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Candle without the flame

Author: Compare Guru
Date: 2014-06-11
Shack fires are a big problem in South Africa and devastate the lives of thousands of people each year. A new local invention aims to replace the candle with a solar powered LED light.

Shack fires are a big problem in Africa and devastate the lives of thousands of people each year. The cause of these fires are almost always attributed to the use of paraffin lamps and candles. Now, a South African inventor is hoping to put a stop to this, replacing these hazards with a solar-powered light designed specifically to endure the harsh conditions of rural and township living. The Nightlight Solar Candle was developed by South African inventor Ken Hall. He is also the technical director at Nightlight, the company behind the product.

The LED-based Solar Candle, which is also known as the “candle without a flame”, emits a five candle-power white light for up to 7 hours. News of the Solar Candle comes just two months after Net1 Mobile Solutions announced it was developing a solar-powered lamp called the Solar Jar, a future version of which will come with an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot to provide poor households with access to the Internet. Ken Hall Ken Hall This is not the first time that Hall invented a product designed for use in South Africa’s townships and rural areas.

In 2001, he created the Cobb oven, a safe alternative cooker to paraffin stoves. This invention was named as one of Time magazine’s inventions of the year. The Solar Candle has also caught the attention of World Bank-backed nonprofit Lighting Africa, which provides off-grid lighting products in sub-Saharan Africa. Lighting Africa has shortlisted Hall’s invention for distribution throughout Africa. The solar panels that charge the lithium battery are situated at the bottom of the Solar Candle and the unit simply needs to be turned upside down in sunlight to charge.

A full charge takes up to six hours and it can be charged even in poor weather conditions. Hall says the device will retain 90% of its charge for up to six months. The Solar Candle is constructed of durable plastic and is water resistant “although not waterproof,” Hall says. The estimated life span of the Solar Candle is just over four years when charged daily. The Solar Light also holds some financial benefit to its users. To get the same amount of light from a candle, at least five candles would have to burn, equating to 1 825 candles annually. At R2/candle, the user would save about R3 500/year. The Solar Candle retails for about R320. – © 2014 NewsCentral Media

This article was written by Regardt van der Berg for TechCentral:

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