Waterlight generates 45 days of light from half a litre of sea water, changing lives in coastal communities

In Colombia, Wunderman Thompson and the startup E-Dina collaborated on WaterLight, a device that can transform half a litre of salt water into 45 days of light.

The technology achieves this feat via the ionization of an electrolyte made up of salt water, transforming the magnesium on the inside into electrical energy - around 500 watts for each litre of water. 

Inspired by their artwork, this device underwent a pilot phase in the Wayúu, an indigenous community living on La Guajira peninsula near the Colombia-Venezuela border. The generated electricity provided them with economic opportunities and quality of life. Indeed, it allowed fisherpeople to work at night, kids to do their homework and families to light their homes and charge their phones.

The pilot was a tremendous success. Now, the companies want to scale this concept for many developing nations such as Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Gabon, Somalia and Syria that lack access to energy but do have a coastline.

Why does it matter? According to the World Health Organization, 840 million people worldwide have limited access to electricity, which significantly impedes their ability to work, study and live properly after sunset and stay connected to the rest of the world. Also, electricity demand will increase by 70% by 2035, and traditional fossil fuel reserves should deplete in the next 50 years.

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