MIT Students Install 10,000 Revolutionary Solar Bottle Lamps in Manila Slums

by , 07/29/11

green design, eco-design, sustainable design, Phillipines, MIT, green lighting, humanitarian design, Isang Litrong Liwanag, "A liter of Light", appropriate technology

Currently, millions of Filipinos live without any kind of light source at all, but a band of resourceful MIT students have begun changing that. The students found that a one liter plastic bottle filled with bleach water and installed on top of a metal roof is a surprisingly simple way to light homes that have neither electrical connectivity nor natural lighting. The plastic defracts light and pushes it to every corner of a small slum house instead of beaming it onto one area like a typical lamp might. As part of their Solar Bottle Project, the organization Isang Litrong Liwanag, which means “A Liter of Light,” has already installed 10,000 of these ridiculously basic but amazing lamps throughout Manila.

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The roofs of many Manila shacks are painted black, preventing any kind of light from penetrating what are already depressing dwellings. The solution? Plastic bottles filled with bleach and water are inserted into a hole that is cut into the metal roof, and then sealed off; the bleach keeps the water both clear and free of potential germs. Although water is sometimes scarce in informal settlements, with just a liter, the equivalent of a standard 60 watt light bulb can be installed in less than a hour and works for as long as five years! It’s hard not to love a life-altering design that also happens to cost almost nothing.

+ Isang Litrong Liwanag

Via Fast Company

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  1. Frank Hilario December 20, 2014 at 12:26 am


  2. Jane Rabi December 9, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Someone’s already been doing this in The Philippines.
    Solar Power Philippines – Mang Demi Solar (Bottle…:

  3. Čitanje Grada December 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    MIT student “installs” !!! first of all this eko-light is a concept know and not invented by anyone, it something that happens in places affected with war or poverty, not a project of “brilliant mind ” from first world universities. You didn’t invent anything, this is like claiming the invention of a wheel. I am sooo sick of this carp, pseudo -humanitarian- intelligent cr……p that you are passing as invention. This is not a solution for slams. This is just slapping a bit of make up on open wound.

  4. Aristotle Lee Chia August 18, 2014 at 2:28 am

    erm… why not replace a sheet of the roof with a transparent roof?

  5. kochisma February 26, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Congratulation, smart-full and eco-friendly design which can be developed for modern building design in order to reduce electricity consumption..

  6. Esad August 7, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Neither MIT nor Brazilian, this is a very old style Ottoman Turkish method of Hammam Illumination.

    In this link, you can clearly see the glass bottles of an Historic Ottoman Hammam.

  7. SKYWalkersSG October 7, 2011 at 5:24 am

    I do not think MIT is claiming the invention as their own.
    In this video, even MIT’s Amy Smith is making a “brazilian Solar Lamp”:

  8. Dr_H August 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I agree with Marcello, this invention has been around for over 6 years and originated in Brazil. It is a great idea and should be implemented everywhere, but give credit to where it is due. In fact using Marcello’s link above perhaps it would be a good gesture for the people at MIT to presents the actual inventor with a donation or plaque of recognition. But for MIT (or the author) to claim inventor-ship when this has been around for 6 years, is just lame and bad PR for MIT.

  9. youngfire22 July 30, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    i think its amazing:)just interested to know how well it works at night time?

  10. rixturey July 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    This idea needs to spread all over the world! Awesome

  11. marcello July 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Sorry, but that’s not an MIT invention at all.
    This invention was born in Brazil by the hands of a mechanic.
    I’ll leave the link bellow FIY:,,GIM681129-7823-LITROS+DE+LUZ,00.html

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