Old Laptop Batteries Could Power Slums in India

Old Laptop Batteries Could Power Slums in India: IBM Study

Many of the estimated 50 million lithium-ion laptop batteries discarded each year could provide electricity storage sufficient to power homes in developing countries, researchers at IBM say.

The researchers at IBM Research India in Bangalore found that at least 70% of all discarded batteries have enough life left to power an LED light at least four hours a day for a year.

While it’s possible to combine LED lights with solar panels and rechargeable batteries, using discarded batteries could make the approach far cheaper.

“The most costly component in these systems is often the battery,” says Vikas Chandan, a research scientist at the lab’s Smarter Energy Group, who led the project. “In this case, the most expensive part of your storage solution is coming from trash.”

The IBM group, working with a hardware R&D firm called RadioStudio, tore open discarded laptop battery packaging and extracted individual storage units called cells, tested those individually to pick out the good ones, and recombined them to form refurbished battery packs. Then, after adding charging dongles as well as circuitry to prevent overheating, they gave them to five users in Bangalore who lived in slums or operated sidewalk carts. Three months later, the users said the battery packs had worked well.

Around 50 million laptop and desktop computers are discarded in the US every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, in India alone, about 400 million people lack grid-connected electricity.

laptop battery life

How to Increase battery life of your laptop?

There are simple techniques available to extend battery life of your laptop. Some of these tips are for when you need to increase your battery at that very moment, while others are preventative measures, best implemented before your battery life comes up short.

Step 1: Click on the Start Menu and type “ CMD ” in the Start Search bar.

Step 2: The search will start and it will then display an icon of “ CMD ” . simply right click on it and select Run as administrator.

Step 3: It will open command line, now simply run the command “powercfg -energy” without quotes. (For windows 7 users.)


Simply run the command “powercfg /energy” without quotes. (For windows 8 users.)

Step 4: Now Press “Enter”.

Once you successfully execute this command , Windows will run a complete scan of your system and it will find some ways to improve performance and power efficiency.
The results of this process will be saved to an HTML file, which is commonly present in the “System32” folder of most of the systems.

To access this file, simply follow the path which will be displayed in command prompt window after completion of the command. Read This file to understand that what program in your system is consuming more power and degrading the performance.

To save power, make your computer do less in general:

  • Don’t use a screensaver. They’re unnecessary on modern displays and will drain your battery to do nothing useful when your display could be off and saving power.
  • Reduce Screen Brightness
  • Have Your Display Automatically Turn Off
  • Run fewer programs in the background.
  • Disable Bluetooth and Other Hardware Devices
  • Reduce CPU usage.
  • Avoid maxing out your RAM. If your laptop’s RAM is full, try to make more RAM available — close programs running in the background or try to upgrade your laptop’s RAM.

Know About Your Laptop’s Battery Status With BatteryBar

batterybarBatteryBar, a superb power gauge that’s compatible with XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Normally, if you want Windows’ read on how much battery life is left, you have to mouse over the tiny System Tray power icon. BatteryBar adds a full-time, at-a-glance gauge to the right side of the taskbar.

That gauge shows you either a percentage of battery life remaining or the amount of runtime left; clicking it toggles between the two readings. Interestingly, when you’re running on AC power, the gauge switches from green to blue and shows how long until you reach a full charge.

But wait, there’s more: when you mouse over the gauge, a pop-up window displays a boatload of additional information, such as total battery capacity, charge/discharge rate, AC status, and even a lifetime estimate based on historical charge/discharge data. That’s what I’m talking about!

BatteryBar is free, there’s also a Pro version that adds more features, like a graph of battery profiles, low/critical power warnings, and automatic power-scheme switching that kicks in when you switch between AC and battery power.