Monday, April 30, 2007

LED Light

We are working on the design of a “City Light” that can bring sustainable technology to people who live on the edge of the economy. Shown above is an LED Light fixture prototype made up of fast growing bamboo, a recycled plastic bag and recycled electronics. The only new parts purchased to make this light are the LEDs themselves and a few resistors. The electronics should cost less than $2.00 total and we hope when the design is finalized to get the total parts cost down to about $1.80.

Why the price pressure? We want to make and sell these fixtures in “Squatter Cities” where power is limited. My survey of the squatter areas around Mexico City that I made many years ago and that I have had recently re-verified, shows many households living with about 60 watts of power total. The most common use for the power is a single incandescent light bulb. If we can trade LED lights for old incandescent lights then people will have brighter homes and the limited power in these areas will go further. (BTW the second most common electric item is a radio and or TV with the volume set on Stun)

One vision of the LED City Lights program is to have people trade in incandescent lights for LED lights. We want to charge less for LEDs than currently is charged for incandescents. Each 60 watt incandescent bulb that is traded for an LED would reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the LED light. Carbon credits could be used to offset much of the cost of the program if it can be shown to really reduce CO2 production. Additional benefits are bringing employment to people in squatter cities, recycling lots of electronic components and creating economic development where it is needed most.

This is a work in progress. If this phase works out we will have a “beach head” where we can introduce Internet connectivity, WiFi and communications. We are negotiating to have a second generation prototype made at XelaTeco.

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