WR Gallun

Dean
November 26, 2016 3:58 am

Having worked a lot in very poor parts of Africa, think this is a pretty good idea, but wonder how people whose job is picking up gravel off the road and selling it to the guys making concrete blocks will be able to afford this.

Gamecock
November 26, 2016 5:38 am

A quick look at the interweb on how much these things cost. It appears you can’t buy them. You can only make donations to organizations that will buy and distribute them in Africa.
I smell a rat.
http://www.tecnoconect.org/product.php?whichKey=128#

JohnKnight
Reply to  Gamecock
November 26, 2016 4:41 pm

I smelled it too, I doubt you could give the things away in “first world” countries . .

Reply to  Gamecock
November 26, 2016 6:01 pm

They state target costs of 5$. This is affordable in africa and an equal price to a kerosene Lamp.
And best thing is to produce as much as possible of it in Africa.
To donate something is a dumb thing. Make things simple and cheap and people will buy it, if they agree to the idea.