Alfredo Moser: Bottle light inventor proud to be poor
Alfredo Moser's invention is lighting up the world. In 2002, the Brazilian mechanic had a light-bulb moment and came up with a way of illuminating his house during the day without electricity - using nothing more than plastic bottles filled with water and a tiny bit of bleach.
In the last two years his innovation has spread throughout the world. It is expected to be in one million homes by early next year.
So how does it work? Simple refraction of sunlight, explains Moser, as he fills an empty two-litre plastic bottle.
"Add two capfuls of bleach to protect the water so it doesn't turn green [with algae]. The cleaner the bottle, the better," he adds. Wrapping his face in a cloth he makes a hole in a roof tile with a drill. Then, from the bottom upwards, he pushes the bottle into the newly-made hole. "You fix the bottle in with polyester resin. Even when it rains, the roof never leaks - not one drop. An engineer came and measured the light," he says. "It depends on how strong the sun is but it's more or less 40 to 60 watts," he says.
Carmelinda, Moser's wife of 35 years, says her husband has always been very good at making things around the home, including some fine wooden beds and tables.
But she's not the only one who admires his lamp invention. Illac Angelo Diaz, executive director of the MyShelter Foundation in the Philippines, is another. MyShelter specialises in alternative construction, creating houses using sustainable or recycled materials such as bamboo, tyre and paper. "We had huge amounts of bottle donations," he says.
"So we filled them with mud and created walls, and filled them with water to make windows. When we were trying to add more, somebody said: 'Hey, somebody has also done that in Brazil. Alfredo Moser is putting them on roofs.'"
Following the Moser method, MyShelter started making the lamps in June 2011. They now train people to create and install the bottles, in order to earn a small income.
In the Philippines, where a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, and electricity is unusually expensive, the idea has really taken off, with Moser lamps now fitted in 140,000 homes.
The idea has also caught on in about 15 other countries, from India and Bangladesh, to Tanzania, Argentina and Fiji.
How much energy do the lamps save?
- The plastic bottles are up-cycled in the local community, so no energy is needed to gather, shred, manufacture and ship new bottles
- The carbon footprint of the manufacture of one incandescent bulb is 0.45kg CO2
- A 50 Watt light bulb running for 14 hours a day for a year has a carbon footprint of nearly 200kg CO2
- Moser lamps emit no CO2
BBC News - Alfredo Moser: Bottle light inventor proud to be poor
Thanks to: Sustainable Crediton - Home