Recycling one million laptops is equivalent to the electricity used by 3,657 U.S. homes in a year.
IBM did its own research and analyzed a sample of discarded batteries, finding 70 percent had enough power to keep an LED light on more than four hours a day for a year.
How will IBM power the powerless?
IBM has created a device that uses lithium-ion cells from old batteries to power lower-energy devices, a lamp for example, bringing light to the approximately 400 million people in India who are off grid.
This solution, named UrJar, has a rechargable battery component built from pieces of discarded laptop batteries. It can power an LED lightbulb, cell phone charger, and table fan. It has the potential to utilize obsolete e-waste, channeling it towards the alleviation of energy poverty, while providing a sustainable solution for laptop recycling. Basically, the most expensive part of this storage solution is coming straight from the trash.
India in particular is in dire need of this innovative use of obsolete e-waste. Due to the booming IT market, 32 tonnes of e-waste is generated in this country alone per day.
Tech Review reports that IBM is not planning on turning the energy technology into a business, and instead may make the UrJar’s blueprints available at no cost to developing countries.