Kenyans watch day and night with Azuri Technologies' TV400
Azuri Technologies - a leading provider of affordable pay-as-you-go solar home systems to off-grid consumers across Africa - has unveiled its latest PayGo solar power TV400 product, enabling Kenyans to watch TV day and night.
The solar power system has double the battery size of existing Azuri products and comes with a 32-inch TV, two tube lights, two spot lights, a rechargeable radio, rechargeable torch and USB phone charging with extra capacity to support smartphones.
Its first solar PayGo TV product, featuring a 24-inch TV and integrated satellite TV service, launched in 2017.
As the market has matured, TV has become an ever more essential home appliance, particularly when schools closed because of COVID-19 restrictions and demand spiked for educational content on satellite TV.
Now with an 80W solar panel and a 160Wh LFP battery with an expected life of over 10 years before servicing, the TV400 system provides peace of mind when it comes to entertainment or learning. It costs KES 8,999 and daily usage fee of KES 129 over 30 months, after which the system is unlocked and all additional power is free of charge.
The system also includes a satellite dish and subscription to Zuku Smart package offering over 55 channels including all local content plus the EDU channel featuring the National Curriculum content among other channels.
Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Azuri said: "We are hugely excited to launch 'always on' TV to off-grid households. The ability to watch TV whenever you like, even where the grid and terrestrial TV is not present, is closing the gap between rural and urban communities and bringing essential content including educations channels at an affordable price."
British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott said how we rebuild from COVID-19 will set the course for our economies, and world, for a generation.
"Kenya needs to seize this opportunity to create a clean, resilient economy that is fit for the future, creating jobs that will last. We have put a clean and resilient recovery from Covid-19 at the heart of our partnership in Kenya, strengthened by cutting edge British innovation from companies like Azuri who are helping to expand clean energy in rural areas."
Sakuu Corporation creates 3D printer for EV batteries
Sakuu Corporation has announced a new industrial-grade 3D printer for e-mobility batteries which it claims will unlock the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles.
Offering an industrial scale ‘local’ battery production capability, Sakuu believes the technology will provide increased manufacturer and consumer confidence. Sakuu’s Alpha Platform for its initial hardware offering will be available in Q4.
Backed by Japanese automotive parts supplier to major OEMs, Musashi Seimitsu, Sakuu is set to enable fast and high-volume production of 3D printed solid-state batteries (SSBs) that, compared with lithium-ion batteries, have the same capacity yet are half the size and almost a third lighter.
The company’s KeraCel-branded SSBs will also use around 30%-50% fewer materials – which can be sourced locally – to achieve the same energy levels as lithium-ion options, significantly reducing production costs. Sakuu anticipates the 3D printer’s attributes being easily transferable to a host of different applications in other industry sectors.
"For the e-mobility markets specifically, we believe this to be a landmark achievement, and one that could transform consumer adoption of electric vehicles,” said Robert Bagheri, Founder, CEO and chairman, Sakuu Corporation. “SSBs are a holy grail technology, but they are both very difficult and expensive to make. By harnessing the flexibility and efficiency-enhancing capabilities of our unique and scalable AM process, we’re enabling battery manufacturers and EV companies to overcome these fundamental pain points."
The ability to provide on-demand, localised production will create more efficient manufacturing operations and shorter supply chains, he added.
Sakuu will initially focus on the two-, three- and smaller four-wheel electric vehicle market for whom the company’s SSB proposition delivers an obvious and desirable combination of small form factor, low weight and improved capacity benefits. The agility of Sakuu’s AM process also means that customers can easily switch production to different battery types and sizes, as necessary, for example to achieve double the energy in the same space or the same energy in half the space.
Beyond energy storage, Sakuu’s development of print capability opens complex end device markets previously closed off to current 3D printing platforms. These include active components like sensors and electric motors for aerospace and automotive; power banks and heatsinks for consumer electronics; PH, temperature and pressure sensors within IoT; and pathogen detectors and microfluidic devices for medical, to name a few.
"As a cheaper, faster, local, customisable and more sustainable method of producing SSBs – which as a product deliver much higher performance attributes than currently available alternatives – the potential of our new platform offers tremendous opportunities to users within energy, as well as a multitude of other markets," said Bagheri.
Ongoing research and new funding collaborations
Omega Seiki, a part of Anglian Omega Group of companies, has partnered with New York-based company C4V to introduce SSBs for EVs and the renewable sector in India. As part of an MoU, the two companies are also looking at the manufacturing of SSBs in the country, according to reports.
Solid Power, which produces solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, recently announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies. Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future EVs. Solid Power plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company's pilot production line in early 2022.
"Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that's why we're investing directly," said Ted Miller, Ford's manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. "By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we'll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes."
A subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private company, Vinfast has signed an MoU with SSB manufacturer ProLogium - which picked up a bronze award at the recent Edison Awards - to accelerate commercialisation of batteries for EVs (click here).
Xin Li, Associate Professor of Materials Science, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is designing an SSB for ultra-high performance EV applications. The ultimate goal is to design a battery "that outperforms internal combustion engines so electrical vehicles accelerate the transition from fossil-fuel-based energy to renewable energy," according to The Harvard Gazette.
The dramatic increase in EV numbers means that the potential battery market is huge. McKinsey projects that by 2040 battery demand from EVs produced in Europe will reach a total of 1,200GWh per year, which is enough for 80 gigafactories with an average capacity of 15GWh per year.