Innovative Solutions for Second Life Batteries – focussing on roadside kiosks, light or cooling provision and personal mobility

This Innovation Exchange challenge, delivered by Innovate UK KTN through the Global Alliance Africa project, is supporting Hinckley Group to identify innovative solutions for second life Lithium-Ion batteries. The challenge focuses on solutions for roadside kiosks, personal mobility, light or cooling provision within Nigeria and should provide flexible, reliable power.


Challenge opens


Challenge closes



Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to pitch their solution to Hinckley Group. The winning applicant, as selected by Hinckley, will get the opportunity to collaborate with Hinckley on a trial project. Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding is available to the successful finalist for this collaboration.


Hinckley Group, a Nigerian electronic waste recycling company, is responsible for processing a wide variety of waste streams, one of the most complex of which is lithium batteries.

With intense focus now on renewable energy, increasing battery storage capacity is required, resulting in more batteries being imported into Nigeria (currently 5-10 tonnes pa) with a steep future trajectory predicted. These batteries require careful recycling at the end of their first working lives. They are complex to ship and expensive to process and their storage creates a fire risk. Furthermore, many shipping lines are now refusing to export them. Hence local and sustainable solutions must be found to deal with them.

Hinckley receives thousands of batteries a month. Initial work with partners in terms of recovering, testing, and categorising these batteries has been promising in determining their suitability for second life applications. These recovered batteries often retain >60% of their original capacity, giving readings of 80 to 110 ohms.

Currently, Hinckley may deal with the batteries as following.

  1. 40 % are shipped to Umicore and other authorised recyclers in Europe to be recycled as there are no local recyclers for end-of-life lithium batteries in Nigeria.
  2. recyclable batteries are separated into plastics, metals and chemicals to be used in the manufacturing of new battery cells.
  3. 60 % of the batteries, while no longer usable in their original application, still have capacity and can be entered into the second life market, where suitable applications can be found. 

Hinckley currently receives the following batteries: 

18650 battery type (18mm x 65 mm) voltage of 3.6v and has between 2600 mAh and 3500 mAh = 3500 cells per month
26650 battery type (26.5 mm x 70 mm) of 3.6v and a battery capacity of 5200 mAh= 2000 cells per month




Hinckley Group is actively looking for innovative solutions for second life opportunities for their used Lithium-Ion batteries. 

It may be tricky for second-life batteries to displace new batteries due to the former’s limited lifespan. However, there will be opportunities to repackage them in innovative formats.

This would save importing new cells from Asia which is expensive. Hinckley Group believes there are many innovative entrepreneurs requiring Lithium-Ion cells, whose biggest problem is the procurement cost and availability. Hinckley Group is especially looking to work with local entrepreneurs to solve this challenge.

Hinckley Group are particularly interested in:

  • Providing power in unusual/bespoke battery configurations for people who can’t source the configuration they require
  • Providing cheaper power for the identified sectors for users who cannot afford to buy new batteries on the open market.

Hinckley Group will be taking a modular approach to configure cells to end users` requirements. They are able to manage the battery packs’ loading and balancing with battery management systems expertise. Alongside this challenge, they will be liaising with end users such as commercial kiosk owners for proof of concept and access to testing environments.

Hinckley Group is enthusiastic about the many possibilities of this project. While, they would like to explore a broad range of solutions, their initial focus is on solutions for: 

  • The informal retail sector, such as roadside kiosks
  • Local Mobility, such as scooters and e-bikes
  • Light Provision for homes and businesses
  • Cooling Provision for homes and businesses

The informal retail sector, such as roadside kiosks 
These act as community hubs providing a range of services such as charging phones, POS cash machines and chilling food and beverages. Many rely on small petrol generators for power, which create noise and pollution. Other kiosks have small solar arrays which are effective but typically expensive to purchase, difficult to maintain and often inefficient at night. 

Kiosks generally require low power consumption, and their needs can be met by various power sources. However, generators are increasingly undesirable for economic and environmental reasons, and solar power systems may be unaffordable. Second-life batteries may provide additions/alternatives to either source. For the former, the generator may be run briefly, charging up the batteries which will then provide extended power. For the latter, the batteries will provide a more affordable storage solution than expensive new imported batteries.

Every user will want something different, and there is the possibility of building bespoke systems. 

Local Mobility, such as scooters and e-bikes
Mobility devices have higher power requirements, however when operated in “assist mode” the battery provides additional power rather than total power. Hence the lesser importance of high capacity. Solutions should consider repurposing old batteries in new configurations that are currently unavailable. They may provide solutions for specific brands and models, or generic solutions that are more versatile.

Light Provision for homes and businesses
Lighting is a universal requirement and there are various means available depending on income and location. Households and businesses in less accessible or less well serviced areas often rely on fossil fuelled generators. Hinckley Group would be interested in solutions that help to store power for lighting requirements, either supplying energy directly or indirectly via charging other elements.

Cooling Provision for homes and businesses
Cooling is important for personal comfort and for safe transport and storage of foods. Hinckley Group would be interested in solutions that help to create or extend the cold chain into useful areas, or to reduce the current cost of operations.

Solutions are invited but not limited from the following sectors:

  • Renewables, eg solar
  • electronics
  • engineering
  • power solutions
  • mobile energy
  • telecoms
  • retailers & merchandisers

Related Challenge
This challenge will complement another challenge being run concurrently to build a robust battery inventory process. Together, the solutions will help to solve the problem of valuable power resources being discarded, which creates unnecessary expense and pollution. The solutions will help to minimise batteries’ negative environmental impact and support the local circular economy. They will also create opportunities for local businesses to play their role in achieving NetZero as well as supporting innovative businesses.

Rewards & Benefits

Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to pitch their solution to Hinckley Group. 

The winning applicant, as selected by Hinckley, will get the opportunity to collaborate with Hinckley on a trial project.

The package may also include:

  • Up to 25k seed funding (subject to T&C). Note: seed funding is only available for up to 12 months, so longer term projects should be scheduled to reach milestones within this period.
  • Access to Hinkley Group facilities (workshop at Lekki Axis) and batteries
  • Technical support and mentorship from Hinckley Group team
  • Mentorship programme with Startup Discovery School (facilitated by KTN)
  • Industry sector expertise from KTN
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot
  • Invitation to attend or present at KTN events
  • Investor introductions (if investment is required)
  • Application support for any Innovate UK or similar competitions that are relevant.

Functional Requirements

In the particular areas of interest identified:

Informal Retail
The solutions will be used to power small roadside kiosks without external power available. They must be able to provide power for:

  • Electronic machines
  • Lights
  • Fans
  • Charging phones
  • Any additional uses required

Hinckley Group would like to power 25+ kiosks in 2023 pilot and 50+ in 2024


Local Mobility
The solutions must provide additional power to personal transport devices such as:

  • Scooters
  • E-bikes
  • Wheelchairs

Hinckley Group would like to power 25+ devices in 2023 pilot and 50+ in 2024


Light Provision
The solutions should be able to power light provision related to:

  • Domestic light
  • Commercial light
  • Mobile lighting
  • Event lighting


Cooling Provision
The solutions should be able to power cooling provision related to:

  • Domestic cooling
  • Commercial cooling
  • Mobile cooling
  • Event cooling

Technical Requirements

  • The new configurations/products/services will be tested in the Hinckley Group workshop
  • Certification of products by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria will be required after the trial run
  • Prototypes must be easily scalable to 100+ units initially and then 1,000+ units 

Operating Conditions

  • Solution must provide power for 12 hours minimum (daytime)
  • Power availability 24/7 would be preferable (day and night)
  • Solution should extend the lifetime of batteries by 3 years
  • Solution must be able to operate in hot temperature
  • Solution must be able to operate during rainy season
  • Solution must be non-polluting 
  • The batteries array would be stacked using technology that allows interchangeable cells.

Deployment Timescale

29 Sep 2022: Competition Launch /Information Session/Q&A
11 Nov 2022: Deadline for applications
15 Dec 2022: Selection and notification of finalists
15 Jan 2022: Pitch day (provisional date)
20 Jan 2023: Selection of Winner (provisional date)
Jan 2023 – Feb 2023: Collaboration Discussions
Mar 2023: Pilot programme  started

Cost Requirement & Market Opportunity

  • Power solutions must be 33% cheaper than new imported power solutions. Current cost of a single imported LIB cell ranges from $12 USD to $25 USD
  • Initially there will be 100-1,000 unit sales per opportunity area (kiosk, mobility, light, power)
  • Innovators will become full partners with Hinckley Group to service new market opportunities
  • All solutions must be commercially viable in Nigeria
  • Hinckley Group can provide initial  battery feedstock and source more batteries if needed.
  • They can also take back batteries at the end of their second-life for evaluation and categorisation.

Out of Scope

  • Large electric vehicles

Eligibility & Assessment Criteria

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
  • Africa-based entrants are prioritised but solutions from the UK or RoW are also invited to apply

Due Diligence requirements for seedfunding:

  • Applicants must ensure that receiving the £25k seed funding will not exceed the £315,000* state aid threshold under UK Minimal Financial Assistance regulations over the current and last 2 fiscal years [or *200,000 euros for applicants affected by EC de minimis regulations]
  • Further information will be required later relating to company policies, financial history and recent grant funding received.

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Relevance to the topic
  • Innovative nature of the subject
  • Coherence of the proposed business model
  • Feasibility/ economic viability
  • Development potential
  • Maturity of project/solution
  • Ability to launch project quickly/Ease of implementation
  • Price/quality ratio
  • Suitability for the Nigerian Market

IP & Potential Commercial Route

  • Existing background IP associated with a potential solution will remain with Solution Provider(s). Where any new IP generation is envisaged, it will be subject to the mutual IP agreement of the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Any commercial deployment of a transferred solution or newly developed solution, through licensing, joint venture, partnership or direct investment, will be subject to the commercial agreement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Where necessary, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) may be signed to uphold confidentiality in the engagement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger. (This would be expected to be after company selection; initially it is suggested that details of IP not be disclosed; focus on the outcomes of the technology proposed).
  • KTN does not take any share of IP ownership or enter into commercial ventures through the iX programme.