In some regions of the world, like Wayúu, reliable energy can be difficult to come by. Wayúu is a community on the La Guajira peninsula between Colombia and Venezuela. Without power, the people here can do little during the night. Using fire as a light source can be dangerous. Instead, this community is using new technology to light the way. Let’s talk about how WaterLight is changing the Wayúu community, half a liter of seawater at a time.
Origin of the lantern
Wunderman Thompson Colombia and E-Dina developed WaterLight in 2021. Inspired by growing energy needs, these two groups sought an alternative energy source that would benefit remote communities like the Wayúu.
Using the lantern is simple. To light the device, the user must fill it with half a liter of seawater. After that, the seawater will power the lantern for 45 days using ionization. To explain, this creates electricity by combining seawater’s electrolytes with magnesium.
WaterLight powers coastline communities
In the Wayúu community, WaterLight shines light on nighttime activities. Reading, writing, fishing, and working are impossible without light. The lantern is a safe light source that replaces fire. The people here also use the device to slowly charge their phones and other devices. This seawater lantern has brought greater connection to the Wayúu with the world.
As a result of its function, the lantern is best used by remote communities in coastal areas. There are many coastal communities around the world that need better access to electricity. For example, people and communities in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Gabon, Somalia, and Syria could benefit from this technology.
Efficient seawater energy
Waterlight is well suited for use in remote communities. The power source of the lantern, seawater, is very abundant along coastlines. Because of this, remote communities in these regions can easily take advantage of their natural resources for portable light and energy.
E-Dina built the lantern efficiently. Engineers created the bottle completely out of recyclable materials. Additionally, Wayúu design inspired E-Dina. Because of this, the carrying strap on the bottle was crafted by Wayúu craftspeople. The lantern is also, of course, waterproof to protect the electronics inside.
Waterlight is environmentally friendly
Generating electricity from seawater is a clean alternative to using fossil fuels for energy. According to E-Dina, 840 million people in the world lack reliable electricity. They also claim that according to the United Nations, worldwide energy demand will rise by 70% in the next 13 years. Critically, E-Dina also warns that fossil fuel reserves will be exhausted in the next 52 years.
Extending fossil fuel energy to people without power would be helpful, but it would also be harmful to the environment. With Waterlight, E-Dina has made it possible to bring renewable, portable electricity to remote regions without harming the planet.
Scaling up the saltwater ionization process could provide clean energy elsewhere in the world. As a result, this would reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for energy. However, if scaling up this technology isn’t possible, portable electronics like E-Dina’s lantern will still reduce our use of fossil fuels while protecting the environment.