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Kenyan Turns e-Waste into Renewable Treasure

Paul Waweru hunts for old laptop batteries. They cost him just $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. 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.