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Battery expert powers up

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Battery expert powers up

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BARBADIAN CARLTON CUMMINS’ pioneering mission to transform end-of-life batteries (EoL) into energy storage solutions has secured a major financial boost in England.

On the heels of recognition by Forbes and being highlighted by the British Broadcasting Corporation, the London-based innovator also secured the accolade of a top young entrepreneur in the United Kingdom (UK).

This comes as the co-founder of clean technology start-up Aceleron, and his business partner co-founder Dr Amrit Chandan, start Project ZEBRA (Zero Emission Vehicle Battery Re-manufacturing for Energy Storage) with partners Blue Vine Consultants and ALP Technologies.

The project is intended to demonstrate that EoL automotive batteries “can be safely disassembled, tested and rebuilt into energy storage devices”. This include being used to store electricity in low cost developing regions.

Cummins recently received a $74 000 injection when he was named the 2016 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award Winner. He has already won $12 200 in Shell LiveWIRE’s Smarter Future Programme. This combined $86 400 is expected to help Aceleron develop its technology and progress “to the next level”.

It means that through the ingenuity of a young Barbadian, the UK, which ships batteries overseas at “significant” cost, now knows how to “waste manage” lithium-ion batteries.

In the process developed by Cummins, Aceleron is able to identify used batteries for reuse and then package them into energy storage modules for other applications. To date, more than 1 000 batteries have been processed using Aceleron’s technology.

Reacting to his receipt of the coveted Shell award, Cummins said: “I’m stunned and surprised at this amazing achievement. When I entered Shell LiveWIRE, I never thought I’d get this far. It’s a fantastic endorsement for our business, and I’m personally very proud to be named Young Entrepreneur Of The Year.

“The financial support and feedback we’ve received is going to make a huge difference to taking our battery waste technology to the next level.”

Outside of his innovative idea, one of the main reasons the authorities in the UK are so interested in Aceleron’s solution is because “over the next three to four years in the UK, nearly three million kilogrammes of battery waste is expected to come from electric vehicles purchased within the last five years”.

Aceleron developed a testing process to not only identify which batteries could be reused, but also to measure how much energy was stored in them. Cummins and his partner also established “robust assembly hardware which allows the viable cells (the part of the battery that stores energy) to be repackaged for new applications like energy storage”.

Aceleron also has “a unique battery management system . . . designed to ensure the battery cells operate safely in their new applications”.

In terms of Project Zebra, which is supported by InnovateUK and the the UK Department for International Development, EoL automotive batteries will be transformed into energy storage devices that “improve the lives of people who do not have regular access to electricity”. (SC)