UK battery waste entrepreneur wins global Shell innovation award

A British entrepreneur working to create a circular economy around lithium batteries has won a global innovation competition organised by Shell.

Carlton Cummins, Co-Founder of Aceleron, a business dedicated to reclaiming and reusing perceived end-of-life lithium batteries, was awarded the top spot in the Top Ten Innovators competition run by Shell LiveWIRE, an enterprise development programme run by Shell across 15 countries worldwide, aiming to recognise young entrepreneurs aged 16 to 30 with innovative business ideas.

UK battery waste entrepreneur wins global Shell innovation awardAceleron takes lithium batteries, used in everyday electronics and, increasingly, in electronic cars, at the apparent end of their viable life and transforms them into low-cost, second-life battery packs for the storage of renewable energy. Once the original stored energy is used up, Aceleron repurposes the battery as storage for renewable energy which can be endlessly replaced, eliminating waste and the need for further resources to be invested in new products.

A trial of Aceleron’s battery processing service was carried out in partnership with Brunel University London using end-of-life staff laptops, and discovered that the average state of health for the batteries tested was 89 per cent.

Recycling capacity for lithium ion batteries in the UK is currently limited: Aceleron claims that over 1,000 tonnes are exported every year for this reason. Other used batteries may find their way into landfill, where they can leach dangerous chemicals into soil and water, or end up gathering dust in cupboards and drawers, something a recent campaign by Ecosurety and environmental campaigns charity Hubbub has been raising awareness of.

As well as creating a solution to the battery waste problem for manufacturers in the automotive and electronics industries, Aceleron hopes to have a social impact by providing affordable energy storage for developing regions. Applauded by judges for using innovation to cut costs, the company is able to offer serviced lithium batteries for the same price as lead acid batteries.

Cummins was previously named the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2016, which resulted in £30,000 of funding towards developing Aceleron’s battery processing technology. The Top Ten Innovators grand prize sees Cummins receive a further $15,000 (£11,427), which will be used to pilot an off-grid home solar energy system made using repurposed waste batteries.

Upon being named to the top spot, Cummins said: “I am humbled to be chosen as winner of this global innovation competition. Shell LiveWIRE has been an important supporter of Aceleron and this endorsement will further empower us to bring ‘energy-for-life to people around the world.”

The Shell LiveWIRE programme offers a targeted range of practical small business development support, designed to fit the local context. The scheme also recently recognised designer Ryan Yasin of Petit Pli with its Smarter Future Award, for his innovative range of children’s clothes which grow with the wearer. Keep an eye out for Resource’s feature on Yasin and new models for fashion in our winter issue, out soon.

More information on Aceleron can be found on the company’s website.  

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