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Moser Lamps: How One Man used Plastic to Light up a Nation

Posted on 6th April 2017 Plastic History

In the early years of the Twenty-first Century, Alfredo Moser’s home city of Uberaba in Brazil was plagued by power-cuts. In response to this problem, Moser developed a lamp out of a water-filled plastic bottle. The lamps now provide light to over a million homes worldwide. We’ll take a look at how Moser came up with the idea and give you instructions how to make your own.


An Inspirational Conversation


It was the sort of conversation that comes up wherever you get a group of lads talking amongst themselves. How do you light a signal fire when your aircraft has been downed and you’re out of matches? Alfredo Moser’s boss suggested that you could fill a bottle with water and use this as a focussing lens for the sun’s rays to light your fire. Moser was intrigued, was this possible? He began to experiment. He was unable to light a fire, but what he observed proved more useful. 


The First Lamp


Refraction of sunlight through the water-filled plastic bottle provided a light of approximately 40-60 watts - as bright as an indoor lightbulb. Moser installed one in his roof and was provided with free interior light for as long as the sun was shining.


From One to a Million


Soon his neighbours and the local supermarket took an interest in his invention. The lamps were cheap to make and the sun was more reliable than the local electricity supply. The idea of providing a good source of natural interior light from materials that might otherwise be thrown away spread quickly to other developing nations. The lamps are now in use in over a million homes in countries all over the world.


Make Your Own Moser Lamp   


Moser lamps are mostly used in homes that have roofs of corrugated iron. But, if you want to light up your garden shed for free – here’s how you make your own. 

 

Materials


  • 1-2 litre plastic bottle
  • Black plastic film canister
  • Water 
  • Bleach
  • Silicone glue


Method


Fill your plastic bottle with water and add a couple of teaspoons of bleach to inhibit algal growth. Screw on the bottle cap. This alone would function as a Moser lamp, but the addition of a black plastic film canister will optimise the refraction of the sunlight. Install the lamp so that the top half of the bottle is above your roof and the bottom half below. Seal with silicone glue to prevent your roof from leaking.


Plastic is an extremely useful and versatile material that is being put to use in homes and businesses all over the world. If you think you could be the next Alfredo Moser, then bring your idea into Coda Plastics Ltd and have a chat with our development team. You can contact us on +44 1692 501020 or by email sales@coda-plastics.co.uk.


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