Image: ShutterstockIn first world countries, light and electricity may be something taken for granted. When one ambles into a business office, it’s uncommon to marvel at the fluorescents above when they flicker on. All it takes is the simple flip of a switch. The interplay between light and dark literally at one’s fingertips.  

However, that’s not how it is throughout the world.

Most of the over 7,000 islands in the Philippines don’t have access to electricity. One out of 50 households in the Philippines rely on kerosene lamps. But a startup, Sustainable Alternative Lighting, or SALt, is hoping to change that by eliminating the reliance on kerosene-/battery-powered lamps and candles in favor of lighting powered by an abundant resource in the islands, saltwater.

According to the SALt team, the LED lamp “uses the science behind the Galvanic cells, the basis for battery-making, changing the electrolytes to a non-toxic, saline solution—making the entire process safe and harmless.”

According to Gizmag, two electrodes are placed into the salty water.  

The startup was founded by Aisa Mijeno, an engineering faculty member at De La Salle Univ., and Raphael Mijeno, whose background is in accounting, business and finance. Aisa Mijeno is the startup’s CEO, and Raphael Mijeno is the CFO.

Joefrey Frias, a mechanical engineer, is the startup’s COO.     

According to the founders, using the lamp for 8 hrs/day, with proper maintenance, will allow it to have an anode lifespan of six months.

While the lamp can run on tap water and table salt, those living near the coastlines can harness the salinity of the ocean water for lighting. “Salinity is expressed by the amount of salt found in 1,000 g of water. The average ocean salinity is 35 parts per thousand,” according to the startup, which said users can store ocean water in bottles for future use.  

According to the United Nations, the Philippines is the third most disaster-prone country after Vanatu and the Republic of Palau. And the minds behind the SALt lamp have taken that into consideration. The lamp features a USB port and gives users the ability to charge their smartphones when needed.

According to the Huffington Post, the creators hope to get the lamp on the market by 2016.

“We are currently studying our price range,” according to the startup. “We are very keen to target an affordable price that can also support and sustain production.”