Safe battery storage container built in and for Africa

Some governments in sub-Saharan Africa have started to announce electrification targets for vehicles and incentives for EV adoption—such as Rwanda’s announced tax exemptions for EV sales. Moreover, a growing start-up ecosystem for EVs, focusing particularly on electric two-wheelers, is emerging in the region. While momentum is building, sub-Saharan Africa faces some unique challenges in its electric mobility transition, including, unreliable electricity supply (McKinsey, 2022). Moreover, in Africa, safe battery storage containers are getting imported from China, attracting high importing and transporting costs.

Can an open-source safe battery storage container for electric two-wheelers be developed which is built and designed in Africa while economically feasible throughout sub-Saharan Africa?

Ebee Mobility Kenya in collaboration with Battery Control Europe aims to hand in an innovation proposal leveraging new technology to minimize the cost and improve the quality of safe battery storage in sub-Saharan Africa. A safe battery storage container designed for the growing electric two-wheeler sector in Africa. However, the success of any new technology is defined by its adoption.

Comment below: What are the key elements or must-haves to develop a safe battery storage container for electric two-wheelers and adoption of this new Fintech solution by consumers in rural and urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa?

The following Open Source technical deliverables will be released:
-Lithium-ion container. The goal of the lithium-ion container is to contain a lithium-ion incident. The container is likely be destroyed in the process.
-Pressure release system. Needed to relieve the potential explosive pressure of a lithium-ion incident.
-Detection system. CO/Smoke/Heat (at least one, possible to combine).
-Notification system. Visual and audio for people on site. Plus perhaps connectivity to fire or security services.
-Electric system. Suitable for charging, balancing, and automatic shut-off. This can be done with a mechanical system or with a software system.
-Fire services hose coupling. To flood the container with water in case of fire. Required to douse the fire.
-Solar panels. To be sustainable and have power in case of a power outage.
-Climate control unit. To keep the container and batteries within the normal operating temperature range. This goes for low-end as well as high-end temperatures.
-Insulation. Required to prevent condensation from the climate control unit as well as extreme temperatures within the container.

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Interesting. Can the container be reused, repurposed, or recycled after its destruction?
Does the container only contain 1 battery to avoid the risk of damaging other batteries in case of an incident, or will it contain several batteries while minimising the damage of other batteries?

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Good idea! Is there need for digitalize it in a way that users and potential users know (via App) where the next storage facility is/ the facility needs land acquisition or rent of space to calculated in / how is the ownership model planned?

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@Ebee @Paul any thoughts on juergen question.

@Paul, Thanks for your question.

To clarify, the idea is to have a 10-20 ft storage container for large quantities.

Can the container be reused, repurposed, or recycled after its destruction? This depends on the severity of the incident and the damage done to the container. In some incidents, a battery only fizzles or has a jet flame. In contrast, in more severe incidents, a battery could overcharge and violently explode and ignite other batteries, causing them to burst into flames and flash as well. In the latter incident, the container is often destroyed, while in less severe incidents, the container might be reusable after being cleaned thoroughly and safely (proper PPE).

For the second part of the question, the goal of the container is to minimize the damage to the surroundings, e.g., a service center, factory, or transport depot. The product is, therefore, not explicitly designed to limit the damage to batteries. A container should be rated up to a certain gross weight of batteries; it is up to the user if they wish to store multiple batteries or, e.g., one heavy vehicle battery pack in the container.

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@juergen Thanks for your question.

Sharing key measurements with users is important in maintaining and preventing damage in severe events.

A temperature sensor, smoke detector, CO detector, and possibly a thermal imager or a combination thereof will be linked to a reporting system, informing a control room and/or person (the user) when certain predetermined values are reached.

Depending on the user’s demand, specific values are related to necessary maintenance actions; these values will be set and communicated to the users through digital and/or push messages. This will guarantee safety and enables convenient monitoring of the system.

Viewing real-time values is rare in the sector and is often seen as costly and unnecessary.

Ownership model:
It is an open-source solution. Different ownership models are possible: lease, co-ownership, subscription, and more. Users could be safety companies, governments, e-waste recycling companies, insurance companies, e-motor bike companies, e-bike companies, mini-grid companies, etc.

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I am a Director from a South African based e-bike company called Green Riders, and we think this is an exciting idea! It could be a game changer for the e-battery sector.

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Interesting idea, but how would the container design be different in the local economy (speaking of Kenya/Africa) compared to the international available safe battery storage containers? Is it not more efficient to import a current solution ? certain high-tech components need to be imported anyway?

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Thanks, @Rick; we believe in the South African market!

Warren, thank you for your reply and question. The design contains materials that must be imported, such as air conditioning, (fire-resistant) insulation, an alarm panel, and an extinguishing system.

The materials from abroad come as a complete package that needs to be for a significant part assembled locally with local materials where necessary, decreasing the transportation cost: reducing the weight and size of the package.

Correct assembly is essential; therefore, the package contains an installation manual with optional online support. Assembly by the local workforce favors local employment, local ownership, building regional business relations, procuring local materials, and transferring expertise.

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ok, that makes sense

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