Street Lamps Lure Mosquitoes

It’s a Venus flytrap for the streets: A solar- and wind-powered lamp that attracts and captures mosquitoes, aiming to reduce rates of mosquito-borne diseases while illuminating roads.

Developed by researchers at Malaysia’s University of Malaya, the Eco-Greenergy outdoor lighting system consists of an LED street lamp that produces low levels of carbon dioxide to lure mosquitoes.

Head researcher Chong Wen Tong says the smell of CO2, produced by combining ultraviolet light with titanium dioxide, is irresistible to mosquitoes. He says the level of CO2 emitted by the light is relatively low, and the benefits of the clean energy it provides outweigh the emissions.

“The mosquito trap takes advantage of the mosquito’s sensory abilities by tricking them with features that mimic the odours associated with humans,” Chong says.

“Decoyed mosquitoes enter the trap through the capture windows on the upper part, and then are strongly sucked into the capture net in the lower part by a suction fan. Once they are sucked into the capture net, they cannot fly away.”

The light was developed primarily to fight dengue fever, the mosquito-borne viral disease that has increased 30-fold in the past 50 years. The disease has taken particular hold in Asia-Pacific countries, where 1.8 billion people are at risk. Malaysia experienced an unprecedented outbreak of dengue fever in 2015, which killed more than 200 people. In Asia, the economic cost of the disease is estimated at $2bn a year.

Chong says the light’s ability to function on wind and solar energy makes it a viable option in developing countries. “For remote areas with no access to the electrical grid, this system can serve as a stand-alone, self-sustained renewable energy source to supply basic electricity needs. It is scalable to match the energy demand,” he says.

Eight street lamps have been installed at the University of Malaya campus and other sites in Kuala Lumpur as part of a pilot programme. The research team says the first version of the light is ready for market and a licensing agreement with one private company has already been signed.

Source: psfk.comAdded: 5 January 2016