The invention of electricity transformed the lives of many. No longer were work days limited to the sun’s rays, and with longer hours to work with creative inspiration, inspired dreams could become reality.
But in many areas of the world, conveniences common to the Western world are still foreign. For example, 1 billion people currently experience energy poverty and have no means of illumination during the day or after dark. Thanks to Brazilian mechanic, Alfredo Moser, however, this can be changed.
The innovative mechanic has been using plastic water bottles filled with water and a splash of bleach to light up dark rooms since 2002, and now the idea has spread across the world. It is predicted that by the end of the year, over a million homes will be fitted with the invention and be lit up – without any electricity!
Moser’s method works using refraction of the sunlight. His secret is two capfuls of Bleach added to water in normal plastic bottles, which are commonly thrown away. While some may argue that Bleach is not the most environmentally friendly product, it stops the solution from turning green with algae when exposed to sunlight. From this simple combination, millions of homes may become illuminated.
By drilling a hole in a roof tile and then pushing the filled bottle in from below, the bottle can be kept in place with plastic resin and the new ‘window’ can be made waterproof.
Alfredo, in his interview with BBC World Service, said that depending on the strength of sunlight, the light filling his home is equivalent of between 40 and 60 watts.
What inspires one to create an affordable and alternative means of lighting? Moser stated that he came up with the idea, the ‘Moser Light’, during one of the frequent blackouts in Brazil during the year of 2002. Because only factories had power in his hometown of Uberaba during blackouts, it became a necessity to create an alternative form of lighting.
According to his BBC interview, it was his boss that suggested using a plastic bottle filled with water as a lens to focus the sun’s rays. Mr. Moser then used the concept to create his inventive light.
“It’s a divine light. God gave the sun to everyone, and light is for everyone. Whoever wants it saves money. You can’t get an electric shock from it, and it doesn’t cost a penny.” Alfredo said.
It’s clear that Alfredo is not sharing his lighting method for personal gain, but to help others. He earned a few dollars installing the lights in his local supermarket and neighbors’ houses, but his invention has not made him a wealthy man.
Moser shared, “There was one man who installed the lights in his home and within a few months he had saved enough to pay for the essential things for his child, who was about to be born. Can you imagine?”
Humble and generous-hearted, Alfredo has shared the invention with those who seek an affordable way to light their house. Executive Director of MyShelter Foundation, Illac Angelo Diaz, spoke that he admires Moser’s ingenuity and is grateful to utilize the water bottle system.
The organization, which uses recycled materials to build houses, has started incorporating water bottles into roofs since learning of Moser’s method. It also trains local people to do the same so they may earn a living.
It is reported that over 140,000 homes in the Philippines have been fitted with water bottle lights. This is exceptional considering that a quarter of the population in this region lives in poverty. 15 other countries live in similar conditions, including Argentine, India, and Fiji.
Mr. Diaz believes that over 1 million Moser Lights have been installed in 2013, and credits the mechanic with transforming lives.
Similar means of creating light from water bottles have been used in Sitio Maligaya, so the invention is not a first, but it’s reach is still inspirational.
Whether or not Moser is granted the Nobel Peace Prize, many (including Diaz) want the big-hearted Brazilian to know that his contribution is greatly appreciated.
Ambitious to light his own house, Alfredo never imagined his invention would have such an impact on a global scale. He told BBC that it ‘gives him goosebumps’ if he thinks about how many people are using Moser Lights.
His example goes to show that with inspiration, pure intent, and passion, anything is possible. His lights will continue to light up dark places and transform the lives of many.
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