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Circular Battery Value Chain Crucial to Africa's Energy Access Goals and Economic Development

Published 08-19-21

Submitted by Responsible Business Alliance

Summary

  • The Global Battery Alliance (GBA), World Economic Forum, the Energy Storage Partnership, and the Faraday Institution, with lead authorship and analysis by Vivid Economics and Öko-Institut e.V., collaborated on a new report: Closing the Loop on Energy Access in Africa. GBA led the effort – overseeing stakeholder consultation and development of the recommendations.
  • Key report findings and recommendations include:
    • Access to clean, reliable electricity is one of the greatest challenges to sustainable development in Africa, with nearly 550 million people lacking access to electricity and an additional 150 million facing unreliable connections.
    • Batteries are crucial to supporting Africa’s energy access goals, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
    • Improvements in energy access over the next decade will drive an estimated seven- to fourteen-fold increase in stationary battery capacity in the region, to 83 GWh.
    • Meeting the growing battery demand with lower economic, environmental and human costs will require high-quality recycling and repurposing, currently non-existent across most African countries.
    • High-quality recycling and repurposing also create additional benefits, through employment and upskilling opportunities.
    • Recommendations include the creation of a coalition of stakeholders that will jointly work on market transformations through pilots, regulation, standards, enforcement, research and incentives.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., August 19, 2021/CSRwire/ - The Global Battery Alliance (GBA) today announced the publication of a new report, Closing the Loop on Energy Access in Africa, developed in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, the Energy Storage Partnership, and the Faraday Institution, with lead authorship and analysis by Vivid Economics and Öko-Institut e.V. The report outlines key challenges and recommendations to meet Africa’s growing energy needs with sustainable solutions that also foster economic development.

Access to clean, reliable electricity is one of the greatest challenges to sustainable development in Africa, with nearly 550 million people lacking access to electricity and an additional 150 million facing unreliable connections. Batteries are crucial to supporting Africa’s energy access goals, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where energy infrastructure is lacking. Improvements in energy access over the next decade will drive an estimated seven- to fourteen-fold increase in stationary battery capacity in the region, to 83 GWh. Meeting this growing battery demand with lower economic, environmental and human costs will require high-quality recycling and repurposing, which is currently non-existent across most African countries. High-quality recycling and repurposing also create additional benefits, through employment and upskilling opportunities.

Recommendations to address these issues include the creation of a coalition of stakeholders that will jointly work on market transformations through pilots, regulation, standards, enforcement, research and incentives. A first step will be to increase partnerships among stakeholders – African governments, industry, civil society, academia, battery-using sectors and financial institutions — across African countries and internationally. 

“The Closing the Loop on Energy Access in Africa report advances the GBA 2030 Vision to foster a circular, responsible and just battery value chain as one of the major near-term drivers to realize The Paris Agreement goals in the transport and power sectors. Batteries could enable 30 percent of the required reductions from the transport and power sectors, and provide access to electricity to 600 million people without access, and could create up to 10 million safe and sustainable jobs around the world.”  – Guy Ethier, Chair, GBA Board of Directors.

“Batteries play a critical role in energy access and an increasing role in transport systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Supporting research on the end-of-first-life of batteries and the economic opportunities that their second-life applications offer to the region is critical to advancing Sustainable Development Goal 7 on affordable and clean energy. This work contributes to the Energy Storage Partnership's mission to bring new technological and regulatory solutions to developing countries, as well as help develop new business models that leverage the full range of services that storage can provide.” Juliet Pumpuni, Energy Storage Partnership (ESP) Secretariat Lead, World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP)

“While Li-Ion batteries are crucial for the transition to clean energy, lead-based batteries are still needed for off-grid energy renewable storage used in developing countries as a key enabling technology to deliver on SDG 7 for affordable and clean energy for all. Consequently, developing economies require the linking of energy access via batteries with environmentally sound collection and recycling systems to address current lead contamination from recycling that results in a reduction of 2 percent of GDP in Asia, and 4 percent in Africa from lead poisoning-based damages to intelligence, reducing lifetime earnings, productivity and entrepreneurship.” – Mathy V. Stanislaus, Esq, lead project manager and Director, Public Policy & Engagement, Global Battery Alliance

“Without action, many African countries will run into a dilemma: They either continue to deploy lead-acid batteries for energy access strategies, or switch to lithium-ion batteries. But both battery types have far reaching consequences on human and environmental health if not managed properly at the end of their life. While lead-acid battery recycling is well established, its involved processes are often sub-standard and highly polluting. But a switch to Li-ion batteries also provides challenges: Collection and recycling is not developed at all and old batteries represent a significant fire hazard. African countries must find solutions for both types: Improve lead-acid battery recycling and develop sound collection and recycling schemes for Li-ion batteries. A coalition of stakeholders can and should help to drive both.” Dr. Tadesse Amera, IPEN Co-Chair, Director of Pesticide Action Nexus Association (PAN-Ethiopia)

“Increasing energy access and circular economy opportunities in Africa is a key topic in the Forum Agenda. The Closing the Loop on Energy Access report provides a foundation of accelerating battery deployment in a sustainable way. Repurposing and recycling of batteries can be key opportunities to African economies as demonstrated in this report. We look forward to the continuation of the work with the Global Battery Alliance and the Energy Storage Partnership, complemented by the work of the African Circular Economy Alliance and the Forum initiative on Mobilizing investments for clean energy in emerging economies.” – Chido Munyati, Acting Head of Regional Agenda, Africa

View the full report, Closing the Loop on Energy Access in Africa, here.

About the Global Battery Alliance

The Global Battery Alliance (GBA) is a public-private collaboration platform founded in 2017 at the World Economic Forum to help establish a sustainable battery value chain by 2030. The GBA brings together leading businesses along the entire battery value chain, international organizations, NGOs, academics and multiple governments to align collectively in a pre-competitive, multi-stakeholder manner to drive systemic change. All its activities follow Ten Guiding Principles in an effort to realize the GBA 2030 Vision across three dimensions: establishing a circular battery value chain that is a major driver to achieve the Paris Agreement targets; transforming the economy in the value chain, creating new jobs and economic value; and safeguarding human rights and economic development in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) is the Secretariat of the GBA. Follow the GBA on Twitter: @GBA_Org

Media Contact

Jarrett Bens, Senior Director of Communications
Responsible Business Alliance
Phone: +1 571.858.5721
jbens@responsiblebusiness.org

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Responsible Business Alliance

Responsible Business Alliance

The Responsible Business Alliance is the world’s largest industry coalition dedicated to corporate social responsibility in global supply chains.

About the RBA

The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) is a nonprofit coalition of leading companies dedicated to improving social, environmental and ethical conditions in their global supply chains. The RBA has a Code of Conduct and a range of programs, training and assessment tools to support continual improvement. The RBA and its Responsible Minerals, Labor and Factory Initiatives have more than 380 members with combined annual revenues of greater than $7.7 trillion, directly employing over 21.5 million people, with products manufactured in more than 120 countries.

Vision & Mission

Vision: A global electronics industry that creates sustainable value for workers, the environment and business.

Mission: Members, suppliers and stakeholders collaborate to improve working and environmental conditions through leading standards and practices.

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