A solar rechargeable lantern has won an Environment Award for its developers.RUGBY, England, UK, 2001-12-03 [SolarAccess.com] The Glowstar Solar Lantern won the British Engineering Council’s prestigious award for Ray Holland and Oliver Wakelin of Intermediate Technology Consultants Ltd. Once charged, the unit can provide five hours of light, and is designed to have a minimum life of six years with affordable spares. The key component is its Cyclic Valve Regulated Lead Acid battery that can withstand wear and tear of daily use, has zero maintenance, low cost and a low environmental impact. “Technology is central to the protection and enhancement of the environment and engineers are key to providing the innovative and practical solutions needed, says Robert Hawley, chairman of the Engineering Council. “The Environment Award recognizes the achievement of such engineers and pays tribute to the contribution they make to a sustainable future.” The unit is designed for use in countries where there is limited access to power. Rural families in large parts of Africa and Asia rely on candles and kerosene to provide basic lighting, with 96 percent of homes in Kenya using kerosene for lighting, with another 70 percent spending significant amounts of household income on dry-cell batteries for flashlights and radios. Each Glowstar Solar Lantern will cost US$75 and the company reports that it has received enquiries from 30 countries. The lanterns are being manufactured by Sollatek UK, which has extensive distribution throughout Africa and Asia. The Intermediate Technology Consultants also received a Special Award in the Sustainable Engineering Category.