Electronics company Greenhouse is set to release a lantern that runs on just salt and water. It uses that old favorite of high school science teachers everywhere, electrolysis, in combination with efficient light producing LEDs to provide strong and long lasting light free of conventional batteries.
And that lesson seemed so useless when I was doing it…
All you need to do is pour salt water into the main body and you’re off to the races. Inside are two electrodes made of a magnesium rod and a carbon plate. The salt water carries electrons from the magnesium to the carbon creating a current strong enough to run the 10 lights.
Those who can actually remember that boring high school experiment will recall that this will cause the magnesium to gradually break down. This means you can use the lamp for up to 120 hours before you need to replace the rod. Replacement rods are available for 980 yen (US$12).
However the salt water will only be good for about 8 hours before it needs to be replaced. Luckily water is available for free from lots of places and you can probably get your hands on some salt for cheap.
Heck, if you’re near an ocean, you’re good to go! According to the Greenhouse website water straight from the ocean will power this lantern.
Even if this is a problem the light is included with a water pouch to store extra supplies and there also a USB cable just in case. The whole package should run you about 3980 yen (US$50), which isn’t bad for an environmentally friendly light also useful for disaster situations.
I, on the other hand, am going to hold onto my money for now. I’m want to wait and see what Greenhouse can do with Bunsen burner technology.