Lumir K: Cooking Oil Powered LED Lamp

This is probably the closest you’ll see me to a commercial endorsement.

I can’t vouch for the veracity of any of this news release, but if it is true in terms of efficiency and cost, it certainly could improve the lives of millions living without electricity in the developing world.

The company representative sent a link where we would receive a commission on donations, but will not be posting it.

This is not a for profit post.  Again if this is all real, these people deserve all the funding.  Perhaps our readers can do some verification.

The following is essentially a slightly modified version of their press release~ctm

Screenshot 2019-06-08 15.52.24

Lumir K: Cooking Oil Powered LED Lamp

LUMIR K is the one and only cooking oil powered LED lamp that converts the thermal energy of cooking oil into electricity. Lumir K converts the small thermal energy of cooking oil into electricity and it turns on the bright LEDs. This amazing lantern will light up where you want and it make an impact on the world where it is needed.

Lumir K is an easy, accessible and sustainable solution for those who need a light.

Lumir K uses cooking oil to generate electricity.

Cooking oil is one of the cheapest and familiar ingredients as it is easily found from grocery stores in the city to tiny kiosk shops in a remote area.

Olive, canola and sunflower oil, it doesn’t matter what kind of cooking oil is. Without any batteries or external power supply, only with tiny flame which is as big as candle, Lumir K gives you an instant and 100 times brighter light.

Lumir K has brought the gaze of many design awards with its innovation and sustainability and it achieved CE and its core technology is patented.

Lumir K for Impact

Lumir has been resolving the light shortages and delivering the beauty of light.

Our journey started from a small but momentous experience during the trip to India, learning that there are so many places around the world suffering from unreliable or no electricity supply.

Among 1.2 billion who do not have access to electricity, most of them rely on kerosene lamps which is dark, harmful for health and the environment. Using kerosene lamps indoors has the same effect as smoking 40 cigarettes and the cost for fuel takes up even 30% of the household’s income.

That’s why we invented Lumir K as an effective solution for the light shortage issue.

In the case of kerosene lamps, only 10% of the energy from the fuel is used for illuminating because the flame itself is the direct light, and the rest, 90% of the energy is just scattered in the air as a heat.
However, Lumir K harnesses the wasted 90% of the heat energy to turn on the LEDs, so it is pretty economical as it provides a brighter light only with a small flame.

LUMIR K can be used anytime and anywhere while solar lamps has a big weather constraints in many areas like Indonesia where the average rainy days are more than 160 days.

After our first crowdfunding campaign, we became a partner of KOICA, Korean International Cooperation Agency, and Lumir K was piloted in Indonesia.

Lumir K provides 4.1 times brighter light than kerosene lamps, while its economic effect was also achieved with 80% lower fuel consumption compared to kerosene lamps. It also reduces carbon emissions by about 90%.

For every “Give” perks funded from the campaign, Lumir K will be distributed to power families in remote village in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Under a cooperation with government organization, Volunteer distribution trip is going to be in September and all the process will be shared via updates and newsletter!

If you support “Empower 100 families”, you can name a specific location you want to aid. Lumir will cover the shipping cost if the destination in one of the countries listed here. (Please note that you are responsible for applicable taxes and customs tariffs.) Or still you can pitch in supporting the village in Cambodia, 100 Lumir K you backed will be given out through our distribution trip

Key Features

Innovative

Lumir K harnesses the heat energy of a small flame which usually scattered into the air and generate electricity. Without any external power supply, it lights up LEDs which is almost 100 times brighter than a candle.

Easy to Use

Just placing the lamp over the lit wick will turn the LED light on.

Accessible

Olive, canola and palm oil, it doesn’t matter what kind of cooking oil is.

Efficient

Consumes only 5ml of oil for 1 hour of light

Instant light

No need of charging or battery, also it is weather independent unlike the solar products.

10-year life cycle

You can enjoy sustainable light of Lumir K for 10 years.

Make an Impact

Not only Lumir K comes in handy for users, also it provides the light of hope to those who without access to electricity in remote area. Your support will make the impact bigger.

About Lumir

Lumir is a social venture, resolving the light shortages and delivering the beauty of light.

With a goal to light up the world, team Lumir had a successful campaign with our first product, candle powered LED lamp.

Lumir promised to keep developing solutions for families in off-grid area and finally came back with Lumir K by improving efficiency and changing fuel as cooking oil.

Currently, Lumir is working with many organizations to bring the light to off-grid world, especially where solar products are limited to fully function due to the climates, like Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, etc.

CEO/Founder of Lumir Jehwan Park was listed as 30 under 30 Asia by Forbes

(https://www.forbes.com/profile/jehwan-park/#687fe33b732e)

Achievements

Winner of Asia Design Prize

Dyson Design Award

KGCCI innovation Awards (in Sustainability)

Hardware Cup 3rd Place

And many more…

Campaign on Indiegogo: Until 6 July

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/lumir-k-the-one-and-only-cooking-oil-led-lamp/x/10084318

Useful Links

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2ju36WFA5cwa8dmdZ-8mtA/

Website: https://www.lumir.co.kr/

Download Photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jjuwso0c3mjpu7w/AACA5LzyxOk6hK2ClHIclBsVa?dl=0

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lumirlight

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lumirlight/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lumirlight

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136 thoughts on “Lumir K: Cooking Oil Powered LED Lamp

  1. Gee, why didn’t I think of that? It’s so simple a concept! A thermocouple produces enough current to light an LED!
    I need some of those and some citronella oil for my patio.

    • A thermocouple is less efficient than the 10% they say is the efficiency of just burning oil to produce light. link

      I suppose you could burn the oil to get some light and harvest the waste heat to get more light. Anyway, some actual engineering data would be nice for evaluating the claims.

        • Ellen,

          I’m doubting this. Supplying filament power alone would be a herculean task, let alone developing the necessary “B+” or plate voltage.

          Likely these “radios” were supplying headsets, not “loud speakers” too.

          Not having seen what you’re seeing, its also possible it was a very early, very simple transistor set, again using an earphone or high efficiency headset. It may also have been a very early “regenerative receiver” transistor set.

        • I have seen one of the Russian Thermocouple units designed to sit on top of a kerosene lantern and generate power for a radio. It used to hang in a laboratory in the Auckland (New Zealand) University Engineering School in the early 1970s. I looked for it in later years but it had gone. Years before that I read of them (possibly in Popular Electronics or similar). They probably provided B battery supply (around 45V was enough in some sets) and they MAY have used tubes with series chained filaments also running from the B battery supply – sometimes done in portable sets.

          • I do recall an apparatus in the 1967-68 (thereabouts) World Book Encyclopedia that was comprised of a number (>20) of thermocouple junctions that was supposed to be fitted to a candle; I don’t recall what it was being used for, nor what the output capabilities were.

            I’m still doubting this tubed-radio thing built by the Russians and claimed to be candle powered; I’ve been around radio all my life (professionally and as a ham radio operator) and I don’t recall ever seeing this in any of the pubs (publications) save for the WBE entry.

      • From Engineeringtoolbox.com, vegetable oil combustion generates 920 W-hr per liter. This light is supposed to use 5 ml/hr of oil, so that would be 4.6 W thermal. TEGs are 5% to 8% efficient. Assuming the higher value, that’s 0.37 W of electric power. LEDs produce from 60 to over 200 lumens/W, so it would be possible to get from 22 to 74 lumens net. Those little keychain LED flashlights put out 10 lumens, so this could operate 2 to 7 of those. They’re pretty bright, and would make the lower right picture above (the kids reading) feasible. So yeah, this doesn’t sound inane.

      • True, a single thermocouple is not very efficient, so you stack them. The heat from the fire is fixed and you extend it to as much thermocouple material as possible. More volts and/or amps is more power output; probably enough to store so light continues ‘after the fire is gone’.

    • “Using kerosene lamps indoors has the same effect as smoking 40 cigarettes”

      Poppycock. If you use it wrong and it ours out black smoke, yeah, it’s bad. But properly wicked and adjusted it is equivalent to no cigarettes as all. Why do people make stuff up and then pretend its fact?

      If you have to lie to get what you want, then you probably do not deserve it in the first place.

      • In developing country use kerosene is a far lower particulate source than traditional solid fuels. A smoking lantern is of course a high emitter of carbon particulates, but it is well established from numerous scientific studies that Kerosene lamps, even with a “well trimmed” lamp, are a source of fine carbon particulates, causing “hut lung” and also posing a significant burn and fire hazard. [I have a friend whose throat and upper chest is severely scarred from a childhood kerosene lamp fire in Fiji]. FWIW – the output specs of this device seem to be “about right”.

    • I have one of these I use camping. They generate a huge amount of unused heat. Great for heating. Mine also can run on any combustible solid (twigs, charcoal) as well.
      Outdoors, with great ventilation, there is no issue. With indoor use, where do the combustion vapors vent? CO (carbon monoxide) will be the next big issue as they leave the lights on when they fall asleep.

      • I’ve built a similar device.. a peltier heat circuit, hung it on a ‘joule thief’ circuit (based on one of the new Chinese 5252 chips which boost minute voltages up to many volts) and here’s the kicker for me – instead of the up-to-10 uH recommended coil, I used a 300uH coil and have got some silly large outputs from these things so I’ve been making them and giving them away to inspire folks to think ..

        Another variant is my little ‘forever torch’ . 15 years back I made a joule thief torch with the intention of using up all the many half dead AA and AAA batteries I had lying about.. hmmm. 15 years on I still had the same AA battery in it, still used infrequently, still putting out light.. But now armed with an oscilloscope after all these years of yearning, access to cheap EBay electronics (my hasn’t the world changed) and time, I’ve been able to crank out dozens of my Forever Torch(es) for friends…

        The best simple design to date has resulted in a single “flat” AA battery driving a white LED for 24 hours a day non-stop for solid 28 days at full brightness. (by flat I mean a AA that only measured 1v after use in another device before that device, a torch, powered down due to inadequate power). There’s no magic to it, it’s just a clever 4 pin chip, a coil, a warm yellow LED and away you go. My hope is in making these and giving them away it’ll make folk think more about efficiency and stop thinking that some radical tech or Grand Leader will come ‘save us’.

        • I like your ideas. We need practical, useful solutions, not government mandates of nearly useless “energy saving” devices someone’s uncle get rich off of after the mandate. Sounds like you’re having fun and educating. It doesn’t get any better than that!

        • high intensity pulses are perceived as brighter than lower intensity continuous
          so there are ALL THE OPTIMIZATIONS in a very tiny package.
          elegance.

          • Yes a single pulse is easier to spot than a continuous light. However, if the light is flashing so fast as to appear to many people to be continuous then it doesn’t make a difference … except to those like me who see these damned silly flashing lights as a series of dots … and driving in traffic becomes a nightmare as I keep getting distracted by the lights some idiot designer thought everyone would see as “continuous”.

        • A modern Alkaline Aa cell has about 3000 mAh capacity. If a “flat one” has 10% capacity left = say 300 mAh then at 1V that’s 300 mWh. Running for 24 hours x 28 days =~ 670 hours. Thus averag power = 300/670 ~= 0.5 milliWatt. A top efficiency LED will give around 200 l/W so you’d get around 0.1 lumen output. Running as a pulsed output at say 1% duty cycle you’d get 10 lumen flashes at 1% duty cycle – certainly enough to act as an indicator or draw attention although not very useful for illumination. Use the battery from new and you’d get ten times as much output over the same period.

    • Seebeck effect is basically reverse Peltier.

      But how were the thrmoelectric converters and LEDs manufactured? What happens when the strontium, europium gallium, etc, phosphors or some other components fail? What about the bismuth, lead and tellerium and other metals in the thermoelectric generator fail? Is there a system in place to recycle all of these materials? Is there a full life cycle accounting of the manufacture of this device and the fuel?

      Making the claim of sustainability is not easily defended. It’s somewhat analogous to the claims that PV panels or sustainable.

      • Depends on how they make the TE devices. You don’t necessarily need exotic materials, just the right metals. They’ll last pretty much forever anyways.

      • you get a new one because the parts cost pennies and that’s more than your concern is worth.
        used cooking oil is a waste product, btw.

      • They claim 10 year life for the TEG – which presumably/hopefully is based on a datasheet spec. They state 50,000 hour lifetime for the LEDs. At say 5 hours/day x 365 days x 10 years that’s under 20,000 hours of operation. A 50kh lifetime is a reasonable claim for a modern silicone lensed LED. The typical epoxy bodied ones of previous years that claimed 100,000 hour lifetimes were high by a factor of 10 in all but the very best examples. [At one stage Nichia made the ONLY epxoy cased LED with a lifetime in excess of 10,000 hours. ]

        • you have not fully qualified your proposition
          junction temperature matters
          if you run your led at max rating it dies sooner
          if you run it at half power you can get 100,000 hours or more
          all theory and no testing makes your contentions specious and wrong.
          a joule thief may have 50 kHz frequency – that’s way beyond visual persistence -you are not gonna see flashes – you will perceive what you do when you do it and it’s not what your lovely wrong model tells you.
          test – don’t guess. find out what’s true before you go telling people what is true.

  2. I grew up, like a number of people of my age, without mains supply of anything. The one legacy it left me with is I hate working in the gloom, I have to ne in a well lit room. My childhood would have been so much better with something like this rather than candles and oil lamps.

    • I don’t know where you live (or shop), but…

      Vegetable oil, one gallon, at Walmart, $4.86.

      Kerosene, one gallon, at Walmart, $21.08 (four quarts at $5.27 each).

      • No idea what kind of kerosene that is but around here it is about $3.60 a gallon at a pump at the gas station (they sell gasoline, diesel, and kerosene at pumps).

        • I remember when that was common; every gas station sold it. Nowadays (my area), I think the closest “bulk” source is around a ten mile round trip to the station that serves a lot of campers and RV owners. (So is Walmart, but that wouldn’t be a single item trip.)

          I have two kerosene lamps, inherited from my parents – I’ve never broken them out in Tucson (wicks are probably shot, anyway). I don’t think we’ve had more than ten hours total of power outages a year, in all the years we’ve lived in this house – and nothing long enough that we worry about the Kindle or cell phones losing their charges.

          A thought, though – the third world places they are planning to send these to, the relative prices will be nothing like they are in any part of the first world. Cooking oils are probably much more locally produced than any refined petroleum product.

      • Kerosene at Amazon is $21 per gallon
        Crisco is $12 per gallon
        And Olive Oil is around $32 per gallon $8 per quart

        • Kerosene from Amazon?!? Walmart?!? You know Diesel is the same exact thing, except with a color additive and a road use tax. Plus if you look around, there are actually Kerosene pumps at some gas stations where you can fill up fuel cans (big big fine if you’re caught running it in your diesel truck). And diesel is averaging about 3.14 a gal in the US right now…

          • They are both distillate fractions but they are not the same. Fundamentally, they are of different molecular weight ranges. Kerosene is lighter and diesel is heavier. Kerosene has a lower tendency to soot in a flame among a number of other different properties.

            Kereosene is more like jet fuel and has a lower freeze point, which is important so that fuel lines don’t freeze up at altitude. In fact in winter, diesel trucks in northern latitudes may also burn kerosene.

          • I cut summer diesel in the fall with 10%-15% kerosene to winter proof it down to -40 so don’t wax up the filters and cause a headache when is difficult and time consuming in cold weather to keep the fuel lines flowing. That is really what winter diesel is, just as #2 heating/furnace oil is mostly summer diesel with red dye in it. But it is cheaper to just purchase winter diesel fuel early in the season if possible…since kerosene around here seems to be always higher priced than diesel. Since most everything I have is diesel like my Millar 400 Amp welder and a Jeep Grand Cherokee, (3.0 Mercedes V6), it seems every start of winter I still have some diesel engines with summer fuel in the tank.

          • As Earthling2 said, diesel motor fuel is (more or less) interchangeable with heating oil (except for the legal implications), but not with kerosene.

            I think kerosene and jet fuel (“Jet A”) are more or less interchangeable, too.

            My guess is that Jet A might be made to tighter specs, because it matters more if your airplane sputters than if your kerosene heater or lamp sputters.

          • Diesel and heating oil are identical. Kerosene has less of the longer chain hydrocarbons and more shorter ones.

            Hydrocarbons (paraffins) have the formula CxH(2x+2)

            Kerosene is highly variable between countries but for demonstration it is typically C9H20 to C20H42. Diesel is typically C16H34 to C22H46. By changing the ratio of the different hydrocarbon chain lengths the viscosity can be managed at will.

            In some countries the kerosene destined for domestic use is often heavier on the long end to reduce the tendency to evaporate. Wick stoves and wick lanterns are less susceptible to explode with that blend.

            Jet A (aircraft fuel) is kerosene with anti-freeze added. All these fuels will burn well in a diesel engines, though usually blended 50:50 with diesel to hide the fact.

        • You don’t buy kerosene from Amazon except for fancy lamps or something. You get it from the K1 pump at a filling station.

        • All the more reason people should NOT buy anything from Amazon! How do you think they pay for all of that ‘FREE SHIPPING’? They have to be about the most expensive place to buy ANYTHING, these days. Shp around!

    • Can’t used cooking oil be used? In the UK McDonald’s is one of many companies using used cooking oil to fuel delivery trucks.

    • Yes it is. This is a really dumb thing. Kerosene or diesel fuel is cheaper than cooking oil. Burning food is dumb. Even jet-A is cheaper than cooking oil.

    • If it isn’t already, it will be when there’s a sudden increase in demand. Damn economics…

    • price for Kerosene in rural africa is about 1/3 higher in rural areas with no electricty
      than in urban areas. so you really need to study the actual market where these things get delivered

      googling prices at amazon or arguing from your own experience, aint market research

      • And it sounds like availability in the areas they want to light up is an issue.
        Besides, it sounds like it would also work with kerosene yet provide more light than a kerosene lamp.
        (Maybe they can develop one that would even work with a wax candle? What it needs is a flame.)

    • “Consumes only 5ml of oil for 1 hour of light” and used oil at that

      I don’t think cost is an issue

    • In Indonesia, for example, both are produced in large quantities and inexpensively. The naysayers are missing the point when talking of either being expensive. The cost is in the supply chain. It’s safe to assume that cooking oil is readily available, so converting some used cooking oil to light is not an economic issue. Once the sun goes down, a bit of extra heat can be welcome as well.

  3. I just picked a country at random — Cameroon in Africa. A liter of diesel fuel costs less than a liter of cooking oil.

    • If you compare the price of diesel fuel at the pump and palm oil at the supermarket for say, Indonesia, diesel is slightly cheaper. But the low-grade palm oil sold in markets is a good deal cheaper than then the highly refined oil in supermarkets. And there’s a large amount of used frying oil that should be suitable for combustion.

  4. A small Stirling engine generator powered by a candle would be just as effective and cheaper than burning cooking oil.

    • A thermopile (stack of thermocouples) is much cheaper to build. Very accurate thermopiles are in the heart of most calorimeters. This one just needs to be ok, so the materials would be inexpensive. No moving parts.

  5. My son and daughter-in-law gave me a hurricane lamp that also runs a radio, an excellent birthday present. I guess this is a more efficient version.

  6. “Lumir K uses a phenomenon known as the Seebeck Effect. The Seebeck Effect is the conversion of heat directly into electricity at the junction of different type of semi-conductor. When there are temperature difference between the joints, the electron energy levels in each metal shifted differently and a voltage difference between the junctions created an electrical current. So that’s how we can turn on the LED only with the heat of the cooking oil. Also since the cooking oil is not a stable heat source, we had to stablize the thermoelectricity. By our patented technology, we could stabilizes the electrical power and makes it possible to operate by small flame without flickering. The heat from the flame rises into the heatsink, where the temperature difference occurs. Then it generates thermoelectricity which is the power for the LEDs at the top. Right above the heatsink, there is a main tube like chimney which makes proper airs to flow to support combustion.

    • Assuming the lamp is working that way, I would suggest having the “oil lamp” producing >5V with a USB plug. This way you can attach LED lamp, charge mobile phone, etc. and place the “oil lamp” in a room where there not so many people to sniff the combustion.

      • My Welsbach lamp is quite odor free when high quality fuel is used. It runs at incandescent temperatures.

    • The best common thermoelectric generators are only about 6% efficient (output electricity/input thermal power). LEDs are over 50% in electricity to visible light, so about 3% of the oil energy is able to be obtained in the light. However, oil flames are only about 2% in converting oil energy to visible light. Adding the oil light plus LED light gives about 5% total visible light from the oil burning energy. This is about 2.5X the oil light alone. Also the LED light can be focused to a concentrated area, to increase local brightness. Their claim seems plausible.

      • Any guess how the efficiency compares with mantle type kerosene lanterns which have been around forever and produce a lot of light (and a lot of heat) and can be a bit of a burn/fire hazard?

      • Leornard Weinstein:
        “Adding the oil light plus LED light gives about 5% total visible light from the oil burning energy.”

        An observation…looking at the video and still pictures, it appears the oil flame is obscured behind the lamp shielding. I doubt it adds to the overall light output.

    • The flame temperature of cooking oil should be around 1,000 C (1,800 F). For Type K thermocouple wire, a hot junction temperature of 1,000 C and a cold junction temperature of 25 C would generate 40 mV. The number of junctions per volt would then be 25. With 30 AWG wire, that would amount to 0.25 inches/V stack height (i.e. junctions wired in series for a thermopile). At the outside, an LED would require 3 V, so the whole thermoelectric section would be 0.75 inches high. Again, totally feasible.

      Also, as the the cooking oil cost, used cooking oil is free. It is going to be thrown away, which is a zero return proposition. The more I look at this, the better it looks.

  7. The Russians had a device that goes over a paraffin lamp and provided power for valve radios. Wish I had got one when they were available!

  8. I had the privilege of growing up in the Far East, a good part of that in the less accessible parts of Indonesia. Then as an adult worked in the southern parts of Africa. This would improve the quality of life in those places drastically, in ways most in the more developed world couldn’t imagine. Only a reliable source of clean drinking water would do more

    • I have a quite long experience with Indonesia too – and not even the most poor and remote parts, and I second that.

  9. Is there a means of acquiring one or more of these items for testing? A ‘beta test’ and report out by several of our WUWT experts could validate (or refute) their claims. A valid independent test series would stimulate me to contribute to this endeavor.

    • Dunno why Lumir K is getting all this free publicity? Biolite has had a backpacking stove since 2012 that generates electricity to charge USB powered devices. It uses anything that burns, not solely cooking oil.

      • for the proposed application, the question is also one of cost and effectiveness. See e.g. skeptical review: https://andrewskurka.com/biolite-campstove-review/

        I see we could send the poor to LL Bean to get a biolite stove set for $199 although Amazon has the biolite stove for only $49. still expensive by third world standards (as is the lumair K at $34 in the first world).

        You can get a heck of a lot of lithium lamp for like a tenth of that whether you have enough sun to recharge or not, nevermind various kinetic recharging devices, and they have these things called batteries which are also pretty cheap. So I balance the brilliance of this little bit against the inevitable “send your fondue sets to Namibia” approach that would have all of us essentially buying stock in this company but not actually getting a share. Nice work if you can get it.

        So I’m interested because cooking oil is commonly available, already found in third world kitchens and this makes it more multi-purpose. And it will drive the greens absolutely buggy if you put palm oil in the thing, so that is a positive. If the technology is robust and it does run trouble free for 10 years, might be a smart thing. In the end, I would think some moderating battery and solar capacity could expand versatility. There is an essential simplicity to it but I don’t see how you can have something like this without input and output anyway to charge cell phone, for instance.

        Likewise I would think a biolite with ramped up electrical capability would be serious alternative. It appears the eletricity is also necessary for a fan to aid combustion and i’m not clear if you unplug that fan when used the charge or it can do both. It does appear they are designed to burn biomass relatively efficiently as long as you aren’t using wet fuel. It doesn’t appear that the biolites are designed for liquid fuels, whether food oil or traditional kerosene or alcohol. Of course it could compromise its capabilities for the original fuel. Nothing’s perfect.

  10. Great idea.

    a better idea is the solar powered LED light with phone charger sold commercially throughout Africa and Asia. Multiple charities make these available to local sellers at low rates…

    One example
    https://solar-aid.org/

    • Griff wrote: “a better idea is the solar powered LED light”

      Didn’t you read this part, Griff?

      “LUMIR K can be used anytime and anywhere while solar lamps has a big weather constraints in many areas like Indonesia where the average rainy days are more than 160 days.”

      end excerpt

      • Griff doesn’t read the articles, just comments on the headline in order to insert his propaganda talking points..

    • How is a solar powered LED better? Oh, I remember, they are to sun worshippers…..

      You know we can have multiple ideas that are good and workable. No, probably not……

      • It reminds me of the National Lampoon parody issue of The Whole Earth Catalog, where, in addition to other things, they advertised a solar-powered sunlamp! It would give one a natural-looking suntan, but only while the actual sun was shining.

        Another hoot from that issue was “Earth Tires.” These were a parody of “Earth Shoes,” an actual short-lived fad of shoes whose toes were elevated above the heels (giving one a sense of perpetually climbing a hill). Just as Earth Shoe ads had a complicated explanation as to why they were superior to ordinary shoes, the Earth Tires ad offered (and I paraphrase from memory) “Ordinary tires are precariously balanced on a single point, making them terrifyingly unstable. But Earth Tires [which are square, instead of round] offer a broad, stable contact surface with the earth. No chance of rolling away uncontrollably!”

    • Griff, the solar light would be good in the sunnier climes and less of a fuss than the oil type, for sure. Probably upfront cost of the solar unit means it pretty well has to be subsidized heavily to be affordable.

    • Despite the general derision, solar powered lights can be a good choice in many cases, even in inclement weather conditions. I am by no means wedded to solar – but have played a large part in the design and manufacture of 300,000+ solar portable lights. | The Lumir-K is priced at $34 in the funding campaign but hopefully costs a small fraction of that in practice. The claimed 100 lumen output indicates a 0.5 to 1 Watt power level – available from a TEg that costs a few dollars on ebay or AliExpress and no doubt somewhat less in volume. The LEDs cost under $1 and the rest is metalwork. A manufactured cost of $5 seems likely and $10 would be an upper limit. | Someone suggested Indonesia as unsuitably rainy . It is however, “sunnier than some places” This gaisma page https://www.gaisma.com/en/location/jakarta.html for Jakarta (which I chose as more liable to be smog affected than most of Indonesia) has more than 4 hours of full-sun-equivalent in the least sunny month and about 18 wet days in the wettest month (December). A properly designed solar system will work in overcast but bright conditions. Assume 1/2 the insolation that’s available on average in December 4.45hours/2 = 2.22 hours) and assume that 1/2 the energy available from a solar panel is ultimately available for lighting. So to get say 4 hours of light at 100 lumens at 200 l/W (top class LEDs) we need 2 Watt hours of LED power [[I doubt that the Lumir-K lights are delivering more than about 50 lumen to the illuminated surface, but lets assume they are delivering the claimed 100 lumen]. Based on the above assumptions we need about a 2 Watt solar panel. I can source 3 Watt panels with a 20 year+ lifetime (really) for $3.25 in 1000’s FOB China and 5W for $4.10. | A high quality LiIon battery that can store 3 or 4 days of energy (4 hours/day) with a lifetime of 5+ years costs around $3.50 in volume. Or use a LiFePO4 battery at about the same cost with somewhat less capacity and better lifetime.
      Control electronics – not much. Housing – whatever. For $10 – $15 cost one can make a solar powered light that almost always works (Krakatoa East of Java excepted maybe), gives a really useful amount of light and has a say 10 year lifetime. Share a 10 Watt panel among several house. … . Or lower cost and spec.
      Solar has its place.

      Russell McMahon

    • Not necessarily. Some stuff that gets high up in the Dyson Awards are not necessarily legit. For instance the “Fontus” solar powered water from air device was a finalist in 2014.

      Turned out to be a complete fraud and all the seed money was spent with no product developed (can’t beat the laws of thermodynamics).

      Often, awards like the Dyson Awards are for the “industrial design” aspects and not necessarily whether the product actually works.

      That’s not to say that this product won’t work. It appears that it would. One would also imagine that using used cooking oil would be the primary use case, rather than burning perfectly good food grade oil.

      Would be interesting to see some more data on efficiency and cost of production. Won’t be much good if it costs $100 to buy one.

      • Thunderfoot on UTube had a couple of devastating videos that completely debunked that Fontus thing pretty early on.

  11. i like the sound of it and I d buy a few for my place too if they were available/affordable.

  12. If it is true – that I do not think so – they do not need no external support.
    This is a commercial product. They sell it and get enough Cashflow to expand.
    If it works.
    So, please, do not fund these additionally!

      • I understand enough of physics.
        This “device” is a simple thermoelectric pair, using may be 1% of the power for a tiny electric power generation. For illumination, a simple candle is a way cheaper and more efficient.

  13. My diesel powered Welsbach mantel lamp becomes even more valuable with Lumir K extending LED light into adjacent rooms. The Aladdin lamp provides 60W/100W with booster of light and waste heat to light Lumir K.

  14. If I can buy one and test it, and it works, I’ll consider giving them more money to give units away to the needy.
    If I can’t buy one and test it, I smell a rat.

    • $35 from Geeky Gadgets. I suspect repackaged for Westerners and consumer safety.

      • No, you can’t buy one right now. If they get a shippable unit together, your $35 will entitle you to one, in September, or whenever they are finished.
        I’ll happily believe it works as advertised when I can see it work as advertised firsthand.

    • If it is indeed Seebeck Effect then there is no reason that it couldn’t be ‘horsepowered’.

  15. Someone needs to concept a coal powered version. Run it catalytically on powdered anthracite.
    Lumir-Coal…
    Post a YouTube video.
    Make Green heads explode.

  16. This looks cool, and yes I want one even though it’d likely see use only in emergency/power failure situations. Although it seems safe enough, I wonder what would happen if it tips over or falls to the ground? Is the flame safely contained with no oil leaking?

  17. Lumir K uses a thermoelectric generator. Russia had a thermocouple version of this in the 1950’s, so this isn’t such a new idea, just better implemented.

    We Americans should be careful who we help. We believe if we help someone, they will accept and maybe even like us and become an ally. But if the target society embraced a religion that says any non-believers must be killed, it won’t matter what we do.

    IMO, India would be OK, but we need to be selective.

  18. I would think for western use a simple paraffin candle would be a similar heat source and less mess.

    • That’s a good idea, someone can attach a TEG and LED to a candle.

      Personally, where I live most of the electricity is generated at plants miles away that combust fossil fuels. I get light by flicking a switch. When I don’t need it, I flick the switch off. No fuss, no mess.

  19. I recall seeing a naphtha powered mantle lantern (i.e. white gas Coleman lantern) that had a series of thermocouples that charged an internal L-ion battery which had a few 5V USB port so as could charge phones/tablets or wire in small LED’s where you need/want electric light. Not sure if it was a real prototype or a Popular Science concept project. A mass roll out of this tech for cheap would be great for the 3rd world. I have been to villages in SE Asia or Central America where there is no electric lights, save maybe for a kerosene or naphtha style lamp for an entire family. While these folks may never be able to afford electricity even if it was available, it would be good to solve the problem for some basic electric lighting and charging radio’s and cell phones. That would be a real good start and maybe the kids will do better in school if they can see to do their homework.

  20. One thing not mentioned – vegi oils don’t burn clean. Fairly smokey and they leave behind gummy substances that would rapidly clog the works. Even if this does work, I would suspect it would be better to use the kerosene to run the system than vegi oil.

  21. I am not well versed on anything mechanical or technical. That is why I enjoy reading all the comments from people who are. It tells me that if only a fraction of all the money spent on wind and solar subsidies was given to research, great things would happen. I keep hoping common sense will prevail at the cost of corruption.
    I keep on praying……………………

  22. The gas fire in my living room contains a thermoelectic powered sensor that ‘holds on’ the gas supply as long as the thermocouple is hot. If the gas supply is cut, or the flame goes out for some reason, the gas solenoid shuts under spring pressure.

    It is a tried and tested way of generating small amounts of power.

    Not sure why there are so many doubters here!

    The hard part will be to get the design right to enable cheap and efficient production.

  23. I wonder if filtered bacon grease could be used. We discard a lot of that around here…

  24. If they are cheap enough, I might consider buying a few and competing with my gouging electricity supplier in Ontario, Canada.

  25. You might want to wash the salt out of your bacon grease rather than just filter it. Mom used to do that to get lard for pie crust back in the day. Warm grease to liquid, mix 1:1 with clean water, allow to separate, drain off water, repeat at least 3 times, or until the grease(now purified lard) is no longer salty or bacon flavored. Unless you like bacon flavored pie crust. Ask me how I know. 🙂

  26. actually would like to have some on hand here for winter use. freq power outages and often only need light so generator is waste. had looked at some similar items but the brightness was issue making it not worth it.
    maybe this will work better.
    time will tell.

    • Too bright, or not bright enough? See my comments above about my Aladdin Welsbach mantel lamp. It’s as bright as a Coleman Lantern™ on diesel / kerosene. I use it during extended power outages and could conceivably heat my cabin with it. I keep 5 gallons of lamp oil in the garage and the car and tractor are diesel powered.

      • not bright enough, did look at coleman but the total light cast was not enough. rather than a small bright focused beam need a wider less focused beam. have not spent lot of time looking into it as when power is out 75% of the time heat itself (as well as water pump) is issue but there are times I could use a “large glow” light that does not use kero/naptha fuel

  27. “Lumir K gives you an instant and 100 times brighter light.”

    How are you defining brightness? I can look directly at an LED light and nearly be blinded, but it won’t illuminate a room much better than a flame will, which I can look directly at. This sounds like somebody trying to make a career for themselves. These things cost $80 on Kickstarter.

  28. This link
    http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2011/ph240/machala1/
    has some very useful numbers for the relative performane of kerosene lamps, lamps with mantles, cfl and led sources.
    Obviously if you have something you can set fire to (such as bits of trees or even dried dung ) which costs you nothing that is cheap light, but likely to be low lux and have associated dangers.
    If you just look at lumens per watt LED source is a clear winner but you need a source of electricity. Solar PV is free but with high capital cost and you need to store it. A hand (or foot!) cranked generator is likely to be cheaper than a solar cell and can be run anytime you need it. Disadvantage is you need a battery to store electric so adding to the capital cost.
    So in conclusion I like the LEDs (efficent lumens/watt), like the unit IF it runs off free fuel (waste cooking oil). But suspect that a simple hand operated generator and battery pack would be of comparable, if not cheaper, capital cost and would be pollution free.

  29. I watched a video on a YouTube channel called “Smarter Every Day” where the host, Dustin from Huntsville Alabama tested something similar. Only it didn’t need any fuel. It used a weight to turn a flywheel which turned a small generator (a dc motor) which lit the LED. It worked like an old grandfather clock, and the weight has to be raised about twice an hour. This seems to be a much better idea than burning food.

    • I like this comment on a (nearly) mechanical system to do the job. It’s GENIUS! It requires NO additional fuel source ever, and it works night or day, rain or shine. Of course a mechanical system will wear out or break eventually, but could be engineered for a very long life. A Seebeck or solar system with no moving parts could last much longer but there are advantages to going a pure “potential energy” route. You could assign or hire others to lift the weight. The rope/cable and weight (basket of rocks?) could be locally sourced. You would just need a hook, the gearbox/generator, and the LED. It’s even customizable. If you don’t want to hoist the weight as often you could put the generator higher, maybe even up a tree.

      The analysis of a 3 watt solar/battery system was pretty on the mark too. It would be interesting to compare the energy and material costs to manufacture each, although I suspect the mechanical system might fare well.

  30. The Lumir K lamp costs $34. It seems to me a pretty expensive thing to buy for millions of people. Better to have some sort of DIY lamp they can make out of materials they have lying around.

  31. Lumir K lamp costs $34. It seems to me a pretty expensive thing to buy for millions (billions?) of people. Better would be a DIY lamp that could be made of material they have lying around.

  32. Completely doable but the problem is that these people *don’t have waste cooking oil* because the oil is also eaten as part of their diet.

    A solution without a problem. A weight based generator or a spring wind-up is 30x more useful and highly recyclable without the hazards of fire, carbon monoxide and asthma inducing soot.

    These people deserve NO money and the article should be removed. We’ve had far better solutions for THIRTY YEARS.

  33. Well, we are making real progress with adding fire as the source of energy. Much better than the Gravity Light, which was a sack of rocks weighing about 25 pounds, and you just had to hang up this bag of rocks vertically and it took 20 minutes for it to fall down while it generated less than 1/10 watt of power to make 15 Lum LED light. But someone had to lift up the bag of rocks every 20 minutes. I doubt the Gravity Light caught on. The spring loaded wind-up multi purpose clock/radio/light is a much better concept, especially if it had a mini detachable solar panel plug in and a LED battery with some low output 5 VDC USB ports to charge a cell phone. That would definitely be better than nothing.

    • False advertising. The charge device inside wears out quickly and the magnets used on the generator are of incredibly poor quality.

      I’ve seen those “be visible” for 30 minutes but you couldn’t read lit birthday number candles from the light they put out.

  34. Sorry.
    Sounds like what they are doing is generating a small amount of electricity (from combustion and Peltier effect) to drive some LEDs, which then provide light efficiently. High capital cost for over-elaborate electricity generation.

    How about just buying one of those camping lights that you can power by hand-cranking a spring which can drive the LEDs, which then provide light efficiently in the same way?

    There was a “Radio for Africa” marketed in the same way some years ago. It stored the small amount of required energy in a spring, very efficiently. The same way watchmakers have done for centuries.

    As with most, if not all, green schemes, this fails at the first hurdle when compared to what is already available. Greens are easily impressed by many technologies, because they stopped studying the right subjects before they left high school.

  35. The creation of electronically-tuned spectra spectra from apparently lower order kinetic EMF is a subject in itself. Possibly of great interest to all who, like myself, wish to improve our understanding of how atmospheres handle solar inputs. Just like the Plant Kingdom that I once specialised in, these things are ‘walking’ Physics lessons…….. Brett Keane

  36. It reminds me of the National Lampoon parody issue of The Whole Earth Catalog, where, in addition to other things, they advertised a solar-powered sunlamp! It would give one a natural-looking suntan, but only while the actual sun was shining.

    Another hoot from that issue was “Earth Tires.” These were a parody of “Earth Shoes,” an actual short-lived fad of shoes whose toes were elevated above the heels (giving one a sense of perpetually climbing a hill). Just as Earth Shoe ads had a complicated explanation as to why they were superior to ordinary shoes, the Earth Tires ad offered (and I paraphrase from memory) “Ordinary tires are precariously balanced on a single point, making them terrifyingly unstable. But Earth Tires [which are square, instead of round] offer a broad, stable contact surface with the earth. No chance of rolling away uncontrollably!”

  37. I have a problem with the way the charity is done as described here. Better plan:
    1) Go on “Shark Tank” with the compelling story.
    2) Get $100K from one of the sharks to fund mass production.
    3) Sell them for $19.99 and give 10% to non-profit buying them for 3rd world.
    I’d buy three as a prep.

  38. “▶10-year life cycle

    You can enjoy sustainable light of Lumir K for 10 years.”

    I find this claim highly questionable. 10 years is a lot of open flame combustion products being passed over the Peltier Junction. I would guess that even a small amount of soot and other deposits will rapidly degrade the efficiency of the lamp. I have actually used glass tower kerosene lamps a fair amount of the years; the glass requires pretty frequent cleaning. Cleaning would be a key long term performance issue. Note that the video shows the lamp being fueled with new oil. My guess is that anyone who really wants to use this is some developing country is going to use old oil…exacerbating the soot deposit problem.

    From the previously posted link, http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2011/ph240/machala1/, which discusses the efficiency and economics of various lamps, it appears that the economics of such a lamp would be questionable. If the user cost is anywhere near $30…it has to compete with oil lamps with a cost of perhaps $1. Even with a lousy payback of 3%, you could buy a new oil lamp every year (.03 x $30 = $0.9). I would assume that the answer will be…”oh it will be free…” Right (ie UN printed money). The cost savings in oil could be a key factor due to the higher efficiency (assuming good real world performance over several years).

    I’d need to see at least a years worth of real world usage before giving this device much credibility. My observation is that there have been a lot of ideas that look great in the lab, or a western style camping trip, but don’t really work well in third world environments. How many solar powered this or that, or special pumps, or special cook stoves, or special tents actually passed the reality test and were widely adopted in third world countries?

  39. Lumir K sounds interesting. At its heart, there is likely an LED light and a thermoelectric generator, a semiconductor material that converts heat into electricity. Such materials are still limited by the Carnot efficiency: (T2-T1)/T2, where T2 is the temperature of the semiconductor heated by the flame and T1 is temperature on the other side of the semiconductor. According to Wikipedia, the best materials are only 5-8% efficient. ASSUMING it is coupled with an LED that is 25% efficient at converting electricity to light, the overall efficiency would be 1-2%. Lifetime in real world use is an obvious concern. (However, other mechanisms may be possible.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_generator

    By way of comparison, an incandescent electric light bulb heats a filament to several thousand degK and convert 2-3.5% of the input power into visible light. The flame of a candle reaches only about 1000 K and emits visible light with an efficiency 0.04%. If this information is correct, this device might be 50 times more efficient than burning the oil to produce light. The efficiency of any simple burning device depends on how hot it gets (and the lifetime of the material at that temperature).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminous_efficacy

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