August 25, 2022: Proposals to deploy lead battery technology as part of two projects to provide innovative energy storage systems for an African nation have been drawn up by partners including the Consortium for Battery Innovation and a UK university, the CBI confirmed on August 24.
The CBI has teamed up with Loughborough University, an undisclosed CBI member company and two partner organizations in the East African nation of Malawi, to submit a funding bid to the UK government agency — Innovate UK — for just over £1.3 million ($1.5 million) to develop a novel hydrogen-production energy storage system that uses lead battery components (battolyser).
The Modular Energy Storage with Clean Hydrogen (MESCH) project will, if the funding application is successful, develop a first unit to support operations at a hospital in Malawi.
The system will provide essential backup power and also turn excess solar power into hydrogen for cooking.
A second funding bid for around £300,000-£400,000 proposed to Innovate UK for a separate project, AfTrac, aims to develop ‘micro tractor technology’ powered by lead batteries in support of African agriculture. This project is being led by Loughborough University, with the CBI and another UK organization as partners.
Both funding proposals were under consideration by Innovate UK as BESB went to press.
CBI research and innovation manager Carl Telford, who visited Malawi for talks about the projects earlier this month, said CBI member companies would provide the lead battery technology for MESCH and could possibly supply the AfTrac project too — should the bids be successful.
Telford told BESB: “The role of battery energy storage in low and middle-income economies is becoming increasingly important, because reliable power supplies support health, education, cooking, business and agriculture.
“The proposed projects are also an example of how investments in the further deployment of sustainable, advanced lead battery technology, can energize the wider African continent.”