A new business venture expected to be completed soon by Nigeria’s renewable energy firm, Blue Camel Energy, could see the cost of inverter batteries used in the country drop by 50 per cent, said the firm’s CEO, Mr. Suleiman Yusuf.
Yusuf, disclosed to OGN in an exclusive interview that his firm was the on the verge of inking a new deal that would see it build an integrated solar assembly complex in northern state Kaduna, and in which a battery recycling plant would be set up.
He explained if this sails through, Nigerians desirous of owning alternative electricity sources could cut their expenditure on backups by 50 per cent.
According to him, the firm has got multiple of interests on the solar assembly complex, and particularly on the battery recycling plant from German foundation – Heinrich Böll Stiftung Nigeria.
“Interestingly battery recycling process enables you to recoup or reuse 98% of the battery, you are going to be losing only 2%.
“Now there are different types of battery recycling processes. There is the rehabilitation process where you open up the same battery, work on the distilled water and then clean up the lead plate and then put it back and it is working. There is the other one where you have equipment that can properly let you know which battery is actually dead or which battery has been sulfated and you can de-sulfate these batteries there also, and then there is the final stage or a third stage where you actually dismantle these batteries, smelt the components and rebuild it,” said Yusuf during the interview.
He further explained: “So, these are different stages of the recycling process and we have lead deposits in Nigeria, good quality lead is pretty much available in Nigeria, we have some samples here too, and the next stage we will begin to ask how we can use our local lead and go into the manufacturing of batteries.”
Asked if this would have implications on the cost of deploying RE solutions to residential homes, he said: “Yes, it’s going to affect the cost because battery component in most renewable or solar solutions is over 50%. The battery is more expensive than solar panel plus inverter in most cases. So, anything that brings down the cost of the battery will definitely bring down the cost of the solution.”
“The money we spend exporting the batteries for recycling and importing back to Nigeria and probably recycling it at a place where cost of labour is high, all that will translate to savings. As we are bringing the batteries back we are also paying duties which is about 20% because that battery you are bringing back nobody wants to know whether you took it from Nigeria and you just went to recycle it so you have to pay another 20%. So, putting all those savings together I see a situation where we will be able to crash the price of batteries by about 50%,” Yusuf added.