Reinventing the lead-acid battery to help power the developing world
Posting in Energy
San Francisco start-up Fenix International has developed the ReadySet, a lead-acid based battery, housed in a safe, leak-resistant plastic casing tha...
San Francisco start-up Fenix International has developed the ReadySet, a lead-acid based battery, housed in a safe, leak-resistant plastic casing that has plug-in adapters on the exterior shell. The battery can power multiple lights and electronics at the same time. To recharge the battery, users can pedal on a stationary bike, use a mini-solar panel that comes with the battery, or use existing nearby electricity. The ReadySet costs $150 before shipping.
Jun 29, 2011
The problem is the cost...when the local wage for the poor is six dollars a day, I doubt a &150 battery will help most folks who need it the most...if you can afford that, you probably could use the battery from your car or a motorcycle (here, many of our farmers use a motorcycle with a sidecar, e.g. a tricycle..) for lights, candles work fine, and we have both rechargable and crank up radios and flashlights.kral oyun
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Do you really have the expertise and equipment to handle acid soaked plates? Rebuilding a lead acid battery is no simple task. You cannot buy the plates because most people would kill themselves if they tried to do what you ask.
How many times can the battery withstand being charged and discharged? In the African bush, the battery will be cycled 365 times a year, so for a minmum 5 year life, do the math - can the battery meet the expectation?
I have lived off the grid with a solar and wind power system. What I would really like is a battery is not sealed.... one that you can remove the plates for cleaning or replacing without having to drag the whole thing back into town (55 miles away on a bumpy dirt road). I would like to be able to get at the plates and recharge the acid. That would eliminate the recycling problem and keep the batteries reused.
A couple years ago a hurricane (cyclone) came through my area. Normal electric power was knocked out for what turned out to be six days. In order to be able to see at night I plugged into one end a fifty foot AC electrical extension cord and at the other an LED night light. The UPS-powered LED provided more than enough light to enable me to brush my teeth before going to bed, shower and use the bathroom. Many people in more developed parts of the world already have a UPS so all they need handy is a long extension cord and LED light for emergency uses. From what I see, this fellow seems to be reinventing the wheel.
To be really useful outside of the tame, sanitary environment of a US office or home, I would expect something like this to look more like the jobsite cordless tools and radios you see from DeWalt, Milwaukee and Makita. It shoud be tough, have rubber corners, and a big, easy handle on top located at a natural balance point. The current appearance looks like it would get its tame litlle *ss kicked out in the rural country.
SLA batteries (Sealed Lead Acid) have been around for a while and are cheap and nice for this type of use. I just bought a replacement 4v, 4.5ah SLA today for $8.00 to go in a 4-year-old solar powered electric fence unit. It puts a 3,000-volt charge into over a mile of electric fence. Solar panel and all, made in the USA, I paid $120 for it so $160 might be marked up a bit high for just the battery pack and no panel.
sounds like a good idea.. during brown out season here in the rural Philippines, we could power up our diesel generator without having to take the battery out of our jeep.(because the battery to the generator usually goes dead after used once). The problem is the cost...when the local wage for the poor is six dollars a day, I doubt a &150 battery will help most folks who need it the most...if you can afford that, you probably could use the battery from your car or a motorcycle (here, many of our farmers use a motorcycle with a sidecar, e.g. a tricycle..) for lights, candles work fine, and we have both rechargable and crank up radios and flashlights. however, donating them with the recharging bikes might work in places like African villages who don't have any source of electricity. The other question is how long does the battery last? My main problem is that our "rechargable" batteries last only a year or so, and the crankup gears don't last even that long...but of course they're "chinese" made...
I think the availability of separate plates is what he is suggesting. The setup and process was quite common before the REA and wasn't significantly difficult or dangerous. Gloves, goggles and water suffice, and should always be handy even when maintaining your car battery. There is plenty of information on the web on the whole process.