The Moser Lamp: Daylight For All

by Nigel Hurst on August 22, 2013

I enjoy reading about innovative solutions to existing problems, especially when the idea is incredibly simple and can bring significant living benefits to millions of people worldwide. This blog is about one such success story.

Alfredo-Moser-inventor-da-Lampada-de-Garrafa-PetAlfredo Moser is a little know Brazilian mechanic who struck upon an innovative idea during one of the many blackouts in his town. Dubbed the Moser Lamp, he has brought valuable daylight to work places in his community, and now his invention has spread worldwide.

The lamp is very simply a 2 litre plastic drinks bottle, which is cleaned and filled with water. A little bleach is added in order to prevent algae and other impurities from tainting the contents.

The cap is painted black and sealed in place, then the bottle is pushed through a purpose made hole in the roof and secured with sealant in order to prevent rain ingress. Daylight is refracted through the water, effectively bending the daylight from outside and providing 360 degree illumination to the internal space. No electricity and instant daylight brought into dark, internal spaces.  Experts have measured the light distribution between 40-60 watts, therefore providing similar levels of light to a standard light bulb.

Here is one I made earlier: A test Moser Lamp in a cardboard box, with and without daylight.

Here is one I made earlier: A test Moser Lamp in a cardboard box, with and without daylight.


The idea of using light refraction has been around for hundreds of years, and was often seen on sailing boats where daylight was channelled through prisms deep into the vessel. The innovation with the Moser Lamp is the pure simplicity and almost zero cost, while recycling the ever growing number of plastic drinks bottles which blight our world.  Anyone can make and install the Moser Lamp and instantly bring significant useable benefits to previously dark internal spaces.

01613411230300While windows are good for providing one sided daylight into a space, the light levels fall off very quickly as you move away from them. The Moser Lamp brings multi directional daylight to any space directly below a roof. Even on an overcast day, the daylight floods in.

Shelter, clean water and daylight are all fundamental human needs. While here in the West we take these for granted inside our warm homes as we turn on the tap or flick a light switch, there are many, many people worldwide without such essential necessities. Bringing daylight into our homes and work places has also been shown to have positive effects on our health.

solar-bulb1There are, of course limitations here, as the Moser Lamp cannot store daylight and once night falls the light ends. But during the day, the innovative and simplistic Moser Lamp has now been installed in more than 14 countries around the world.  In the Philippines alone where electricity costs are extremely high, close to 140,000 homes have already benefitted, providing a virtually cost-free solution to efficiently bring daylight inside homes, factories, school and supermarkets.

Thanks to Alfredo Moser and his Moser Lamp, many people are now benefitting from a healthier and easier lifestyle with daylight in their work and living spaces. As for the inventor himself, his invention may not have brought him financial gain, however he has a great deal of pride knowing that he is helping transform the lives of so many people.

About Nigel Hurst :

Nigel Hurst is a Director at Bearing Consulting and a Programme & Project Management Consultant. He has a background as an Architect and has international experience from working on three continents for both public and private sector clients. With over 15 years of professional experience he has delivered a large number of successful projects in the place management and urban development sectors. He also has worked extensively on PPP/PFI projects within the UK market. He was educated in England, Canada and studied architecture at Cardiff University in Wales. He is now delivering a number of projects across Bearings markets in Europe and Africa, where he brings a wealth of stakeholder experience and project skills.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

harry November 26, 2013 at 12:55

you can add the water with phosphors to enhance the refractive phenomenon??

Nigel Hurst Nigel Hurst November 26, 2013 at 15:31

I suspect there would be minimal noticeable difference in the levels of refraction and the brightness of internal light. Keeping the exterior of the bottle thoroughly clean would be more important.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: