Pinay scientist creates lamp that runs on saltwater

Rhys Buccat,

Posted at Aug 02 2015 04:43 PM | Updated as of Dec 24 2015 12:01 PM

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?Aisa Mijeno, CEO, co-founder and inventor of SALt lamp. Handout photo

MANILA – “To light up the rest of the Philippines sustainably” was the vision of Filipina scientist Aisa Mijeno when she made the Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALt) lamp.

The SALt Lamp is an environment-friendly and sustainable alternative light source that runs on saltwater, making it suitable to those who live in coastal areas.

It can also function well in remote barrios. With just two table spoons of salt and one glass of tap water, this ecologically designed lamp can run for eight hours.

“It is made of tediously experimented and improved chemical compounds, catalysts, and metal alloys that when submerged in electrolytes will generate electricity,” Mijeno explained in an interview with ABS-CBN.

Because of its inspiring vision and ground-breaking innovation, the SALt lamp has received various awards and recognition from organizations in the Philippines, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea.

It has also won in several competitions here and abroad.

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Aisa Mijeno receives the Kotra Award at the Startup Nations Summit 2014 in South Korea. Handout photo

Safe alternative to traditional lamps

According to Mijeno, the idea behind the SALt lamp is the chemical conversion of energy. It utilizes the scientific process behind the Galvanic cell, but instead of electrolytes, the SALt lamp uses saline solution, making it harmless and non-toxic.

Compared with kerosene lamp, the SALt lamp is also a lot safer, Mijeno stressed since it does not have components and compounds that may spark fire. Moreover, it does not emit toxic gases and leaves minimal carbon footprint.

“This isn’t just a product. It’s a social movement,” she said.

Although the SALt lamp is not yet being mass-produced, Mijeno and her team have been working intensively with non-government organizations (NGOs), local government units (LGUs), and charitable foundations, among others.

These organizations aid in the purchase and distribution of the SALt lamps to remote communities where electricity is scarce, or worse, not available.

A sustainable light for the Philippines

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A family in the province relies on a kerosene lamp. Handout photo

Mijeno said that her experience working with an environmental organization made her realize the need for an alternative source of light, especially in rural areas of the Philippines.

“I used to be part of Greenpeace Philippines and did personal immersions/volunteers across rural communities, and there I learned so many things. Most of these people are so poor and underprivileged that they endure long hours of walking just to get kerosene for their lamps,” Mijeno recalled.

Currently, for every SALt lamp that is bought, one lamp is given to a selected family.

“Our main focus is on the island communities that do not have access to electricity and have no financial capacity for acquiring alternative source of electricity,” Mijeno added.