Clean Power

Published on December 14th, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown


$5 Gravity Energy Storage System Provides Free LED Lightning

December 14th, 2012 by  

Gravity energy storage is not exactly at the center of energy-related debates. However, it does have some admirable qualities. One is that such systems can be designed to last a lifetime. This is very important to everyone, of course, but especially to those living in impoverished parts of the world.

A so-called “gravity-powered” LED lamp, GravityLight, has been created that generates its own electricity with the assistance of gravity… although it is not completely gravity powered.

This is a human-powered LED. Like “wind-up” radios, this can be powered by bare human hands, and it works.

I am not going to label this as just another “wind-up” device, or “old technology,” because it is more convenient, and it’s addressing a critical need of the day. Plus, this device seems to work very well.

When those older, hand-wound devices I mentioned got old, their batteries malfunctioned and they would have to be cranked many times, and for a long time in order to get much out of them.

This LED uses no batteries or fuels. This means that it has the potential to last a very long time, if built well.

How The GravityLight Works

To use the GravityLight, the user lifts a heavy weight attached to the lamp by pulling a rope for about 3 seconds, and then the LED operates for 30 minutes before the rope needs to be pulled again.

The weight is a bag that can be filled with rocks, or any other material, as long as it is heavy enough to pull the rope down and turn the LED lamp’s internal generator.

The generator uses gears to achieve the rotational speed it requires. Exactly how that is done, is not stated.

Normally, people would use the rope to turn a large overdrive gear slowly, and that large gear turns a much smaller gear. Due to the fact that the small gear is so much smaller, it turns at a very high-speed. So the large gear provides a large amount of torque at an extremely low-speed, and that torque is converted into a higher rotational speed (but with less torque) suitable for the generator using this arrangement. I can only guess that this is how this lamp was built, based on the nature of this type of device.

Source: Smart Planet

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Ronald Brak

    I hope this does a lot of people a lot of good. But it will have to be cheap to beat the competition from solar lights. I’ve seen solar lights on sale in Australia for $2. While I’m sure this is considerably better than those solar lights, they will still be tough to beat on price.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’d like to see some comparison of lumins and lifespan.

      I’m certainly open to better solutions.

    • I guess I’ve never thought of this before, but solar lights have to sit out in the sun. How do you do that if you don’t have a window, and keep it from being stolen? Or it’s raining or cloudy? Also, solar lights need battery replacement occasionally, and the batteries tend to be cheap NiCd. The gravity light should work until it breaks.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I saw an article about someone who had created a job for himself as a solar lantern tender. He collected the neighborhood lamps in the morning and watched over them while they charged.

        The world needs a good storage battery solution. Solar lights and gravity lights can be an excellent ‘first rung’ on the clean energy ladder but we should make it possible for people to move up at an affordable price.

      • Ronald Brak

        Good points there, it’s not just a matter of cost. There are hand cranked ones I saw which were again $2 in Australia (and no, not everything costs $2 in Australia) which eliminates the need to put it in sunlight to charge it, but they also rely on a battery which will eventually die.

  • dynamo.joe

    Too bad they didn’t have these in time for Christmas delivery.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Here’s their web site. Show them a little Christmas love.

    They’re well over their funding goal, but getting a lot of more names on their list of supporters can be a good thing.

  • Bob_Wallace

    This is a big deal.

    Currently millions of people light their homes with candles and kerosene They spend a large portion of their very limited income on stuff they can burn for light.

    For a month’s kerosene cost they can purchase an LED light that should give them a few years of light with no further costs. Over a few months they can purchase enough of these lights to light up their rooms.

    Easy and cheap to ship. Easy to set up. We can get clean, cheap light to a lot of people in a hurry.

    Then, when they have stopped the cash drain of burning stuff, they will be able to accumulate enough money to buy a minimal sized solar setup and bootstrap themselves into a cheaper, healthier life.

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