Well, based on the calculator at http://convert-to.com/159/energy-units.html 100 ft-lb = 135.58 J, and by my calculations a 3V LED powered by a 100% efficient generator that draws 20 mA will stay lit for 37.7 minutes. I would estimate for the 3-LED system shown with a 50% efficient power conversion system would give about 6 minutes of light per 5 foot 100 pound lift. That is some big bag to hold 100 lb. The Gravity Light web page talks about a 20-pound weight, and says 18 to 30 minutes of light output per lift. I agree something seems a little off...
There was an article on this at The Register a few weeks ago: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/12/deciwatt_gravity_light/
One advantage of this device is that, other than the LEDs (I think), it is relatively low tech and could be mostly manufactured or at least assembled locally (an economic advantage, not just a hand-out but partly a hand-up) and quite possibly maintained/repaired locally.
I still think that the child-powered (merry-go-round) water well pumps are a little more clever in terms of exploiting an abundant energy source and providing fun.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.