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Portable batteries bring sustainable power to African villages

By State of Green, 23 Aug 2018

An innovative and scalable battery solution provides electricity to African families, enabling them to connect more equipment when the need arises.

I many small African villages there is no electricity. The inhabitants get light from a petroleum lamp or, in many cases, do not they do not have any light when darkness falls.

One and a half year ago, Steen Kramer Jensen, founder of the Danish start-up PP Power, started developing a solution to replace the petroleum lamp. A solution that can provide the villagers with both light as well as power to charge their mobiles.

-Related news: Danish corporations and organisations selected to lead sustainable development partnerships in Africa, Asia and Latin America

“My objective was to provide power in the small villages in Africa, where there is no infrastructure. It is very expensive to make an electricity grid, so my idea was to establish an energy system where the villagers can go and get their battery charged once a week at a solar power plant and then simply take the battery back home,” said Steen Kramer Jensen.

A multifunctional low-cost battery
The solution is based on a portable and rechargeable battery that connects light and mobile phone charging. There is also a small radio in the battery. In the future, it will be possible to connect 12-volt camping equipment, for instance a small fridge or a small TV to the battery.

-Related news: Around 38,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste recycled per year in Kenya

The owner of the battery charges the battery at the local solar power plant and pays for the power using the local payment solution M-Pesa. The batteries cost two dollars a week.

A scalable solution to secure sustainable light and power
After the batteries was successfully tested on ten selected families in the little Kenyan village of Muskut, agreements with the German-owned Rafiki Power and SolarKiosk, who will distribute PP Power’s solution through their established village solar power plants, were established.

“Through these agreements, PP Power will be able to access approximately 200 villages, which includes 100,000 people without power. Through these distribution channels alone there is a market for 5,000 batteries,” said Steen Kramer Jensen.

Facts
With Peoples Portable Power battery, a family can annually save up to:

  • 500 kg CO₂
  • 10 kg coal dust
  • 200 litre petroleum
  • 10 kg disposable batteries

Thereby reducing health problems, fire risk, pollution of groundwater and global warming.

Source: Energy Supply (in Danish)

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