Hinckley Associates, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Fan Milk, is spearheading an initiative to produce second life lithium battery packs to power fridge-freezers in Nigeria’s cold chain sector.

Having established Nigeria’s first government-approved e-waste recycling facility in 2016, Hinckley has developed a semi-industrialised recycling facility that processes 10,000 tons of e-waste annually. In 2019, Hinckley partnered with CMU to develop second life and end-of-life solutions for solar lithium battery cells and won the CLASP Global Leap Challenge. CMU, through its Industrial Innovation Laboratory, continues to provide technical expertise and business innovation support as Hinckley’s project partner. The funding received from the Global Leap Challenge has been allocated to training a local, gender-balanced team of ten electrical engineers, who will work on battery and software development in the lab in Lagos, as well as conduct field research.

In March 2023 Hinckley was selected to receive support from PREO in the form of a grant to launch a project that targets reducing uptake barriers and improving outcomes for frozen product resellers. The expert team assembled with CMU will be instrumental in the successful delivery of this project.

Fan Milk, Nigeria’s market leader in ice cream products, is the industrial partner in Hinckley’s project. With over one hundred ice cream vendors and distribution centres across Nigeria, Fan Milk faces persistent challenges in powering fridges, often resorting to costly and polluting petrol or diesel generators. Hinckley’s innovation provides a cleaner and more affordable energy source that can support Fan Milk’s nationwide distribution network for over two years, Hinckley has been offering responsible recycling services to Fan Milk, collecting and processing end-of-life fridges from their off-grid resellers at their recycling plant in Lagos. This has provided Hinckley with invaluable insights into the environmental challenges faced by Fan Milk resellers and has enabled the company to develop processes and expertise in both fridge processing and repurposed energy storage.

To further enhance the project, Hinckley has also partnered with Quadloop, a local solar system manufacturer, to continue the development of solar solutions by using second life batteries.

The project aims to remove barriers for small resellers of frozen products in off-grid settings, which can lead to increased local incomes, more feasible reseller opportunities, job creation for both men and women, and increased social and economic value through clean, modern off-grid energy. The solution being developed by Hinckley is targeted at improving the business operations and profitability of Fan Milk and its franchisees by reducing operational costs, improving reliability of fridges, and increasing revenue through reduced spoilage of stock.

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