Five applications of Renogy solar systems

Renogy solar systemsRenogy is a well-known brand focused on designing solar panels, solar kits, charge controllers, inverters, deep cycle batteries, battery chargers, accessories, and wiring. Solar panels or solar kits from Renogy as well as its components develop Renogy solar systems.
Renogy solar systems have a wider range of applications including cabin, boating, RV solar as well as solar for other outdoor activities such as camping and fishing. On the other hand, Renogy solar systems have broader applications for commercial solutions such as in agriculture, logistics, and information technology.

1. Solar home systems

    Renogy solar systems are used as power back systems during power outages. They can also be used for cottages or small remote areas and semi-permanent installations that need power on an occasional basis. Renogy solar systems are also used to support sustainable living using solar energy. Examples of Renogy solar systems for powering homes include: Package 1: Tiny House, (1200 Watts), Package 2: Cottage (2500 Watts) & Package 3: Villa (4800 Watts).

    2. Agriculture:

      Renogy solar systems are used for irrigation purposes to power solar water pumps especially for remote areas not connected to the grid. Renogy solar systems power generators, lighting, water pumps etc. thus powering agriculture with sustainable energy. Learn more about Renogy solar systems for agriculture.

      3. Logistics and solar for RV vehicles

        solar panelsRenogy solar systems are used in freight trucks providing off-grid power to power liftgates, HVAC systems, entertainment etc. For instance the Renogy 400W Monocrystalline Solar RV Kit with 30A Charger Controller is designed for off-grid solar panel system, Caravan, RV, boat, Green house Solar panel system.

        4. Street lighting and Information Technology (IT)

          Renogy solar systems are used to power street lighting and security cameras. In IT, Renogy solar systems are used to power data centers helping businesses to run greener and smarter at the same time. Renogy solar systems power the Internet of Things (IoT) networks helping businesses to stay connected with real-time analytics. Learn more about Renogy solar systems for street lighting and information technology(IT).

          5. Outdoor activities

            Renogy solar systems have portable solar solutions for powering your outdoor activities, including camping, fishing, boating helping to support sustainable living. For instance, the Renogy Phoenix 246.24Wh/150W Portable Generator is an all-in-one portable solar power system specifically designed for mobile, off-grid applications, and is ideal for emergencies.

            Method cleaning products

            Method cleaning products use plant-based and a few mineral-based chemicals in their formulation. Some of the mineral-based or synthetic chemicals used in the formulation of these products are used mainly as a pH adjuster or fragrance.

            Method cleaning products are made with plant-based or biodegradable ingredients and packaged on recycled bottles ensuring sustainable design. Natural ingredients for these products are derived from plants such as corn and coconut or natural citric acids. According to Method, the formulations of their cleaning products utilize advanced green chemistry technologies to create strong and safe formulations that are good for their consumers and the environment.

            Also, the formulation for different method cleaning products follows the precautionary principle i.e. if there’s a chance an ingredient isn’t safe, they don’t use it in the formulation. In addition, Method all-purpose cleaners undergo a 3rd party assessment where all method ingredients are rigorously evaluated by an independent material agency for health and environmental safety. Learn more here about Method cleaning products.

            Three simple sustainable options for small businesses

            sustainable optionsIt is always advisable to conduct a comprehensive audit to understand what sustainable options that would have high impact for your triple-bottom-line, however sometimes you just want to get started to enjoy the benefits of implementing sustainable options. To start with, you can consider doing projects that have a high probability of success or focus your efforts on projects that make good business sense i.e. good for the sustainability and profits of the company. This blog attempts to capture a few low hanging fruit sustainable options, especially for small & medium-size businesses that may be interested in implementing low-cost sustainable options to save money or time and material resources such as energy:

            1. Plan an energy efficiency project. Small businesses may not have the finances to conduct a comprehensive energy audit that requires capital intensive modifications but could start with a walk-through audit to visually inspect each of the energy-using systems. Ideally, a walk-through energy-audit will perform a preliminary analysis of energy use or consumption to obtain the energy trends and patterns while benchmarking with other similar facilities. Small businesses can also consider performing a benchmarking audit which is faster because of the use of online tools such as the EPA ENERGY STAR portfolio manager. This online tool which is created by the EPA is a great tool that can be used to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. This tool is free to use and it is recommended for users to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings in a secure onlineenvironment. It is easy to use and it can be used to manage the energy use of any building.
            2. Implement solar photovoltaics (PV) project: Most solar projects especially commercial solar projects can be capital intensive, but in most cases, companies don’t have to own the PV system using flexible financing mechanisms such as the power purchase agreement (PPAs) and leasing financing models that allow companies to buy solar power at slightly lower rates compared to utility rates. EnergySage which is an online solar marketplace is a great starting point that online users can be used to estimate their solar potential, savings and get financing for their solar energy projects. At EnergySageyou will also have access to multiple solar quotes from your local solar installers.
            3. Consider using recycled paper for your office:Buying recycled paper may not have a direct impact on your bottom-line, but the indirect benefit this practice has on sustainability can be considered a high impact. Green America has made estimates for the sustainability impact of how recycled paper can have on environment and climate. According to Green America, recycled paper use saves resources and reduces the paper industry’s impact on the planet. For instance, using 100 % recycled copy paper instead of 100% virgin fiber paper saves: 100% of the trees, 31% of the energy, 53% of the water, and produces 39% less solid waste. In case, you consider, recycled paper, Amazon sells several brands of recycled paper. For instance, this example of 100% post-consumer recycled printer and copier paper for everyday use is made in the USA from recycled food and beverage containers and other paper-based printed materials.

            These are just a few examples of low hanging fruit sustainable options that can be implemented by small or medium-sized businesses. Learn more about greening your business here for more details. To learn more for instance about energy audits and the concept of sustainable business or sustainability, check out the following books on Amazon.

            • Handbook of Energy Audits 9th Editionto learn more about energy auditing in buildings and industry. Topics include energy assessment and computer software, etc.
            • A circular economy handbook to learn more how engaged businesses are now increasingly re-thinking product design, material choices, business models and supply chains, and adopting the principles of the circular economy.

            Steps to install renewable energy systems for your facility

            renewable energyUnlike non-renewable forms of energy such as fossil fuels, renewable energy systems utilize unlimited resources that are replenished time after time. Most countries are endowed with renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, small hydro, etc. Depending on what renewable energy resources are available in your location, it is important to determine their technical and economic potential before tapping the resource to produce energy such as heat, or electrical energy. This blog attempts to capture the steps to renewable energy for your home or business facility.

            Steps to renewable energy systems

            1. Determine your renewable energy potential
            2. Assess the different renewable energy resources available to you based on location and site-specific parameters. For instance, biogas production is best suited for farms that regularly collect liquid, slurry, or semi-solid manure with little or no bedding.

              Any site with water drops and flows; natural waterfalls, small weirs/dams, and industrial flows can be potential sites for small hydropower that can be obtained from the flowing water on your site. To get the renewable energy potential for small hydro, you can start by determining the head (the vertical distance the waterfalls) and the flow rate i.e. the quantity of water falling. To do this you can consult a small hydro specialist in your local area. We have captured below details on how to obtain a list of these renewable energy installers whether biogas or any other renewable energy installer.

              When it comes to solar power, determining the potential to install solar panels is much easier than for bioenergy or small hydro because of the easy access to online solar calculators that make it much faster to calculate your site-specific solar potential. EnergySage has a platform where online users can just plug in the address of their home or business in the USA to obtain their solar potential instantly. To learn more about how you can obtain your solar potential despite your location, check this article. Also, you can get in touch with a local solar professional to schedule a solar assessment.

              2. Energy efficiency first before installing renewable energy options Most countries have a good solar energy potential and hence solar power can be harnessed in almost every location on earth unlike wind, small-hydro or geothermal which are largely site-specific. However, before considering adopting a renewable energy system, it is advisable to perform an energy assessment of your home or business facility to understand your energy consumption profile. An energy audit will help to identify energy efficiency measures that can be implemented to reduce or eliminate any energy wastage. For instance, lighting system upgrades & controls (including LEDs) and buying or upgrading your home appliances to Energy Star appliances can result in huge significant savings for your home or business. Learn more here about energy efficiency.

              3. Identify renewable energy installers, renewable energy rebates, and incentives for your local area USA residents interested in going solar can consider the EnergySage to obtain multiple solar quotes from pre-screened solar installers. SunPower has some of the best solar panels in the world and has expanded operations to Europe, Asia, Asia Pacific, Australia, Africa, and the Middle East. Also, solar Business Hub provides a directory with a list of solar installers around the world.

              Renewable Energy Hub provides a platform for online users in the UK and USA for most renewable energy installers. For instance, Renewable Energy Hub USA enables people, communities, businesses, and institutions across America to connect with trusted, reliable advisers, and installers. Using this platform, you can learn all about current renewable energy technologies, energy-saving products, services, grants, federal and state incentives.

              Find out from relevant government authorities about renewable energy incentives or grants that you can benefit from to help reduce the cost of your renewable energy system even more. The initial capital investment required for your renewable energy install can often be perceived as somewhat daunting, there are various ways to reduce it using tax incentives and rebates. However, every renewable energy project is different, find more about how to reduce for instance the cost of your solar panels. Learn more here.

            Five factors to consider when interested in renewable energy

            renewable energy resourcesHere at reneenergy.com, we strive to provide information to help you with your going solar or other renewable energy options that are available to you. Most resources shared on our blogs are USA based and hence are specific to the US context.

            However, we have received questions recently from people who are not from the USA about how to go solar specifically in their respective countries. As a result, this blog attempts to generalize some aspects of knowing how to adopt solar or other renewable energy technologies based on socioeconomic, clean energy technological options as well as policy and regulatory frameworks that affect how you benefit or install renewable energy technologies for your home or business. This particular blog will just capture these factors in general and we will attempt to be specific and capture more details in our future blogs:

            1. Before adopting clean energy resources, you want to assess whether this is the right decision for your household or business. Any renewable energy option adopted is based on your energy needs and its applications and whether it makes economic sense. Environmental or sustainability reasons are other aspects that affect, especially businesses to adopt renewable energy in order to reduce their carbon footprint and help to achieve their sustainability goals. For instance, assessing whether solar is right for your home or business can be determined by how much you can save with going solar or whether you have a reliable source of power. Power outages are one issue that causes people and businesses to look for alternative sources of energy like solar plus battery energy storage. Many power outages occur during peak hours when there is very high energy demand that cannot be met by the existing capacity on the grid.
            2. Many rural communities remain not connected to the grid due to the scattered nature of these rural communities. As a result, many private companies in the energy business may find it unprofitable to invest in building the grid infrastructure. As such, these communities rely on government or donors to build this infrastructure which may take years to construct and it requires a lot of investment because the grid has to be extended at long distances with scattered households. Renewable energy resources come in handy in such a context. Consequently, many governments and donor programs such as the World Bank targets these rural communities with clean energy solutions such as solar photovoltaics (PV). For instance, the World Bank has conducted various studies and implemented many programs for rural electrification using solar photovoltaics for years.
            3. The policy and regulatory framework for renewable energy technologies vary from one country to another. For instance, some countries don’t have the net-metering policy—an arrangement for grid-connected solar photovoltaics that allows the solar host to obtain credit towards their electric bill by installing a bi-directional power meter. There are much other policy and regulatory issues that vary in from the country to country.
            4. Renewable energy technologies have different characteristics that enable them to fit in different settings based on affordability, site-specific parameters, design, and energy requirements in question. For instance, because of the intermittent nature of solar/wind and perhaps not connected to the grid; a battery energy storage system may be needed in some cases.
            5. The socioeconomic factors also determine the various types of renewable energy resources or sustainable technology that can be implemented, for instance, to solve lighting and cooking issues using clean technologies:
                – Solar PV comes with different solar technologies to solve lighting and other energy needs.

                – Biofuels including biodiesel and bioethanol provide cooking energy solutions and other clean energy solutions such as for productive use and agriculture. For instance, using sustainable biofuels to power gen-sets for pumping water or irrigation.

                – Wind-powered solutions for residential, commercial and farms in the rural areas.

                – Energy efficiency solutions for homes and commercial places.

            Lithium-ion batteries for your solar PV system

            Lithium-ion batteries are now widely used in very many applications and hence are becoming an everyday part of our lives. These applications include but not limited to laptops, electric vehicles to stationary and building-sized applications. This rapid change has been enabled by the reducing price of lithium-ion batteries which has dropped more than 70% between 2010 and 2016. 

            Battery electricity storage (BES) using lithium-ion batteries seem to have a similar story of price reduction just like solar photovoltaics (PV) which dropped in price with over 60% in the last decade. As a result, solar + storage is now a common product sold to businesses and homes by solar companies such as Tesla that are able to provide the Tesla power wall and solar panels. Other quality solar battery power systems offering reasonable prices are the Enphase AC Battery and SonnenBatterie Eco.

            The lithium-ion batteries are the new generation of battery energy storage advancing from the traditional lead-acid based deep cycle battery technology. Lead-acid batteries are widely used in many sectors because they cost less upfront, but they have a shorter lifespan and require regular maintenance to keep them running properly unlike lithium-ion batteries which are more expensive up front, but maintenance-free and have a longer lifespan. According to EnergySage, a lead-acid battery system cost a few hundred or thousands less than a similarly sized lithium-ion setup. Lithium-ion batteries for solar power systems can cost anywhere from $5000 to $15000 including installation and this is dependent on the size of the PV system.

            Based on chemistry there are various types of lithium-ion for battery electricity storage that are produced by different battery manufacturers such as Discover, SimpliPhi, etc. The term “lithium-ion” refers not to a single electrochemical couple but to a wide array of different chemistries, all of which are characterized by the transfer of lithium ions between the electrodes during the charge and discharge reactions. Li-ion cells do not contain metallic lithium; rather, the ions are inserted into the structure of other materials, such as lithiated metal oxides or phosphates in the positive electrode (cathode) and carbon (typically graphite) or lithium titanate in the negative (anode). Lithium-ion chemistry combinations include Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP); nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC);lithium manganese oxide (LMO ), nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA) and lithium titanate (LTO). Generally, the various material combinations or chemistry of lithium-ion batteries yield unique performance cost and safety characteristics.

            The different chemistries allow for battery energy storage optimization to meet various performance and operational objectives (IRENA, 2017). As such, different electrode or electrolyte selections may be used to design for different applications where reduced costs or high power or high density is required. For instance, lithium titanate (LTO) batteries have very good thermal stability, long cycle life-time, high rate discharge capability and has no solid electrolyte interphase issues (IRENA, 2017). However, LTO batteries will be cost-prohibitive because of the high cost of titanium and will have reduced cell voltage and low energy density compared to lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide which can be tailored for high power or high energy stable thermal profile and can operate at high voltage.

            EnergySage Buyer’s Guide for Solar Batteries

            EnergySage has prepared a comprehensive solar batteries guide where consumers can browse hundreds of solar batteries from top manufacturers around the world. Solar batteries can provide numerous benefits, especially for property owners in areas that experience demand or time-of-use charges or where net-metering policies are limited in terms of compensation from the grid. Essentially, electricity demand tracks the total amount of energy that is being consumed at a given time. The more devices using electricity at the same time, the higher the customer’s demand charge.

            As such, solar batteries can reduce demand charges and provide resiliency, while adding value to solar installations at the same time. When you install a solar battery alongside a solar panel system, you can store extra solar electricity produced by your panels for later use after the sun goes down. Learn more about other aspects of going solar such as obtaining solar quotes and using the EnergySage buyer’s guide for solar panels, solar batteries, and solar inverters. See this solar resource for more details.


            Reference:

            IRENA (2017), Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030, International Renewable Energy Agency.

            Why energy storage systems make sense for renewables

            energy storage systems

            Energy storage systems enable the ability to store excess renewable electricity for use at a later date. For instance, when it comes to solar power, energy storage is used within off-grid or hybrid solar power systems, which require power to be used at night when there is no sunlight or as a backup solution during power outages.
            There are various technologies for energy storage depending on how energy is stored for later use, including but not limited to pumped-hydro, compressed air, flywheels, batteries, and thermal energy storage. In addition, new energy storage technologies are currently under development such as flow batteries, supercapacitors, and superconducting magnetic energy storage. You can learn more about these energy storage systems at EPA.gov.

            Batteries as energy storage technologies are becoming increasingly important to the power industry and for powering electric vehicles. One of the batteries that have become widely used is the lithium-ion battery which has been implemented in many locations, especially in the USA. The Tesla Gigafactory is one example where batteries are produced for energy storage systems for solar PV systems and electric vehicles. As such, solar produces clean energy during the day and Tesla’s Powerwall can store energy to power your home at night or during an outage.

            When it comes to batteries, there are various types of battery storage systems that use different technologies based on chemistry that enables energy storage capability. For instance, solar batteries used to store excess solar power include four (4) types of batteries, including AGM, GEL, Flooded, and Lithium-ion batteries. These solar batteries use different chemistry or chemical composition to enable energy storage capability. For example, lithium-ion batteries as a group have the advantage of high specific energy as well as high energy and power density relative to other battery technologies because of their chemistry. Lithium-ion batteries usually have a cathode made of a lithium metal oxide, while the anode is often made of graphite.

            The advantages of Li-Ion batteries are that they last longer, are more efficient, have a greater energy density, and require no maintenance compared to traditional lead-acid batteries. Great applications for li-ion batteries include backup energy storage for residential and commercial places. Lithium-ion batteries are also used by installers and power utilities to ensure a long-term, hassle-free, emergency backup power supply. In general, energy storage has become an important component for variable renewables such as solar and wind to enable excess power to be stored in batteries when solar or wind generation is high to be later used when power generation is low.

            Against this background, this blog attempts to capture about four (4) reasons why energy storage systems are increasingly used with renewable energy systems:

            energy storage systems

            1. The reducing cost of energy storage systems and the increasing demand of variable renewable energy

              Because of the increasing demand of energy storage technologies, their cost has been falling rapidly and by the year 2030, IRENA estimates that the installed cost of battery storage systems could fall by over 50%. The declining cost in the wind and solar and the increased focus on adding renewables to the grid is driving the interest to lower the cost of energy storage. For instance, the price of lithium-ion batteries has fallen by about 80% over the last five years according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) enabling the integration of storage into solar power systems. Also, there has been a tremendous increase in the amount of energy storage that is been deployed. A market research firm, Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables has forecast that energy storage systems will increase to top 5.4 gigawatts and the market value is forecast to increase from $720 million today to $5.1 billion in 2024.

              energy storage systems

              2. To increase solar and wind penetration in the grid

                With the increasing penetration of renewable energy into the grid, energy storage has become an important component for variable renewables such as wind and solar. Utilities are using energy storage systems to counter the intermittent nature of variable renewable energy. Energy storage systems store excess electricity during off-peak periods and use it when the demand for electricity is high. Using energy storage systems help to stabilize the grid with the increasing penetration of variable renewable energy.

                3. To reduce time of use (TOU) charges and other charges

                  Energy storage for renewable energy consumers can help to save more energy when the utility bill charges such as consumption, demand, and time of use (TOU) charges are well applied and understood. Energy storage systems can help to reduce demand charges by charging for instance batteries when the demand at the facility is low and discharging when the demand at the facility is peaking or high i.e. applying peak saving. Also, energy storage can reduce TOU charges by charging when the energy cost is low (e.g. in the middle of the night) and discharging when the energy cost is high (e.g. late afternoon). By reducing demand charges and TOUs, renewable energy consumers can reduce their utility bills significantly by charging and discharging when it is needed.

                  4. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel sourced electricity

                    energy storage systems
                    Energy storage can allow renewable energy consumers to displace more fossil fuel sourced electricity by storing any excess power generated during the day in the case of solar power and discharging during peak hours when it is highly needed. New energy storage systems can allow storage of electricity generated from wind and solar on shorter time frames to smooth variability, and on longer cycles to replace even more fossil fuels. For instance, new energy storage systems like flow batteries have relatively little degradation of their fluids or electrolyte solutions giving them longer charge-discharge cycles and longer life spans. They can also be scaled to match growing needs relatively by increasing the amount of fluid in the tanks. As such, reducing electricity sourced from fossil-fuels or reducing fossil fuel dependence will eventually help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

                    Earth Day 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

                    Earth Day 2020Earth Day 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day although unfortunately, the world is facing global sustainability issues such as COVID 19, climate change, and other issues.
                    Achieving sustainability is a work in progress and calls for a constant evolution of technologies, ideas, and concepts to develop solutions that are practical and effective. Sustainability solutions will be resilient and focused on overcoming technical and policy barriers that prevent the uptake of sustainability in different sectors of society.

                    As of today, the world is experiencing some of the pressing global challenges that we probably have not experienced in our lifetimes. Clearly, technology will not or does not provide all the answers that we need today, however, it will help to speed up or assist in moving us towards a sustainable path. Technological solutions are just one part of the big picture as other solutions include policy, regulations, sustainable business as well as innovative financing options that are effective to promote sustainability from a systems’ perspective.

                    Technology can be broadly defined as the entities, both material and conceptual created by the application of mental and physical effort to achieve some value. Technological change, on the other hand, can refer to several yet compatible concepts involving an improvement in technology or technological progress. According to Rogers (2003), the idea of technological change underpins a social process involving adopters and others who are profoundly affected by its cultural setting, political institutions, and marketing strategies.

                    Sustainability calls for new concepts and ideas to reverse, for instance, the effects of climate change. Solar photovoltaics (PV) is just one of many of the new technologies to help in sustainability efforts. IRENA notes that renewables such as solar PV and energy efficiency offer a safe, reliable, and affordable way to achieve massive decarbonization in line with keeping the rise in global temperatures “well below 2°C”. IRENA’s analysis shows the combination of renewables, energy efficiency and increased electrification could achieve 90% of the reductions needed in energy-related emissions.

                    wind power
                    Renewables are also becoming cost-effective and with time we have seen for example solar power at grid parity. Grid parity is the point when the cost of alternative energy becomes equal to or less than electricity from conventional energy forms like fossil fuels. As such, renewable energy subsidies are now been phased out, and, in the USA for instance, the investment tax credit (ITC) to support consumers in switching to solar was reduced at the beginning of this year from 30% to 26%.

                    Now, the solar investment tax credit is available to homeowners in some form through 2021. In 2020 & 2021 owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 26% or 22% of the cost of the system from their taxes respectively. The ITC will then be reduced to 10% available for only owners of new commercial solar energy systems while there will be no federal credit for residential solar energy systems’.

                    Furthermore, IRENA’s analysis of renewable energy shows that the cost of electricity from renewable energy technologies has fallen steadily and even dramatically in recent years, and since 2000, especially for solar and wind generation and are now seen as viable commercial options. Also, power generation from renewable sources and technologies has become competitive with fossil-based or nuclear power.

                    biogas technology

                    Food waste is another issue that has become a huge sustainability issue over the last decade. In particular, food waste is a major source of methane (CH4) which is one of the most potent gases that is causing climate change. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming. Hence, reducing food waste around the world would help curb emissions of planet-warming gases, lessening some of the impacts of climate change such as more extreme weather and rising seas.

                    With these sustainability challenges, it is clear that Earth Day 2020 presents us with an opportunity to contribute to efforts of fighting sustainability issues facing planet Earth and there so many solutions as we have captured above. Here at reneenergy.com, we want to thank you for your continued support and for subscribing to our blog posts. Thank you again. Please subscribe below if you haven’t to keep you posted about our blog posts.



                    How and where to dispose of batteries in a sustainable way?

                    where to dispose batteriesThe battery technology just like solar PV technology continues to advance and today there are various types of batteries being used to help power equipment or store energy for electricity. As the solar PV sector continues to grow whether with on-grid or off-grid solar applications; the battery technology will help to accelerate the increased adoption of solar PV in domestic, commercial and utility sectors and other renewable energy technologies that are intermittent in nature like the wind energy.
                    Similarly, with the rapid development of electric cars in various countries, it means that we will see the demand for battery technology continue to grow exponentially. Solar PV and electric vehicles(EV) will definitely demand increased usage of the battery technology among other sectors that require batteries such as agricultural, commercial or even the household sector where batteries are used for TV remotes, flashlights, children’s toys and small electronics like cellphones.

                    However, even with these technological developments; how and where to dispose of batteries after their useful life is completed is one aspect of sustainability that will need to be tackled from a system thinking perspective. At the development stage of these batteries, it calls for implementing sustainable design to make it easy to recycle most of the components of the battery technology in question. For instance, researchers at the IBM research unveiled recently a new battery technology that will eliminate the need for heavy metals in battery production hence improving sustainable design.

                    As such, before looking into proper ways of disposing batteries, it is good to know what batteries are, the different types of batteries, and what they are made up of, making them something that requires proper disposal. Well, batteries are a collection of one or a group of cells that undergo various chemical reactions to create a continuous flow of electrons in a circuit.

                    Battery cells are generally classified into three components that is the anode, also known as the negative electrode, cathode, also known as the positive electrode, and finally, the electrolytes. For sustainability, the battery chemical composition will matter as it will guide how a battery will be disposed of after its useful life. For instance, in the USA, when it comes to lead-acid batteries, 99% of these batteries are collected and recycled.

                    However, according to the World Economic Forum, recycling lithium-ion batteries is a bit challenging due to the diversity of cell types and the broad range of materials such as an alloy of cobalt, nickel, and copper that may require manual sorting and handling or even smelting (pyrometallurgy) to recover individual metals or battery raw materials such as cobalt carbonate.

                    Types of batteries

                    There are many types of batteries classified according to their chemical composition, formation factor, size, and the purpose they serve. They include:

                    1. Primary batteries: These are a kind of batteries that cannot be recharged once fully used. These batteries are made up of electrochemical cells that their electrochemical reactions can also not be reversed. This kind of battery is usually used in devices that require no charging. Primary batteries are made up in a way that they provide high specific energy, and whenever used, the devices consume little power to ensure the battery has a long life span. The most common kind of primary batteries is alkaline batteries. They have higher specific energy levels, are environmentally friendly, and are cheaper to purchase.
                    2. Secondary batteries are the direct opposite of primary batteries. Secondary batteries can be recharged, and their electrochemical cells and electrochemical reactions can be reversed when all the energy has been fully used up. The secondary batteries are commonly known as the rechargeable batteries. Secondary batteries can be classified into different groups depending on their chemistry or chemical composition.
                      1. Lithium-ion: they are also known as Li-ion batteries. They are used in smart devices such as mobile phones and other battery home appliances. It has Lithium electrodes on it.
                      2. Nickel Cadmium: Also known as Ni-Cd batteries. They are made up of nickel oxide hydroxide chemical and the metallic cadmium as the electrodes.
                      3. Nickel-Metal hydride. This kind of batteries has the same chemical reaction to Ni-Cd batteries, which is nickel oxide hydroxide. Although, a negative electrode uses hydrogen-absorbing alloy, but not cadmium like the Ni-Cd batteries.solar battery
                      4. Lead-acid batteries: Lead-acid batteries are cheaper efficient power batteries that are used in heavy-duty applications. They are usually used in instances where they are non-portable because of their weight. Lead-acid batteries are used in an application that includes vehicle batteries for ignition and lighting and also as solar-panel energy stores. Lead-acid batteries are made up of acid that is used to ensure proper current flow in the circuit. Lead-acid batteries are the oldest form of secondary batteries and are relatively cheap compared to the other secondary batteries.

                    where to dispose batteries

                    Where to dispose of batteries

                    Batteries are disposed of depending on the type which determines their chemical composition.

                    a) Household batteries: Household batteries can be classified into two groups, either rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries. Disposing of the household batteries is not as complicated as disposing of the vehicle and industrial batteries.

                    According to battery solutions, alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, 9V, etc.) can be recycled using a specialized “room temperature,” mechanical separation process to recycle alkaline batteries.

                    The alkaline battery components are separated into three end products, that is, a zinc and manganese concentrate, steel, and paper, plastic and brass fractions. All of these products are put back into the market place for reuse in new products to offset the cost of the recycling process.

                    However, when it comes to rechargeable batteries, for example, lithium batteries are recyclable. They can, therefore, be disposed of at the battery recycling centers, electronic retailers who recycle batteries, or a waste collection site for hazardous materials. Therefore, ensuring you dispose of batteries properly.

                    b) Industrial batteries.

                    Industrial batteries can also be referred to as forklift or traction batteries. Industrial batteries can normally be drained to about 20% of the maximum charging capacity before a recharge.

                    Industrial batteries are manufactured with lead plates making them not disposable in the trash. Lead is considered to be a hazardous waste that is highly toxic to the environment. So when it comes to the industrial batteries, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of the used battery is normally reclaimed. More than 95 percent of the industrial lead-acid batteries are recycled.

                    The outer plastic shell is recycled to make some new plastic items, whereas the metal plates undergo purification to manufacture new batteries. In most states, there is a law that accepts the return of the industrial batteries to the retailer for disposal purposes. In case one cannot trace the retailer, they can contact the government officials for the information on the directions to follow to ensure proper disposal of the industrial batteries, industrial batteries maybe containing sulphuric acid that is harmful.

                    Safety precaution is normally advised when transporting the batteries for disposal. One should also avoid exposing the batteries to open flames or incidental devices like the cigarette lighters just for precaution measures.

                    c) Vehicle batteries: Car batteries are made out of lead-acid which is hazardous. It is, therefore, essential to dispose of it carefully just to avoid harmful side effects that can be life-threatening to human beings. There are many ways to dispose of vehicle batteries.
                    where to dispose batteries

                    • Returning the battery to a retailer. When purchasing the battery, there is normally a core charge fee certain retailers usually add in the receipts. This charge means that the battery is essential to the retailer. It can either be recycled or be rebuilt. Meaning that you can return the battery to the retailers, and they refund back your money with the same amount you paid as a core charge fee.
                    • Taking the car battery to a recycling depot: You can check on the closest designated recycling depots near you on the internet and dispose of your car battery there for disposals.
                    • Taking the car battery to an auto parts store: You can make your take battery to an auto parts store as you go buy another one.
                    • Selling the car battery to scrap metal depot: One can decide to sell their batteries off to the scrap metal depot near them at a fee.
                    • Taking the car batteries to battery recycling centers where they can recycle them and make something good out of them.

                    Each state has its own recycling program while resources such as Earth911 have a comprehensive online platform for helping online users decide on how to dispose of old batteries. Earth911 provides a recycling locator for all types of batteries where you just enter your zip code and it pulls the details for your specific battery and how or where to recycle them.

                    Call2Recycle is another online resource that offers a network of over 34,000 local recycling centers and drop-off locations for rechargeable batteries such as local municipalities and local retailers like Best Buy.

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