2014.09.17 Yoshiaki Seto
The Great East Japan Earthquake forced us to rethink our energy issues. In its aftermath, the Japanese government began promoting "Zero Net Energy Homes." These homes combine energy-savings with renewable energy to offset energy consumption with energy generation and enhanced energy efficiency.
Take solar power generation systems and electric vehicles, for example. By working together, these systems, which are already being implemented, create energy for charging EV batteries, but in case of emergencies, the batteries can be used to supply energy. Having said that, due to the delay in widespread adoption of EVs and high battery costs, these systems have yet to be widely installed.
Against this backdrop, the incorporated NPO, "Sending Storage Batteries to People without Access to Electricity" has launched very interesting initiatives. They promote independent power generation (which doesn't rely on utility companies, and encourages energy self-sufficiency) in developing countries and in Japan using "revived batteries."
Mr. Ichiro Suzuki, the representative of this NPO, learned about the technology that revives used batteries from Mr. Katsuo Okada, the "Battery Professor," who has studied lead storage batteries for 40 years. If done well, used batteries may be given another life at low costs.
Last year, Mr. Suzuki and his team began conducting surveys in Kenya to launch an electrification project that uses batteries revived with this technology. Approximately 30 million people in Kenya, and 600 million people across Africa live without electricity. By providing revived batteries to areas without electricity these people will have light as well as power to charge their mobile phones.
It's not only the developing countries that need these revived batteries, however. Three and a half years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. So the batteries of solar street lamps donated to afflicted areas have begun to deteriorate. Learning about this situation, Mr. Suzuki and his team decided to use the crowd funding service to launch the project, "Revived Batteries for Afflicted Areas in Miyagi/Higashi Matsushima," to provide revived batteries to these areas.
Mr. Suzuki explained that in Japan, many batteries are being disposed of as waste. "But these batteries can still be used. If revived batteries become more widespread, this may help alleviate the energy issues our world faces today. I urge individuals, corporations, and organizations to donate their batteries so that areas without access to electricity will be able to generate energy independently."