Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

Environmental Assessment of waste management options of modern accumulators in developing countries of Solar Home Systems

Project description

At the moment, Solar Island solutions for minimal electrification of households increasingly meet a ready market in developing countries. Traditionally, lead-acid batteries are used for solar energy storage. However, they show a poor technical performance (besides sulphatisation problem). On the other hand, it seems a more or less working recycling system for lead-acid batteries has been established in some developing countries. Even so, this statement has to be scrutinized especially regarding Ethiopia.

Alternatively, lead-acid batteries can be replaced by e.g. NiMeH and LiFePO4 accumulator systems, which show a significantly better technical performance. It might be problematic that there is currently no recycling system for such "modern" accumulators in developing countries and won’t be there anytime soon.

Under the project, potential environmental hazards connected with the not regulated waste management of "modern" accumulators will be investigated. Furthermore, the study will focus on the development of waste management strategies for accumulators to minimise the potential risk for humans and the environment.

The project is part of the programme "Ethiopia: Solar Home Systems" by Atmosfair GmbH in cooperation with Fosera Äthiopien / Fosera Deutschland, funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

For background information see:


Dr.-Ing. Marcel Weil
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-26718