Publication - End-of-Life Management of Batteries in the Off-Grid Solar Sector

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End-of-Life Management of Batteries in the Off-Grid Solar Sector
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Andreas Manhart, Inga Hilbert & Federico Magalini
Published in
October 2018
In order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal No. 7 on affordable and clean energy for all, many developing countries initiated ambitious energy access programs that are often supported by the international donor community. Many of these government programmes follow a combined strategy encompassing grid extension, establishing mini-grids, as well as the distribution of solar home systems (SHS) and solar lanterns in remote rural areas with no connection to the electricity

grid (off-grid).

While energy-access projects undoubtedly have numerous positive development effects on newly electrified communities, they also bring new challenges related to waste management. These challenges are linked to the fact that equipment used for mini-grids and SHS, as well as the electrical and electronic devices powered by the new systems, will sooner or later become waste. And these waste types (commonly referred to as e-waste and battery waste) have more or less hazardous properties and require special treatment and disposal.

E-waste and battery waste are already known to be a challenge in many developing countries and emerging economies with serious hot spots in many urban areas where collection and recycling is often conducted by informal sectors with little regard to emission control and impacts on human and environmental health.