Shell helps turn Gravity into light to increase energy access in Kenya

Shell helps turn Gravity into light to increase energy access in Kenya

Shell is continuing to highlight how global collaboration is important in the development of more and cleaner energy solutions by bringing to life another smart idea.

The company is working with an innovative energy start-up GravityLight to help provide residents living in off-grid communities across Kenya with lighting devices powered by gravity.

It is the latest step in the Shell #makethefuture campaign, which is bringing alternative energy technologies to people who need them most.

Shell and the GravityLight Foundation are for the first time bringing more than 3,000 of the company’s lighting devices to families in Kenya, where almost 80 per cent of the population live with no access to electricity.

GravityLight offers a clean, safe, affordable and reliable alternative to other fuel sources including kerosene lamps, which are used in homes by millions of families in Africa. The low-carbon innovation does not need batteries or sunlight and costs nothing to run. It works by connecting an elevated bag filled with 12kg of rocks or sand to a pulley system. Each time the weight descends to the ground it powers a generator to create 20 minutes of light.

Nigerian singer, Yemi Alade, is one of the ambassadors for the project, and is joining the 50-night tour of Kenya to highlight the benefits GravityLight will bring to families in Kenya. Alade grew up without access to energy and spent years studying by candlelight or kerosene lamp. The singer is one of six musicians who have united with Shell and the entrepreneurs to #makethefuture helping to shine a light on the need for worldwide access to more and cleaner energy. Other ambassadors involved in #makethefuture include Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, Brazilian singer Luan Santana, China’s Tan Weiwei, American musician Steve Aoki and Britain’s Pixie Lott. Together they created the music video: “Best Day of My Life,” to highlight the work of the campaign – which has attracted over 100 million views on Facebook alone, and topped recent viral online video charts. During her tour of Kenya, Alade will inspire people and students by visiting the homes and community centres where GravityLights are being fitted. She will also see the work of the Daraja Academy, which provides education to Kenyan girls, to spotlight how GravityLight will enable pupils in the country to study into the night. One hundred and ten girls currently study at the school which prides itself on empowering tomorrows’ leaders. Shell will be building a new science laboratory expanding capacity up to 45 students, complete with equipment they haven’t had the opportunity to use before. The laboratory will enable the students to gain a more practical experience of science and help them pursue careers within STEM. GravityLight won the Shell Springboard programme in 2015, which helped them begin to scale up their business and take GravityLight to market.

Bill Gates has praised the invention as a “cool innovation”, while Time magazine named it as one of the top 25 inventions of 20135 and Forbes said the entrepreneurs behind the device were ‘set to change the world’. The next step for GravityLight will be to test an assembly line in Kenya to manufacture its product and work with local distribution networks and communities to create jobs.

Source: The Eagle on line

Date: December 2016

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Tags assigned to this article:
fossil fuelsinvestmentsrenewables

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