8 Inconvenient Truths
About the SALt Lamp
By Kel Fabie with TJ Dimacali
Admittedly, when it comes to the nitty gritty of Science and Technology, I’m pretty much someone who can barely say anything about the topic.
That being said, my curiosity was piqued when I heard about the existence of the Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALt) Lamp, a #PinoyPride-inducing invention by Engineer Aisa Mijeno, which really took the spotlight during the previous APEC held in the Philippines, with no less than POTUS Barack Obama and Alibaba founder Jack Ma heaping praise upon it.
Unfortunately, as we found out thanks to GMA’s resident Science and Technology guru TJ Dimacali, we should really take all this hype about the SALt Lamp with, well, a grain of salt. If there’s anyone who knows anything about science, it’s Mr. Dimacali, after all.
Let’s sober up and go back to the school of hard facts, starting with the fact that…
8. The lamp is not powered by salt and water alone.
While it’s nice to think that you just need to put salt and water into your lamp and you get to have light already, it’s not actually that simple. You see, to make the lamp work, you actually need an anode, which is a piece of metal that serves as the actual power source for the lamp. The disintegration of this anode is what produces the electricity: not the seawater itself. The official website doesn’t try to hide this:
In the end, you still need to regularly replace the anodes and dispose of the saltwater. Seeing how the saltwater spent the past few hours chemically reacting with a metal, you can imagine what condition that saltwater you’re about to dispose of will be. (Hint: you don’t want to just throw that back into the sea. Please, don’t.) This also puts into question how “eco-friendly” this product actually ends up being.
Just like Vince texting Kath that he has a crush on her and hoping they’d get together from there, how SALt works is not that simple.
When is it ever?
In the end, you still need to regularly replace the anodes and dispose of the saltwater with metal from the old anode mixed in with it.
7. SALt is non-renewable.
While it seems we will never run out of salt water anytime soon, what you need to know is that with the SALt Lamp, you are not utilizing a renewable energy source, which puts its supposed minimal environment impact into question. You still use an anode that is exhaustible, and obviously, salt water, while abundant, isn’t exactly infinite, either.
This begs the question: why not focus on building renewable power sources instead, in the first place? Surely, coming up with, say, a super-efficient lamp that stores solar power during the day would be by default better than the SALt Lamp. It’s just too bad solar powered lamps are so rare to come by, rainy season worries or not.
So rare, you guys!
6. Engineer Mijeno is not an electrochemical engineer.
While Engineer Mijeno certainly has her qualifications, the fact remains that she is a computer engineer, and not an electrochemical engineer. Not to slag that achievement, but computers and electrochemistry are two totally different things (or so I’ve heard.). This simply means that we need to remember that her apparent credentials do not match what she’s pushing forward right now. That would be like asking Dr. Dre for medical advice.
Dr. Dre BEATS this advice into you… *dodges tomatoes*
5. Even the President of America can get things wrong.
This should be a no-brainer, considering how many people were picketing Obama during APEC, but even he can get things wrong.
Such as being a fan of Coldplay, for example.
Obama is clearly quoted in most articles as stating that the lamp “runs on salt water,” which we have already established as untrue. For as long as most writers gloss over the fact that an anode is required, you can really expect this misinformation to persist. This misinformation is actually a disservice to what the SALt Lamp is hoping to achieve.