Greener RVs thanks to old batteries

We love this initiative by Ryan Poh (click-through for a great series of images of his work)! He founded High Desert Off Grid, a one-man company through which he sells batteries to replace gas-powered generators in RVs (Recreational Vehicles). Pohl acquires old electric vehicle lithium batteries, and rebuilds the cells in a configuration still perfectly good for a new use alongside solar panels.

As an electric car ages, the storage capacity of its battery declines. Some 11 million electric tons of lithium-ion batteries are expected to reach the end of their utility between now and 2030, according to Chemical and Engineering News. There are a few ways to recycle those materials.

Each Nissan Leaf battery he uses can be converted into eight off-grid units. Based in Quartzsite, Arizona, the entrepreneur offers his installations to the thousands of nomads who park their RVs in the area each winter. The mechanical engineer event developed his own software to manage the batteries.

Pohl uses a computer program of his own design to automatically manage the load on the batteries he installs. The software tracks energy usage and optimizes when certain appliances are running to maximise efficiency

With this project, Pohl addresses not only air pollution, making these vehicles much greener, but also saves batteries from the landfill. An original reuse of materials, prolonging their useful life, and keeping some CO2 in the ground.

By the way, it’s something perhaps not mentioned enough around electric vehicles. They produce less air pollution, yes, but they have multiple other side-effects, not least of which is the extraction and associated environmental destruction of lithium, all the steel and various materials that go in their manufacturing, and their contribution to keeping societies oriented towards car use. Essential (and non-urban) vehicles being electric is a step forward, but reducing the number of cars on our streets is another vital step.