According toWorld Health Organisation, 840 million people currently have no access to electricity, limiting work, personal lives and the ability to connect to the wider world. With electricity demand expected to increase by 70% by 2035, and traditional fossil fuels estimated to be depleted in the next 52 years, an innovative new solution is urgently needed.
Colombian renewable energy start-up E-Dina and Wunderman Thompson Colombia have provided that solution, WaterLight, a portable device that turns a natural resource, salt water, into life-changing electrical power. Half a litre of salt water can provide 45 days of light.
WaterLight uses ionisation, a simple scientific reaction in which salt-water electrolytes react with the magnesium inside the device to produce electrical energy.
As well as functioning as a portable lamp, WaterLight is also capable of charging small appliances such as a mobile phone or a radio via a USB port. While the device is perfectly suited to seawater, it also responds to fresh water mixed with salt and even urine in emergency situations.
To create the forward-facing technology, E-Dina and Wunderman Thompson Colombia looked to the age-old traditions of the Wayúu, an indigenous community living on the remote La Guajira peninsula straddling the Colombian-Venezuela border. Although access to electricity is limited, the arid desert terrain is surrounded by the sea. With the help of WaterLight, the Wayúu will transform sea water, an abundant natural resource into a safe, sustainable way to power their lives, from night fishing to charging mobile phones without the need to travel for miles, creating a sense of connection within the community and to the wider world.
The Wayúu’s rich cultural heritage is further reflected in the waterproof design of the WaterLight device. Its wooden surface is decorated with traditional patterns and symbols of power inspired by from the ancient art of Kanas weaving, with stylised geometric figures representing the sea, fauna and flora of the natural environment. Meanwhile the strap, created by a Eünün (the craftswomen of the community) stays faithful to its artisan roots.
In line with E-Dina’s commitment to sustainability, WaterLight has been created as a long-lasting, 100% recyclable product. It is designed to function for 5,600 hours, which equates to over 230 days or 2 to 3 years of use, and its ability to deliver clean electrical power is global.
Bas Korsten, global chief creative officer, Wunderman Thompson, commented, “WaterLight demonstrates how the holy trinity of technology, creativity and humanity can produce a genuinely ground-breaking idea – one which holds the potential to transform life for millions of people. Cutting-edge innovation will only move the dial so far: to drive real change for a better world, we need ideas with humanity at their core.”
Many developing nations such as Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Gabon, Somalia and Syria are in a similar position to La Guajira, lacking access to energy but with the benefit of a coastline. For governments, NGOs and private organisations seeking sustainable technology solutions for these specific coastal communities, WaterLight represents an innovative, cost-effective option. In addition, with the global refugee crisis set to worsen over the coming years, the device could also prove invaluable for aid charities providing migrants with essential amenities, particularly in situations where resources are scarce.
WaterLight may be purchased by governments, NGOs and private organisations.
Client: E-Dina Energy
Agency: Wunderman Thompson Colombia
Global CCOs: Bas Korsten & Daniel Bonner
Regional CCOs: Sebastián Tarazaga & Dany Minaker
Colombia CEO: Julián A. Mercado
Colombia CCO: Daniel Payán.
Executive Creative Directors: Pipe Ruiz Pineda & Diego Rodríguez
Creative Directors: Giovani Leal, Lukas Vergel, Gustavo Tovar, Rene Rojas & Felipe Santana
Copywriters: Daniel Payan, Pipe Ruiz Pineda, Lukas Vergel, Giovani Leal, Felipe Santana
Art Directors: Diego Rodríguez, Rene Rojas & Gustavo Tovar
Account Director: Natalia Grecco A.
Account Executive: Alejandra Duarte
UX Director: Ricardo Arévalo
UX – UI Designer: Paula Lozano
Project Manager: Luisa Páez
Web Developer: Hector Andrés Suárez
Community Manager: Andrés Peña
Digital Designer: Paula Ramirez Doncel
Motion Graphic Designer: Nicolás Arevalo
Industrial Designer & 3D Artist: Miguel Mojica
Editor & Colourist: Alejandro Cartagena
Production Company: Oriental Films
Director: Santiago Jalid Forteza
Director of Photography: Adrián Nogueira
Executive Producer: Mathias Esmoris
Field Producer: Jairo Castiblanco
Sound Engineering: Ángela Blanco
Music: Diego Caceres