Christmas Battery waste equivalent to a column of batteries to the moon

Battery Powered Space Travel ‘Unveiled

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Every year, tens of billions of alkaline batteries from Christmas gadgets and toys are thrown into landfill as toxic waste. That’s enough rubbish batteries to build a column to the moon and back vs the greener alternative of using rechargeable batteries.

Yesterday saw Virgin Galactic’s announcement of SpaceShipTwo heralding a new dawn for commercial Space travel. Yet over at the Copenhagen climate summit, scientists and world leaders are wrestling with how to reduce our addictions on Energy for travel and Electricity demands of the modern age.

Scientists at Moixa Energy, the pioneering UK Cleantech company behind energy innovations such as re-usable USBCELL batteries, and low cost home energy systems, are researching future ideas.

Space columns or cables, according to the late Arthur C Clarke, could form Space Elevators, to provide lower carbon methods of traveling into geo-stationary orbit and beyond, due to the reduced amount of fuel burnt in the atmosphere, and recovery of energy from bringing meteorite/minerals back to Earth.

Moixa Energy postulates that perhaps rather than throwing batteries into landfill, which is soon to be illegal in the UK under the recent EU Batteries Directive, disposable batteries could be used as a scaffold or vine, on which to grow hyper strong carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes would be formed by ‘eating’ and cleansing C02 from the atmosphere, and releasing O2 and perhaps also use up residual energy left in the batteries.

The idea may seem far fetched, but scientists at Cambridge University are progressing developments on light-weight flexible nano-tubes, motivated by a $4m prize challenge from NASA.

Simon Daniel, Moixa CEO, who recently spent a couple of months at Singularity University at NASA, believes it is only a matter of time, and comments ‘Exponential technologies saw the time to sequence a genome fall from over 10 years to 2 weeks. Technology will be able to solve the problems of climate change if politics fail’.

In the meantime, Moixa Energy announced release of a special USBCELL Gaming pack, of 4 re-usable AA batteries that can recharge in USB ports on laptops, desktops and games consoles - to help save money and battery waste this Christmas. Earlier this week, they were chosen as a ‘Top 5’ stocking filler by the Gadget Show on Monday 8th Dec, and also won a top 50 iF Gold design award alongside Apple at Cebit from 3000 global products.

USBCELL batteries are available online and nationally at Morrisons, Waitrose and other leading stores. Each battery saves money, 7kg of C02 and 3kg of toxic landfill in basic reuse compared to disposables. A small but important practical action, ‘to fill stockings not landfill’ this Christmas, in the spirit of Copenhagen.

I have a set of two of those batteries, reviewed in the pages of this magazine here, and must say that I like the way of being able to recharge them via USB connection on my computer. The batteries can also, if need be, be recharged using an appropriate Ni-MH charger.

While, nominally, rechargeable batteries of this kind are 1.2 volt DC and not 1.5 volt. As indicated on so many devices, under normal circumstances one of those replaces a standard AA battery, no problem.

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© 2009