#TIL: Used Batteries Em-Powering Rural India
By Kajol Maheshwari
The world is actively adopting electric vehicles, but many still do not have access to basic electricity needs, some of them nestled within the megacities of India. With the ongoing research on second-life battery applications, the question arises, can used batteries be a potential solution to the energy crisis in the country?
Lithium-ion batteries last for 5–8 years while performing 500–10,000 charging cycles in an EV and still hold up to 70–80% of their original capacity. This remaining capacity can be utilised in less challenging roles, i.e. stationary storage applications (100–300 cycles per year), lasting another ten years.
One such German-Indian startup, Nunam, is repurposing used lithium batteries as solar ESS. Their pilot project was in collaboration with SELCO providing power banks for solar systems to vegetable vendors that help them stay in business after dark and charge their phones, providing a better and mobile ESS. The Nunam prototype is a mobile 12V battery with a capacity of 18Ah that weighs 2 kgs and is about the size of a car battery. Their prototype costs one-third of the amount spent on candles per month that is Rs.300, by the residents. Moreover, each battery cell has its ID, which determines the cell capacity and enables traceability for end of life recycling. The system provides a carbon-neutral energy storage and is sustainable and resource efficient.
Repurposing batteries in ESS provides a reliable, cheap, and high impact solution to eradicate energy poverty while bringing India closer to its COP26 goals.