EU-funded project predicts 78m batteries dumped every day by 2025

5 Jul 2021

Image: © black_kira/Stock.adobe.com

The position paper from Enables calls on industry and the research community to improve power cell lifespans.

Enables, which is coordinated by the Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork and has secured more than €5m in EU funding, is calling on policymakers, industry leaders and the research community to extend the lifetime of device batteries.

A report from the EU-funded internet of things (IoT) research project estimates that 78m batteries will be dumped per day worldwide by 2025.

The position paper recommends not only extending the lifetime of batteries, but also reducing the power consumed by devices and the harnessing of alternative energy sources such as light, heat and motion. It notes that improvements are particularly necessary in devices in which batteries are not easily replaced or recharged, such as medtech, implants or devices deployed in hard-to-reach locations.

Enables said that by 2025 there will be an estimated 1trn IoT devices worldwide across a range of use cases, and that the average lifetime of these is approximately 10 years. This, according to the report, will translate to 130m batteries being produced and disposed of worldwide every day.

Currently, less than 40pc of IoT batteries are recycled, meaning tens of millions are being put into landfill daily.

Support Silicon Republic

Mike Hayes, project coordinator of Enables said: “We must move away from the age-old model of taking from the ground to make products, which we then use and throw away. We need to revolutionise the way we design, make, use and get rid of things.

“This means we need to think about battery life from the outset, in the early stages of product design,” Hayes continued.

“We need to advise key stakeholders and the general public on the implications of battery consumption based on the choices they make, and we need to work together with industry to identify potential for reducing power consumption and requirement.”

According to the Enables report, the eventual aim should be for IoT devices to achieve “power autonomy”, where batteries are able to recharge themselves renewably. Enables noted that this would help to achieve the EU’s target of carbon neutrality by 2050 under the European Green Deal.

As well as the Tyndall National Institute, Enables involves 10 education and research institutions from Germany, Italy, Netherlands, France and the UK.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin

editorial@siliconrepublic.com