Every day many people take electricity for granted, however for 16% of the world it is still a luxury. Nowhere is this issue more acute than in Kenya. Nearly 80% of the country has no access to electricity and instead relies on kerosene for light and cooking.

Not only is this kerosene potentially unhealthy, but it is unreliable as a light source. The ability to work into the evening or study under kerosene light is limited.

But thanks to an ingenious solution that uses the weight of a bag of rocks to create light, that’s changing.

The bright light of an energy idea

GravityLight is a startup intent on replacing kerosene lamps in off grid communities with a light that works without electricity or fuel. Instead, it is powered only by the kinetic energy captured from a falling weight.

In October 2016 GravityLight, in collaboration with Shell, embarked on a 50-night tour of Kenya that launched the product commercially, and demonstrated its benefits to the local population.

One of those benefits is how it can improve opportunities for children. Hardson Lusiola, Headteacher at Walodeya Primary School in Chavakali, Kenya explained: “Since most of [the student’s] homes do not have power, I think the GravityLight will provide the opportunity to do their homework.”

Shell’s collection of bedtime stories has been created to celebrate and to remind us that something as simple as sustainable light can help create opportunities and inspire imaginations around the world.

More in make the future

A breath of fresh air

Household air pollution from cooking kills over 4 million people every year. See how a simple idea could change that.

Turning gravity into light

Harnessing kinetic energy from falling rocks, GravityLight produces a safe, renewable source of light to those with no access to electricity.

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