According to the researchers at IBM, nearly around 50 million lithium-ion laptop batteries get discarded every year. If we make use of these batteries, they can be used to provide electricity storage that is sufficient enough to light up homes in poor countries.
In the conference held at San Jose earlier this month, the researches at IBM Research India – Bangalore found that at least 70 percent of all the batteries that have been discarded have enough life left in them. If made proper use of it, they can be used to power an LED light which can last for at least four hours a day for an entire year.
Researchers in India said that millions of batteries that are being discarded with computers have adequate life to power home lighting for one year. Making use of discarded batteries instead of combining LED lights with Solar Panels and rechargeable batteries could make the approach far cheaper.
Vikas Chandan, a Research Scientist at Lab’s Smarter Energy Group and the project leader said, “The most costly component in these systems is often the battery and in this case, the most expensive part of your storage solution is coming from trash.”
The IBM group that is working with a hardware R&D firm – RadioStudio, opened up the entire discarded batteries of the laptop and removed individual storage units known as cells. They then tested those independently and picked up the good ones that are working properly and combined them again to form renovated battery packs. Once this was done, they attached charging dongles and circuitry that helps in preventing overheating, and provided them to five different users in Bangalore who either lived in slums or to hawkers with sidewalk carts.
According to Mohit Jain, a Researcher Engineer within the group stated, when the users were surveyed three months later, they said the battery packs had worked properly but they requested was for rat-resistant wires and brighter bulbs. Currently, testing is being carried out on the revised setup.
This innovation if worked properly really matters as, 1.5 billion people lack access to electricity worldwide. In United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, every year around 50 million laptop and desktop computers are discarded. At the present time in India, nearly 400 million people lack grid-connected electricity.
IBM aims this technology for free to poor countries rather than not using for business purpose.