24 oktober 2008
Solar lantern MoonLight wins Dutch design award
Doortje van de Wouw, one of the four students who developed the MoonLight, believes that the product will fill the gap for affordable solutions for off-grid people in rural areas. “People need a portable lamp. Different rooms have to be lit, while most consumers cannot afford more than one lamp. Furthermore, a dimmed light during the night is needed, to give orientation and a feeling of safety in the dark while saving energy at the same time. The dimmed light only has to last for a few hours per night, and about three hours of full light are needed during the evening.”
Research in rural Cambodia, were most people don’t have access to the electricity grid, showed the students that most people have no need for a primary light. A car battery, usually second-hand, serves their needs quite well, although it is rather expensive and has to be recharged after a couple of days. As a second, portable light people use dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps. A cheap, safe and clean lamp would be welcome to replace the kerosene lamp. The MoonLight is a portable LED-lamp working on solar energy. If charged it works for 2.5 hours at full beam and 4.5 hours in the dimmed mode. The lamp has been developed and tested in cooperation with rural Cambodians who have no access to the electricity grid.
The MoonLight will be produced by Kamworks Ltd in Cambodia. Arjen Luxwolda and Jeroen Verschelling, the Dutch directors of Kamworks, expect the product to become a hit in the Cambodian market. On the Kamworks-website they say: “Too often imported solar lighting products are of poor quality. They soon fail and cannot be locally repaired. This damages the reputation of solar energy and upsets the rural people that bought it. Kamworks is developing a product range of affordable solar products that is aimed at the rural market in Cambodia. Many of these products will be produced or assembled locally and thus can be repaired here also.”
The award-winning MoonLight has attracted attention in other developing countries, says Van de Wouw. “African countries with the same problems are interested as well. This might enable Kamworks to start with higher production volumes.”
With the Toon van Tuijl Design Award, the Dutch organisation NCDO hopes to draw attention to exceptional design from and for developing countries and to stimulate designers to contribute to better living conditions in these countries. The award is in memory of Toon van Tuijl, a dedicated Dutch industrial and furniture designer who was killed in a robbery in 2006 in Kenya.
P+ webtip: Team Lumen