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Sierra Leone News: Real Power Systems brings dead batteries to life

ccFreetown residents and businesses will soon be able to save money and power by regenerating old engine batteries instead of throwing them away.
Thanks to a partnership between TVH Energic Plus, a Belgium-based company, and the Sierra Leonean-owned Real Power Systems, for the first time in Sierra Leone individuals and businesses will be able regenerate batteries that seem dead for another year or two  or even longer.
“These batteries that are supposedly dead can be revived, recovered again,” said Didier Bougarel of TVH Energic Plus. “When I say dead, I mean sleeping,” he added. Broken batteries can’t be brought back to life. “We do not do miracles.”
Formed in 2005 and Sierra Leonean-owned, Real Power Systems provides solutions for energy within and outside of Sierra Leone, including as far as Gabon. TVH Energic Plus employs 6,000 people in 114 countries around the world.
Real Power Systems focuses on large batteries including those that power vehicles, engineering and telecommunications equipment, and more.
As time goes on, Bougarel said, batteries gradually lose their power through chemical reactions that prevent them from operating at full capacity.
“They are supposed to deliver their power over a few years, but most of the time, because of mis-maintenance, because of hard weather conditions, those batteries will lose their capacity very quickly after one year or two years,” he said.
The regeneration technology Real Power Systems offers converts crystal sulfate released by batteries back into active power. This process takes 48 hours. At the end, the company will be able to diagnose the problem and tell customers how much capacity should be remaining in their batteries.
A battery that lasted three years might last an additional one, two or three years after it’s been regenerated, said Bougarel.
The procedure costs 40 percent of the price of the original battery, said Harold Samuels, Managing Director of Real Power Systems. When asked if this is too expensive for the average Sierra Leonean, Samuels pointed out that anyone who can buy such a battery could probably afford the repair cost.
According to Samuels and Bougarel, there is demand for battery regeneration in Sierra Leone, because batteries can be found everywhere, from schools to hospitals.
One of TVH Energic Plus’s first customers in Lagos, Nigeria where a man who amassed 22,000 dead batteries, all from ATM machines, which are powered by four batteries. The ATM batteries only lasted for a year, forcing him to replace them at a high cost. Thanks to battery regeneration technology, the man is now buying only 10 percent of what he used to, Bougarel said.
Battery regeneration will also be more environmentally friendly than throwing away batteries, Samuels said. He noted that people throw away thousands of batteries every year that could have been regenerated.
“A battery which is losing slowly its capacity, these batteries should not be thrown away,” said Bougarel. “This is not waste, this is valuable. This is not lead, this is gold.”
By Chetanya Robinson
Thursday August 18, 2016

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