BLOG SURF: Trash and treasure

Did you know 10,000 old car batteries from the developed world could power 150,000 homes in the developing world?

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. We all know that. But this concept may allow us to link two markets: the large number of electric vehicles in developed countries, and the off-grid solar market in the developing countries.

For example, a set of old car batteries is a liability in Sydney, Australia, but in Afghanistan or Pakistan it can be a treasure to jump-start an off-grid solar revolution.

Last month, I had the opportunity to discuss off-grid electrification options with the CEOs of a public power utility in Afghanistan and a private utility in Pakistan. Both were keen to bring second-life batteries to their markets.

I found two recent publications very relevant to our discussions.

An article in Green Tech Media notes that cars require very high performance from their batteries, so batteries are retired when the capacity declines to 70-80%.