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Nokero debuts 'world's only solar light bulb'; illuminates areas off power grid

Nokero debuts 'world's only solar light bulb'; illuminates areas off power grid

Posting in Design

Nokero's new "solar light bulb" promises to light up areas of the world without access to the power grid.

Nokero on Thursday announced the release of the N100, what it claims is "the world's only solar light bulb."

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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Andrew Nusca

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Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure