Alfred Moser, a Brazilian mechanic, had a simple idea in 2002 that helped light his home during blackouts. Now this idea is being spread to poor communities without electricity -- or those who can't afford electricity -- to provide light like that of up to a 60-watt bulb using only a plastic bottle, water and the power of the sun.
Alfredo Moser holds a plastic bottle up to the sun, showing how it can refract the light. (Image via YouTube video screenshot)
BBC reported that Moser's idea is expected to help light one million homes by next year. When he thinks of how many people his idea is benefiting, BBC described him as "shaking with emotion."
"I'd have never imagined it, no," Moser said. "It gives you goose-bumps to think about it."
Moser came up with the idea to drill a hole in his roof and stick a clear bottle filled with water and a little bleach (to keep algae at bay) when there were widespread power outages in Uberaba a decade ago.
The bottle sticking out of the roof -- the hole sealed to prevent any leaks in wet weather -- refracts the light downward into a dwelling, improving the inhabitants' the ability to see as they to perform tasks during the day.
These bottles help shine sunlight into homes with an intensity similar to a 40 to 60-watt bulb. (Image via YouTube video screenshot)
"It's a divine light. God gave the sun to everyone, and light is for everyone," Moser told BBC. "Whoever wants it saves money. You can't get an electric shock from it, and it doesn't cost a penny."
BBC explained that in some countries, it's not a lack of available electricity that's the problem, it's the cost. Moser's lighting system helped a family in his community save enough to pay for essential items for their soon-to-be-born child.
"Can you imagine?" he said to BBC of the impact.
In the Philippines, the MyShelter Foundation received plastic bottle donations, which they started using to build walls and windows. Then BBC reported the foundation's Executive Director Angelo Diaz recalling someone saying, "'Hey, somebody has also done that in Brazil. Alfredo Moser is putting them on roofs.'"
The idea has spread throughout Manila and in about 15 other countries, according to BBC:
"Alfredo Moser has changed the lives of a tremendous number of people, I think forever," [Diaz] says.
"Whether or not he gets the Nobel Prize, we want him to know that there are a great number of people who admire what he is doing."
Diaz included that some people have been using the lights even to help them grow food from hydroponic plants.
BBC reported that people in some communities are being trained to make the lights as a profession.
What one home looked like during the day before the light was installed through the roof. (Image via YouTube video screenshot)
The light floods into the home after the bottle filled with water was installed. (Image via YouTube video screenshot)
Through the MyShelter Foundation, the plastic bottle light has taken on the formal name of "A Liter of Light."
Here's a mini-documentary about one town that installed 643 bottles back in 2011:
This video shows how a community in Kenya is installing the "solar bottles":
And this footage shows Moser himself demonstrating how the bottles are made:
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(H/T: Desert News)