By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Design
Nokero's new "solar light bulb" promises to light up areas of the world without access to the power grid.
The rain-proof light bulb is about the size of a standard incandescent bulb and contains a replaceable, rechargeable battery that can be charged during the day to provide light at night.
Who is the market for such a bulb? Areas of the world that don't have access to a modern power grid.
Nokero says the N100 is designed for the 1.6 billion people who live without electricity and rely instead upon lanterns that burn fossil fuels.
At first glance, it seems silly. How much kerosene can those people burn compared to a factory in an industrialized nation?
(Enough to produce 190 million tons of carbon dioxide, apparently -- the equivalent of 30 million cars.)
But the bulb offers these people a way to illuminate their lives (no pun intended) without requiring them to go searching for kerosene in the first place.
In a statement, Nokero founder Stephen Katsaros said it's also about health:
There are so many ways this product can change lives: It can help keep families and shopkeepers safe, help students study at night, eradicate indoor pollution, and reduce worldwide carbon emissions.
Nokero says no kerosene means saved money that would be used on fuel -- five percent of total income, aqccording to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change -- and that its light bulb "can pay for itself within months."
How many is unclear.
Nevertheless, the bulb provides four hours of light when fully charged, and two or more hours of light after a typical day charging in full sunlight.
It consists of a plastic shell, four solar panels, five light-emitting diodes and a nickel-metal hydride battery that lasts up to two years.
Can the N100 sustainably light up disaster areas and camping trips? Maybe, maybe not -- but it's a step in the right direction.
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Jun 9, 2010
HexHammer67. I love your constructive comments. We are working on solutions to some of the light problems in some African Countries within the reach of the people, I will appreciate if we can get your advise on some of your views pertaining The solar bulb and some of our other efforts. I will appreciate if u can send me ur email. Mine is email@example.com. Thanks and remain blessed.
Hi there, There are a lot of concerns here about Nokero, many of which we address on our website at www.nokero.com. I recommend trying out the product to see how it stacks up. I'll try my best to respond to some of them here. 1) We know there are a lot of solar products out there - ours is different because its affordable enough AND durable enough to be the best existing solar alternative to fossil-fuel lanterns still being used by 1.6 billion worldwide. 2) Our bulb costs as little as $6 when bought in bulk, $10 each for 48 or more, or $15 one at a time. 3) The common LED should last - conservatively - for 50,000 hours, which would give the LEDs within the bulb a lifespan of about 68 years. Although we cannot promise our LEDs will last that long, we can say that they will last a long time, and the other parts are either replaceable, recyclable, or meant to last up to 10 years. 4) The environmental sustainability of the light isn't completely perfect, however it is far better than kerosene lanterns and, yes, we are always working to improve our product. 5) The thread is meant to ensure that everyone who looks at it knows what it is. 5) Regarding Joule Thief, our rechargeable batteries must maintain a small percentage charge to remain viably rechargeable on each new day. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Nokero, Tom Boyd www.nokero.com
Good point. The lack of a price and a website in the reporting tells me all I need to know. If it were economically made, or of recycled plastic, Nokero'd be shouting about it. And if it were designed with functionality in mind rather than aesthetic it wouldnt look anything like a bulb... Its just a poor attempt at remarketing a device to grub money from a market that the greediest of capitalists ignore. If I'd designed that, I'd have made it in two parts joined with a cable that stows inside when clipped together. Solar one end and light the other, then it could be used during the day in poorly lit interiors too. I'd have used an economical method of driving the LEDs, as they require volts rather than amps to function, or replaced it with a fluorescent that does the same. I also would have left the screw thread off; for a market with no such infrastructure it has no use or meaning - and if it does fit the socket it pretends to, then why? I'm glad I'm not the only one. Peace
Two complaints: How much petrochemicals went into making that huge green shell? Also, the threaded shape of the top implies that it is designed to screw into a socket, say, in the ceiling, or hangs from a hook. To charge it, there must be sunlight, which means the bulb must be unscrewed, brought outside, left there until charged, brought inside and screwed back in or rehung. I'd call it a prototype not quite ready for sale.
4 hours light on a full charge of 32 hours if I'm reading that right. It says 2 hours light on a full day charge, thats 16 hours give or take so 4 hours light is twice that. Modern Amorphous SiO2 solar cells require daylight not sunlight and that size puts out 0.45V, 400mA per cell. Thats 1.6A at 0.45V or 3.8V at 400mA. Modern 'superbright' LEDs come in 3.6V and 5V flavours, seeing as they would be in parallel to run the smaller ones from the NiMH cells without electronics to boost the voltage, they should run for many hours on a full charge. Anyone who spends time on the energy forums, homebrew sites or the like will have heard of a Joule Thief. For those who havent, this is a tiny circuit that uses a coil and a transistor to boost the voltage from a 'dead' AA cell that wont run even a remote control anymore, and suck the last dregs dry to power LEDs and other low-power devices for up to a WEEK on one cell. I've seen them powering banks of 100s of LEDS, all from a single battery, whose total power is comparable to a single solar cell. If Nokera arent getting hours from their system then its a total fail as a green solution and not much good as a novelty even.
Why are you guys reporting on a solar lantern? I have 20 of those down the side of my path. So do my neighbours. They are a great idea - look like stones with solar panels during the day but after dark they throw light out of the bottom to illuminate the edge of the path. I've had them for a few years, and I only bought those because I didnt like the ones that looked like plastic Chinese Lanterns on sticks, or the ones with frosted panels and chrome... In other words, there was a whole display of them by different manufacturers. So Nokero came up with the brilliant idea of painting them green and selling them to the third world, they should be ashamed.
What size "carbon footprint" does it use to produce each bulb? How much pollution is generated to produce the solar cells? How many of the 1.6 billion people off the power grid live in areas with a lot of sunshine every day or even most days? Surely most of the 1.6 billion don't live in desert areas...?
When the LEDs die, is the whole thing junk? If the "bulb" part is replaceable, this is a solar lightbulb socket. And if not, why not?