Updated: Jun 14
Aloe vera dons multiple hats: makeup ingredient, home remedy and sustainable battery material too!
Conventionally used chemical batteries are widely used as an energy source. However, their chemical and material composition and the unsustainable way in which they are disposed of can be hazardous!
The lithium from chemical batteries can cause dumpster or landfill fires and can release toxic chemicals. As the batteries accumulate, the chemicals in them can leak out into the soil or water bodies. This can affect the growth of plants and disrupt aquatic life. Some chemical and metal components of batteries are regarded as carcinogenic, which has an effect on human health.
Aloe vera Batteries Save The Day
Clearly, commonly used chemical batteries are not the best but clean tech is here to save the day. Two students, Nimisha Varma and Naveen Suman, winners of the startup India competition in 2020 for their project in the energy category, found that chemical batteries are harmful, through their research on garbage management and wanted to look for a better, long-lasting alternative. The Aloe Ecell, introduced by them, has developed the world's first 100% Eco-Friendly and Non-Hazardous 1.5V AA and AAA size batteries. Aloe vera batteries are green sources of energy that are non-explosive and free of non-toxic components like lead or mercury. They are also eco-friendly, causing no damage to ecosystems when disposed of. The product is yet to be patented.
(Also Read: 2022: The year of clean, green and lean tech)
The plant’s chemical energy is converted to electrical energy, which is obtained from the aloe vera plant, specifically the aloe vera gel, as well as other plant substances. Nimisha Varma, the co-creator of the batteries, says that the power source can power low, medium and high-drain devices and works with conventionally used items like clocks and remotes.
The manufacturing is estimated to cost less than chemical batteries and may last for around 50% longer. The makers say the average cost of these batteries will be around Rs 9-10 (€0.11/$0.13) per unit in India.
Apart from the environmental impact of their use, aloe vera batteries have an economic advantage as well. The Indian economy could benefit from its product, especially since that’s where the conceptualisation of the product happened. Additionally, farmers and producers of the aloe vera plant could avail increased demand for the product, which may create job opportunities in the industry.
How to Dispose of Chemical Batteries Correctly?
The components in batteries come under household hazardous waste and should be sent to a waste facility that disposes of hazardous materials.
Recycle your batteries as some of the material in them, like copper and plastic, can be repurposed- Rechargeable lithium, lithium-ion and zinc batteries should be recycled.
Contact stores from where the batteries were purchased as they can often be reused or recharged, or be sent to the appropriate drop-off facility, from there.
Don’t forget the packaging of the battery- Components like paper and plastic can be recycled.
(Also Read: Let's Make Our Packaging Greener)
October 2020, National Start up Awards winners: Meet the techies who made eco-friendly batteries from aloe vera, CNBC TV18
G. Pavan Kuman , S. Lohitha , S.K. Shareef(March 2015), Green Electricity From Green Aloevera, International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications(IJERA)