Filipino homes without power sources can now light up their nights using two main components that can be found in every kitchen – salt and water.
Aisa Mijeno, an engineering professor at De La Salle University – Lipa in the Philippines who engages in social work and Greenpeace projects, invented this alternative lighting system that does not use batteries and harmful chemical like kerosene to work.
Mijeno together with her brother Raphael co-founded SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting), a social enterprise which is developing a LED lamp that runs on just table salt and water.
This Electrochemical LED lamp works by dissolving two tablespoons of salt in a glass of water – a saline solution which functions as electrolyte. SALt can provide light up to 8 hours and is also capable of charging smartphones and other low power mobile devices using a USB cable.
Mijeno shared in a Tech In Asia interview her experiences in an immersion with the people of Kalinga where they had to walk 12 hours to reach Bontoc, a town about 50 kilometres away, to get kerosene for their fuel-based lamps.
Mijeno talks about her willingness to help people especially those in rural marginalized areas who lack resources. She told Asian Scientist she is motivated to develop technologies in line with her advocacy for the preservation of the beauty of this planet.
Mijeno’s SALt got off the ground through the help of IdeaSpace Foundation’s technopreneurship competition where the lamp was picked as one of the ten winning start-ups for early funding.
Since then the SALt project has been recognized internationally. Through her invention, the Philippines won the People’s Choice Award at World Startup Competition at the Startup Nations Summit 2014 held in Seoul Korea. SALt was also recognized at the ASEAN Corporate Sustainability Summit and Awards 2015. SALt is also in the Top 100 startups to be presented at the upcoming Echelon Asia Summit 2015 in June.
But despite these achievements, Mijeno says she still wants to achieve more for this social enterprise. According to Mijeno, “I continuously work to achieve a scaled-up version of the innovation that we are developing so that it can power-up an entire village in remote islands across the Philippines using ocean water.”
SALt has announced its partnering with EMSCAI manufacturers and seeking aid from the Department of Science and Technology to provide power to coastal barangays using ocean water. The SALt vision is for small-scale power plants using seas water as electrolyte.