Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALt)

Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALt): Sustainable and ecologically designed lamp powered by tap water and table salt.

PhilippinesPhilippines
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

There are over 7,000 island in the Philippines, most of these islands do not have access to electricity. Families use kerosene lamps as main source of lighting which is expensive to sustain and pose a danger. Our solution is a sustainable and cost effective ecological lamp that runs on saltwater.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we can use the ocean water to power up the entire planet?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are over 7,000 island in the Philippines, most of these islands do not have access to electricity, and the logistics of power cable installation to supply island communities with electricity has been a huge hindrance both for the government and private sectors. Private-owned energy companies tend to focus on return of investment while the government struggle to seek aid in creating mini power plants and connect island towns to power grids.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Few of the common things we noticed from marginalized island communities are their inability to access electricity, the use of fuel-based lamps and the abundance of seawater. These encouraged us to develop a sustainable, ecologically designed lighting system that runs on the very basic items seen on every household -- water and salt, or for the islanders -- seawater.

Awards

Kotra Award - Startup Nations Summit 2014, People's Choice Award - Startup Nations Summit 2014, ASEAN SME Sustainability Commitment - ACSSA 2015, Innovation for Impact - ADB x Ideaspace 2015, Asia Entrepreneurship Award 2015, E27 TOP100 Asia Summit 2015
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We want to eliminate the sustaining cost in areas that rely on kerosene/battery powered lamps and candles as their main source of lighting. And to provide a more efficient light source for people who use lamps and candles as an alternative source of lighting. Replace consumable every 6 months! Using SALt lamp 8 hours a day every day, with proper maintenance, will give you an anode lifespan of 6 months. Use this as an alternative light source will prolong the life of your anode for more than a year. We have also added a USB port where in you can charge low-power mobile devices such as cellphone during emergencies having considered that the Philippines is ranked 3rd as the most disaster prone country in the whole world.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We are still in production stage and we will launch and start deploying the lamp first quarter of next year. Some of the immersions we did were in island towns as shown from our website 'Social Activities' tab. We wanted to replace the kerosene lamps for many of these families use fuel-based lighting system. Kerosene had become a commodity to households in unelectrified marginalized communities. Over the past few months of studying such living conditions, developing the correlation between geographical location, status quo and the use of fuel-based lamps, we have come up with a hypothetical conclusion that the practice of using such light source had been passed down for generations thus, these people never deviated from using fuel-based lighting system. We wanted to change this practice and bring these people a more cost effective, safe and environmentally friendly lighting option.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our strategy is to partner with NGOs and Foundations due to their capacity to reach through their networks geared towards lighting innovations. We also plan to get this product in retail, but we will do it without losing the heart of the company, without losing the heart of the product by following TOMs one for one -- so for every lamp you buy, we give one lamp to a family who needs it. Sustainability is an essential component of our startup because this would determine the success of the lighting innovation that we offer.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Getting this out in retail and designing the packaging to fit a certain market is our focal point to make the project sustainable. We will also focus on our core competency and that is Research and Development and will improve on the core technology so we can derive more applications from the following.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The lighting technology that we have uses old Science but with a new application and approach. There are several entities trying to solve problems in terms of lighting and although most of them have been fairly effective, some of them are not. Solar technology have been efficient in this spectrum but they are still too expensive, complicated to sustain and depends on something you cannot control (the sun). We wanted to bring something on the table that is user friendly, recyclable, very durable, easy to maintain and has a long storage lifespan.
Team

Founding Story

It started when I worked for Greenpeace Philippines as a Direct Dialogue Campaigner. I have traveled many places promoting environmental campaigns which brought me to the majestic mountains of Kalinga where it all began. The product concept was formed after living with the natives of the Butbut tribe for days relying only on kerosene lamps and moonlight to do evening chores. I also learned that people had to walk 12 hours just to get kerosene for their lamps every other day. Having noticed that the staple items each household have in the Philippines are water, salt and rice -- this encouraged us to develop a sustainable lighting system that runs on as basic as saltwater.

Team

I am in this project with my younger brother, the main reason of our strong foundation due to our bond and undying motivation. We inspire and support each other everyday. My brother handles the business side while I handle the tech. We are a great mix because we know each other very well, we know what makes us motivated to keep on pushing forward. I have been a member of the academe for 5 years now. I give lecture to engineering students about environmental engineering and embedded systems while my brother worked for a British and Australian firm handling the risk management of the business in his department.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

We are one of the members, the pioneer batch of Unilever Foundry (Philippines).

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder and CEO

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Affordable and Clean Energy, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

My experience as a Direct Dialogue Campaigner and Fundraiser from Greenpeace Philippines have a huge impact of running our project to make it sustainable. Being a Direct Dialogue Campaigner, I was able to gain access and meet public officials, collaborate with them to create a successful nation building projects in which I learned significant and relevant skills that I can apply with my current venture and advocacy.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We have been part of Ideaspace Philippines as once of their incubatees and currently in partnership with a local manufacturing company in the Philippines who does assembly and have experience in semi-conductors. I am also a member of Kairos Society in which can tap to pool of mentors who are able to share their journey and experiences on the way to success.