Kenyan teacher uses old laptop batteries to power motorcycles
Paul Waweru is on the hunt for old laptop batteries. They cost him just KSH 50 ($0.50) per piece, but this Kenyan high school physics teacher has found an innovative use for the waste product.
They will power bikes. After he collects the items from dealers in Nairobi, he takes the haul back to his workshop.
Here, he sorts them, dividing the working cells from those which are not working.
Waweru then assembles them into a battery that can be used to power electric motorbikes. He was inspired to come up with this innovation after running into trouble with a bike he'd bought.
"Nobody was selling electric bikes in Kenya, so I had to import one," he explains.
He's founded a company called Ecomobilus to supply his laptop-battery powered bikes.
He collects frames from old motorbikes, removes the engines and replaces them with a battery and a motor to propel the bike.
They run on a 60V direct current. The batteries take hours to charge but can take 45 minutes if on a fast charger.
A fully charged battery can travel a distance of up to 100 kilometres. He says his invention compares very well to traditional motorbikes.
Couriers and delivery drivers
They are being used around the city by couriers and delivery drivers.
Some say they are saving money since ditching petrol (gas) fuelled bikes for these electric versions.
"The other one was expensive in terms of fuel, in terms of time but with the electric one, it consumes less time it is efficient, I save on fuel I do not use fuel anymore. I only consume 200 ($2) on tokens and am good for the rest of the day," says driver John Mwangi.
He has been using the bike for around six months.
They also get a seal of approval from Dennis Wakaba, an electric mobility specialist.
Not only do they help the environment, the batteries are easy to source in Kenya, so they are long term option for residents who need to get around.