Over half a million low-cost and government schools in developing countries do not have electricity when they need it. The impact of this scarcity in resources on these children’s education is staggering. According to the United Nations’ Education First initiative, at least 250 million children are unable to read, write or count well even after having spent four years in school.
Powering schools with recycled batteries
Totus Power proposes a solution for this problem: Jupiter 6. Led by its founder, Siva Rajendran, Totus Power refurbishes used electric car batteries that would otherwise be wasted to generate a portable power source named Jupiter 6. The company says its battery is more powerful, reliable, lighter and non-toxic than equivalent lead acid batteries and requires no maintenance. Jupiter 6 can generate up to 20 hours of electricity and can be recharged in 3 hours. That means power for almost 4000 students through 60 units made from one used battery.
Totus Power has formed some partnerships and started supplying batteries in India. Some notable partnerships include Impact Engine, Startup Chile and Village Capital. They also have a two-year supply from a commercially deployed electric car and production facility. They have started by providing prototype batteries in schools of two major cities in India, Mumbai and Hyderabad, where over 600 school children benefited from the product.
So far the company has, primarily, relied on prizes from startup pitching competitions to keep going. Rajendran aims to provide a better educational experience to the future of developing countries through Totus Power. The organization is looking for funding to scale up their operations.
About the Author
Miriam Mehdi is a Fulbright fellow pursuing her second master’s degree in social enterprise from American University, Washington DC. In the past she has worked with corporations, social organizations and academic institutes including Ashoka, Shell and Kansai Paints. Miriam holds BA and MBA from FAST-NUCES, Pakistan. She is passionate about writing, social innovation and marketing. She blogs here.