Impact Hub Manila Fellowship

SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting)

1 out of 6 people still live without access to electricity, that is 13% of world's population about 1.4 billion people. And most of these communities use kerosene lanterns as their main source of lighting. Kerosene had become a commodity to households in unelectrified marginalized communities. Over the past few years of studying such living conditions, developing the correlation between geographical location, socioeconomic status and the use of fuel-based lamps, we have developed a sustainable and cost effective ecological lamp that uses salt and water or ocean water to activate and generate electricity. Cost effective, safe and environmentally friendly.

Who faces this problem?

Roughly 80% of off grid communities in the Philippines still rely on traditional alternative lighting solutions like; candles and fuel based lanterns. The remaining 20% have embraced more modern alternatives like; battery powered lanterns and solar lanterns. Our system uses salt and water as a medium to generate electricity enough to power up LEDs and charge low-power mobile devices like cellphone and smartphone. Scientifically, our system works like a battery. It follows the science of metal-air system which utilizes oxygen and metal alloys to produce electricity. Through a more ergonomic design, we give our users the option of draining and replenishing of electrolytes which makes the entire system last much longer than any conventional battery-operated devices.

How does your idea address this problem?

Over the past 5 years, we have been researching on various materials to implement for the type of application that we have which is a lighting system. This led us to develop and design a system that will make use of metal-air battery concept that lasts much longer for lantern application than what is currently existing, making it more efficient for daily use. We have innovated a system that will make the materials and its physical properties much stronger used for such application.Inspired by the resiliency of the Filipino people, we have originally developed this system for rural island communities not connected to the power grid. There are over 7,000 islands in the Philippines, most of these islands do not have access to electricity, and kerosene had become a commodity to households in unelectrified marginalized communities. These families never deviated from using fuel-based lamps despite its many cases of fire accidents caused by tipped over lamps and candles. About 16 million Filipinos could suffer the consequences therefore making local governments and even private sectors more concerned, extending their efforts to replace such customs. In contribution to these efforts, we focused on innovating a light source that uses staple items in every household which led to our mission of providing a more cost-effective, safe, and environmentally friendly with its non-combustible nature. We developed a lantern that makes use of the most abundant natural resource that we have, the ocean water, as a way to activate the system and generate electricity enough to power up LEDs and even charge low-power mobile devices like cellphones and smartphones very essential feature in times of emergency.

  • Cost Effective
  • Safe
  • Environmentally-Friendly
  • Easy to Use 

 

NOTE: Find out more from our website: http://www.salt.ph/

What’s new and unique about your idea?

We have 3 provisional patents and 1 utility model in submission. We have improved and innovated upon the longevity and the functionality of the core technology. Finding the most efficient combination of proprietary materials, ergonomics and circuit design to bring about the technology that would be a more sustainable light source than the pervasive kerosene lanterns and weather-dependent solar lamps. Sustainability and efficiency is above all the most important aspect of our technology which lasts thrice as longer as similar products based on metal-air battery system. This would also be a perfect fit to island communities as ocean water can be utilize to operate the system.

How are you going to earn money?

The model that we are working on involves our organization marketing and selling to foundations, NGOs, LGUs and organizations heavily involved with CSR to keep us financially afloat while not straying from our advocacy. As of the moment, we have enough pre-orders to cover our manufacturing for 6 months. We also plan to get the product out in retail and talking to various distributors both from local and international market. Focusing on local market, there are 293 NGOs registered under the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC, 2012). Three categories, namely; environmental, social development, and social welfare, were deemed related to SALt’s product and advocacy. LGUs provide assistance to the residents who have experienced catastrophes or calamities. Thus, SALt can tap LGUs especially those prone to climate and geophysical disasters and those in unelectrified regions in order to deliver their products to these communities.The retail market will bring a great traction potential due to wider demographic. Young adults (age 18-29), middle youth (age 30-44), and mid-lifers (age 45-59) are the most viable age brackets to buy the SALt lamps. These age groups comprise the largest segment of the Philippine population. 

NOTE: Business plan may be forwarded to those party who would like to request for a copy, but due to the confidentiality agreement between the manufacturing company and us, we would have to ask requesting party to submit a signed confidentiality agreement attached with our business plan.

Do you already have customers?

As of the moment, we have enough pre-orders to cover our manufacturing for 6 months. We also plan to get the product out in retail and talking to various distributors both from local and international market. 

Who is in your team?

Aisa Mijeno - Co-Founder & CEO:

She is currently a faculty member of Engineering at De La Salle University — Lipa. Being a member of Greenpeace Philippines, she has traveled many places promoting environmental campaigns. She also loves hiking which brought her to the majestic mountains of Kalinga where it all began. The product concept was formed after living with the natives of the Butbut tribe for days relying only on kerosene lamps and moonlight to do evening chores. Recently, she was elected as the Innovations Lab Director of her University promoting up-to-date, tech-savvy, STEM-centric environment, encouraging creativity among students.

Her interests vary from astronomy to classical music to embedded systems and electrochemistry.

Raphael Mijeno - Co-Founder & CFO:

He is a graduate of Business Management and has worked for an Australian and British firm. He has background in accounting, finance and sales. Naturally born artistic, he has a knack for arts and design. And most of the time he draws and paints when he's away from his computer. His passion to learn new stuff and take on new and exciting challenges is insatiable. He also has a very odd attachment to Wyverns, Dragons and Dragonfolks.

His interests vary from visual arts to cult movies to social engineering and startups.

Joefrey Frias - Chief Design Engineer:

He is a Registered Mechanical Engineer and an active Mechanical Design Engineer for almost 18 years. He started in Philips Semiconductors as Mechanical Design Engineer in Advanced Engineering Department, and was responsible for the design of jigs, fixtures, tools, dies and production equipment for new product introduction. With an obvious realization of the need to provide cost-effective solutions and high quality products, he decided to put up his own business — Frias Mechanical Design and Solutions.

His interests vary from fishing to camping to industrial design and design innovations.

Delia Bahena - Corporate Social Responsibility, Head:

She is a Psychology and MBA degree holder and is currently the Chief of Industrial Relations Office of the National Power Corporation. Working with NPC has brought her to far-flung island communities exposing her to thousands of households that are still living without electricity. She believes that people should make collaborative efforts to bridge the gap between the electrified communities and those who have been neglected by the system.

Her interests vary from nature to travel to biking and hiking and currently in quest of trekking mountains all over the world.

Have you already founded/incorporated your company?

Yes

What is the intended positive impact on the environment and/or society of your venture?

According to UNFPA, kerosene is the main source of energy for 90% of people at the bottom of the pyramid. WHO said inhaling the black carbon coming from kerosene lamp is the leading cause of respiratory infections, serious eye infections, as well as low birth weights. Over the past two years of working on a lighting solution that would eradicate the use of kerosene lamps, we conducted a study to find why kerosene lamps are pervasive in poor household communities and discovered that habit, spending pattern and ease of use are the three main reason people who have been introduced to other alternative light source tend to go back into using fuel-based lighting system. Particularly, the behavioral practice of pouring liquid is deeply wired in their brains that made us decide not to remove that in our system, but instead of pouring kerosene, you are pouring salt water. Our main mission is to eradicate the danger and sustaining cost of kerosene lamps in rural areas.Our organization has been actively promoting and raising awareness in all things involving the use of renewable energy and efforts leaning towards climate change through social media, attending and participating in related events. Our Co-Founder and CEO, Aisa Mijeno, has also been an active member and used to work as a Direct Dialogue Campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines where the team focuses on social development activities which includes electrifying communities without access to electricity by donating alternatives and educating people about the importance of renewable energy, stopping the use of pervasive alternatives e.g. Fuel based lanterns and candles. We have also been very keen in getting key partners who share the same vision and mission of lighting up rural island communities. The impact should be felt through the following areas: financial, health and environment.

How will the Fellowship Program enable you to achieve your ambitions?

Our company focuses mainly on R&D, our core competency, tackling energy problems for rural marginalized communities and innovating for off-grid electrification. We have partnered with a manufacturing company to help us realize our first, flagship and future products and we have already developed a technology pipeline and road map for the next 5 years. Through partnerships and programs like these, it gives us utter confidence of the future for both our social enterprise and academic institution. 

Are you living in the Philippines?

Yes

edited on 8th July 2016, 07:07 by Aisa Mijeno

Matt Jaeggi Jul 12, 2016

Wonderful what you're doing!
Question: do you actually have your products out in the market? If yes, prototypes or serial products?

And a comment regarding the business plan: no need to submit your whole business plan! The requirement is only a short summary of it :) https://impacthubmanila.crowdicity.com/blog/post/249356

keep on lighting the world!

Reply 0

Aisa Mijeno Jul 13, 2016

Hi Matt, appreciate the comment! We have already accomplished the first stage of field testing and about to make improvements with the design then go into low-rate production.

Mini business plan forwarded via email welcome@impacthub.ph.

Reply 1

Priya Thachadi Jul 13, 2016

Its fantastic to see a low-cost product that has the potential to change millions of lives.

As an Impact Investor, I would love to know more on what the revenue model would be longer term. Would it continue to be subsidies/funded projects through CSR/Philanthropy?

Excited to see the new product lines!



Reply 0

Aisa Mijeno Jul 13, 2016

Hi Priya, thank you for the comment!

Our vision is to create more energy solution products based on the technology concept that we developed. We will focus on our core competency: research and development, product design, manufacturing process to bring more technology solutions having renewable energy at the center of product development targeting several demographics. To develop a large-scale, off-the-grid aqueous battery system that makes use of standard and unprocessed saline solution, enough to power-up a household, is our long-term goal.

Democratizing the cost of materials to be used to make the distribution of this technology successful will also be part of the grand scheme of making this system the thing of the future.

Reply 0

Jeremie Diaz Jul 13, 2016

Great innovative simple solution to provide lighting to rural areas and mountainous areas. Any vertical products in the pipeline? For example, a generator that uses your salt-water technology.

Reply 0

Aisa Mijeno Jul 13, 2016

Hi Jeremie, definitely yes. That would be the large-scale, off-the-grid aqueous battery system, our long-term goal.

Reply 0

View all replies (3)

Leon Carlo Valencia Jul 19, 2016

Is this difficult to manufacture? Does it have a long lead time? Perhaps it would also be a good venture to research how to make the manufacturing process efficient. (Plus that could potentially reduce the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process.) I'm asking because I'm imagining having SALt light our city streets. It would be great to engage LGUs about that.

Reply 1

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