Innovation That Matters

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Repurposing used EV batteries into off-grid solar energy systems

Agriculture & Energy

A Kenyan company is delivering cheap solar and water filtration systems by reusing e-waste to develop lithium batteries locally

Spotted: Solar power is a major part of many national decarbonisation plans. And for those living in rural areas, with no access to grid energy, solar power represents a lifeline. One hitch is that it can be expensive for those on low incomes to install solar systems. Inno-Neat Energy is aiming to make this cheaper and easier for those in Kenya. What’s more, because the sun doesn’t always shine, off-grid solar systems need to be paired with energy storage technologies to provide round-the-clock power.

Inno-Neat manufactures solar-ready, repurposed lithium-ion batteries from used cells sourced from e-waste. Repurposing the cells keeps the overall costs low, reducing the price of the system by around 50 per cent compared with brand-new solar energy technologies. It also introduces circularity into the battery waste value chain.

The company told Springwise it is also using the batteries to power its solar-powered water filter, SafiSolar, which is designed to remove contaminants and generate safe water for those in rural communities. This is a vital need, as an estimated 28 million people lack access to safe drinking water in Kenya alone.

Inno-Neat is still in an early stage of growth. It is working with off-grid solar companies to sell the solar and filtration systems, and is signed up with two e-waste companies to supply the cells. The startup has raised some non-equity assistance funding and is now working to raise a target of $250,000 (around €234,000) in equity investment.

Solar power represents a valuable opportunity for many rural communities unable to access grid energy, especially in Africa. In fact, in the archive, Springwise has recently spotted a number of innovations in solar provision from Africa, including solar technology for agricultural use and solar-powered mini-grids in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Written By: Lisa Magloff




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