Bio-electric fuel cell turns manure into light


Tongwa Village Zambia
[image credit: Tongwa Village]

Problem: Lighting a home in rural Africa is expensive and dangerous

Many homes in Zambia (along with most of rural Africa) are dark at night. The most common option for lighting is kerosene, which is expensive, dangerously flammable, and produces acrid smoke that causes respiratory disorders in children. Some people purchase cheap batteries to power flashlights, but the costs add up quickly along with the spent batteries, which often leak and must be disposed of somewhere.

Solution: Methane-powered LED lights

bio-electric fuel cell powered by manure
[image credit: Charitable Ingenuity]

After spending several years living in Zambia, a Utah-based inventor created the Poop Light, a methane-powered LED lamp that can be made out of inexpensive materials and is powered by the methane byproducts of manure. Any kind of manure can be used, and odors are sealed inside the bucket. While the lamp only powers a single LED light, the buckets appear to be stackable.

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Category: Energy


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Article by: Dave

Dave Cannon is a Seattle-based entrepreneur and consultant to nonprofits and small businesses. He loves Thai food and takes terrible photographs. You can follow him on Linkedin.
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