Discarded Laptop Batteries Could Power Lights: IBM Research Team

IBM’s Indian Research division has found a cheap energy source in the form of thrown away laptop batteries. According to their research, more than 70% of discarded laptop batteries have enough power to keep a light on for four hours a day for one year.

With more than 50 million laptop batteries discarded each year, this research could help rural areas and developing countries across the world.

To effectively use the laptop batteries, the researchers devised a special device called UrJar. Old laptop batteries have lithium-ion cells in them. UrJar makes the best use of these cells to power lights. They picked up good cells from the trashed batteries, combined them with refurbished battery packs and charged dongles and circuits from them.

These batteries and dongles were given to five users in India as a test project. Three months later, the users came back with a positive feedback.

While it is possible to use solar panels and rechargeable batteries for such a device, using thrown away batteries could make for a much cheaper product. Moreover, it will also help resolve to deal with electronic-waste to some extent as well.

Pakistan is suffering through an immense power crisis. Millions of old laptop batteries are thrown in trash each year. Smart solutions like these are needed to bridge the gap between energy supply and demand. They could help street vendors, people in slums and millions of others who are off grid.