My Reading Light will enable children to continue with their homework after the sun goes down. The unit is durable and robust. A group of Maasai with the portable,rechargeable lantern.(All images: Philips)Janine ErasmusElectronics giant Philips has developed an environmentally-friendly solar-powered reading light that is targeted at the education sector in Africa, giving schoolchildren the means to carry on with their homework after darkness has fallen, especially in communities where electricity supply is erratic or non-existent.In rural communities especially, many children are assigned family chores to do after school, resulting in a race to finish schoolwork before the sun sets. Not only does unfinished homework have to cease, but life in general grinds to a halt in many parts of Africa during the night, affecting economic activities and quality of life.According to Philips, about 1.7-billion people around the world have to choose between total darkness at night, or the potentially dangerous alternatives of candles or kerosene lamps. Of those, about 500-million live in rural Africa, with a scant 2% having access to any electricity in these far-flung areas. In South Africa’s informal settlements hundreds have lost their lives in shack fires caused by uncontrolled flames.Besides the health and safety risks, there are other disadvantages associated with kerosene lanterns – oil-driven prices fluctuate, and low luminosity makes it hard, if not impossible, to read.Light in the darkIn poor homes lighting is one of the biggest expenses, typically accounting for 10-15% of total household income, according to the World Bank. This is an expenditure that gives little in return.As part of a new range of sustainable lighting solutions developed by Amsterdam-based Philips for those with little or no access to electricity, My Reading Lamp is set to eradicate these problems and make a real difference in the lives of many disadvantaged people.My Reading Light is a lightweight reading light with a built-in rechargeable battery that charges under the sun’s power during the daylight hours, and allows its user to read and write in the dark. Children who are forced to close their books when the sun goes down will now have more time to devote to their homework.Sustainable and durableThe sustainable range consists of three solar powered lighting products and a wind-up torch. The former include My Reading Light, a portable lantern with two light level settings that will work for up to four hours, and a complete home solar lighting kit which can provide light for a whole evening.The reading light is constructed in such a way that night reading does not strain the eyes, with patented LED light sources softly and evenly dispersed by an anti-scratch Perspex sheet that covers the page. The battery, once fully charged, provides light for between 3.5 and nine hours, depending on the brightness level. There are three brightness settings, and the battery can be charged more than 500 times.The wind-up torch is powered by a dynamo that provides 17 minutes of light after just two minutes of winding by hand. Light is provided by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which are bright and energy efficient, thus draining the battery at a slower rate than a normal bulb.The three lighting products are expected to be available from mid-2009, while the torch is already on the market. Being portable, all products are of necessity extremely robust and, according to Philips, affordable. The reading light will be available in two versions: a standard and a slimmed down, low-cost version with a consumer price of less than R150 ($15).Still, this amount is almost certainly beyond the budget of those who need it most. However, there is a credit model available that allows customers to pay for the product in small instalments.Win-win situationPhilips Lighting CEO Rudy Provoost said that the new LED-based solar-powered solutions offer a double benefit – “the lives of people in Africa will be generally improved, and LEDs result in a very low carbon footprint”, he commented.Philips has partnered with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Sustainable Energy Solutions for Africa (Sesa) project. Established in July 2008, Sesa’s aim is to provide 10-million people in 10 sub-Saharan countries with affordable and sustainable energy services for lighting, cooking and water purification, by 2015.This is in keeping with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals project, a set of eight goals agreed on by developed countries to improve the lives of people in emerging countries.Philips is working on the technology and distribution, while the ministry is focusing on market development, including entrepreneurial training and support of finance and micro-lending mechanisms.“Giving things away for free often proves unsustainable,” said Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders. “People in rural Africa currently use kerosene and batteries. They will soon be able to buy solar lamps, paying for them in instalments with the aid of micro-credit. After one or two years, they will have paid for their sustainable lamps and the only costs they incur (minor ones) will be for maintenance.”Lighting AfricaPhilips is also involved in the World Bank initiative known as Lighting Africa. Launched in 2007, the programme is jointly managed by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank member.Lighting Africa seeks to involve corporations in developing innovative ways of bringing non-fossil fuel lighting sources, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and light emitting diodes, to Africans who are not connected to any power grid. The World Bank has set the target of bringing affordable lighting to 250-million people by 2030.Related articlesA power plant in your home Power from the South African sunTapping into ingenuityUseful linksPhilips South AfricaUN Millennium Development GoalsLighting AfricaWorld Bank – Lighting AfricaInternational Finance Corporation
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest With milk check butterfat values currently in the $2.50 to $2.70 per pound range and nearly a dollar more than protein, butterfat is where it’s at in terms of dairy producer income today.A high oleic soybean variety that was tested recently at Penn State University for its dairy nutrition applications showed a surprisingly significant impact on raising the milkfat percentage. There was no impact on milk volume or other components and only a slight increase in dry matter intake, which resulted in no effect on feed efficiency in terms of energy-corrected milk.With butterfat doubling in value to average $2.30 per pound over the past three years, a 0.2% increase in butterfat for an 80-pound dairy herd could mean 35 cents per hundredweight to the milk check under normal marketing conditions when milk volume and other components are unchanged.Through a check-off grant from the Pennsylvania Soybean Board, Alexander Hristov, Ph.D., PAS, Penn State professor of dairy nutrition, led a project to evaluate dairy ration performance of three soybean meal sources: conventional, high linoleic extruded soybean meal; extruded Plenish (DuPont Pioneer) high oleic soybean meal; and whole, heated Plenish high oleic soybeans. High oleic soybeans have been grown commercially in the United States for five seasons, and are grown in Pennsylvania and 11 other states.The study was done with extruded soybean meal versus conventional solvent extraction because more of the soybean oil is retained with the extrusion process. Substituting the extruded Plenish variety soybean meal for conventional extruded soybean meal requires no adjustment in dairy rations, according to the study.“We were surprised with such an obvious (0.2%) milkfat percentage increase. The mechanism we think is taking place is the higher level of oleic fatty acids in the Plenish high oleic soybeans versus linoleic fatty acids in the conventional soybeans, and a reduction in the already small level of trans fatty acids in milk,” Hristov said.Not only did the high oleic variety raise milk butterfat content over conventional soybean meal, it changed the composition of the milkfat. The increase in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and some significant decreases in trans fatty acids in the milk are noteworthy for consumers.“The 17% reduction in trans fatty acids is significant,” Hristov said. “These are the harmful fatty acids consumers want to avoid and it went from 3.36% of the total percentage of milkfat to 2.80% in the Plenish diets. Even though those levels of trans fatty acids are relatively low in milk to begin with, the Plenish diets still decreased them further, which is beneficial.“If soybean growers grow more high oleic beans versus conventional because it benefits human food products more, there will be more soymeal going into animal feed with this profile. But the benefits are only realized if the residual fat is in the soymeal (via extrusion or whole roasting). Although this wasn’t studied, it can be assumed that the benefit is close to zero if solvent extraction processes are used versus extrusion.”Hristov describes the research and findings in his paper published in the September 2015 Journal of Dairy Science. The report is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2015-9786.
An independent MLA was on Sunday booked by the Punjab police for allegedly berating Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner publicly at the civil hospital here on the issue of identity of a victim’s body, with the video of the incident having gone viral. In the video, legislator Simranjit Singh Bains is seen shouting at Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujwal even as the officer tries to clear some confusion over the identity of a blast victim’s body. A day after the blast in a firecracker unit here that killed 23 people, Lok Insaaf Party chief and MLA Bains had allegedly berated Ujwal publicly at the civil hospital here. Police have booked Ludhiana MLA and his unidentified 20-odd associates on charges of voluntarily obstructing and assaulting or using criminal force against a public servant from discharging his duty, committing trespass and making criminal intimidation and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. Senior Superintendent of Police Opinderjit Singh said the FIR has been registered on the complaint of Batala Sub-divisional Magistrate Balraj Singh who was also present at the time of incident. Yells at the officer“Eh tere baap da office nahi hai. Eh public da office hai. Te tu public nu hi keh rehan ki bahar jao. (It’s not your father’s office, it’s a public office and you are asking the public to get out),” Mr. Bains is heard yelling at Mr. Ujwal, even as the officer is seen trying to calm the infuriated MLA in the video. “Mera naal gal kar la pehla” (Talk to me first),” the legislator is seen telling the officer earlier in the 45-second video in presence of SSP Mr. Singh, Civil Surgeon Kishan Chand and Deputy SP Balkrishna Singla.Refuses to see reasons With the furious MLA refusing to see reasons, a humiliated Deputy Commissioner is heard merely quipping “I’m not going to talk to you” and seen leaving the place. Reacting to the registration of case against him and his companions, Mr. Bains accused Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of being behind the legal action against him.