UK-based battery solutions developer Aceleron and Total Access to Energy Solutions (Tates) have partnered to expand clean energy accessibility and tackle unsustainable battery waste in Kenya by repurposing old battery packs.
Aceleron will convert Tates and its partners’ waste lithium-ion battery cells into repairable, upgradable and affordable long-cycle reusable battery packs to bring cleaner power to more than 800 people in off-grid communities across Kenya and its neighbours – Benin, Rwanda and Libya.
Tates will provide lithium-ion waste material from its solar lanterns scheme, which is a project providing light to Kenyans without electricity access and with low incomes.
The company will also use its network to encourage other companies to contribute their battery waste to the project.
The battery packs – made primarily with electronic waste material – provided by Tates will be ten times more efficient than unsustainable lead acid batteries commonly used in Kenya, lasting three times longer for the same price. This means they are affordable enough to enable off-grid rural communities to benefit, the company states.
The initial £51 000 project is delivering second life batteries at $45 a unit – just $6.50 a year over each battery’s seven-year lifespan. This compares to lead acid batteries in Kenya that cost $12 a year and last just three years.
A major motivation for Aceleron’s founders, Dr Amrit Chandan and Carlton Cummins, is to make batteries more sustainable and tackle the growing mountain of battery waste in Kenya and across the world. Less than 5% of lithium-ion batteries are recycled and the world is expected to generate two-million tonnes of waste batteries every year by 2030.
The project with Tates will run until 2021 and Aceleron is already planning to expand its work to other countries. The company has secured interest from partners across sub-Saharan Africa, including in Nigeria, Liberia, Malawi and Zambia.
It also plans to explore new business models to further increase the accessibility of battery technology, such as leasing large-scale batteries to businesses and communities.
“Sustainability is about more than just emissions; it’s about improving people’s lives. Our circular-economy approach delivers lithium-ion batteries that work better, last longer and are cheaper.
“We are making clean power an option for off-grid Kenyans, making a real impact to their lives by giving them access to clean electricity, while also reducing carbon emissions,” says Chandan.