Alumni powering up low-income communities

​An article in Old Joe has created a perfect match between two Birmingham alumni, both passionate about environmentally-friendly energy.

Mark RaysonMark Rayson (BSc Psychology and PE, 1983; MPhil Sport and Exercise Sciences, 1985; PhD Sport and Exercise Sciences, 1997), an investor in small businesses that could change the world, read about Dr Amrit Chandan's (BSc Chemistry, 2010; PhD Hydrogen Fuel Cells and their Applications, 2015) award-winning start-up Aceleron, currently incubating in the University's BizzInn service on campus. 

Amrit says: 'Our goal is to build better batteries. Lithium is a finite resource, but right now, standard batteries die with over two-thirds of their lithium completely fine for further operation. Our design makes batteries last five or six times longer, by making more than half the components replaceable.'

Aceleron's batteries offer many benefits, including affordable energy storage for families on low-incomes, making the most of our limited lithium supply and reducing CO2 emissions. Amrit and co-founder Carlton Cummins were receiving armfuls of awards, but needed investors to take sustainable batteries to those who need them most.

'Mark read about us in Old Joe and came to visit our lab space. Thanks to his belief and investment in us, we've just shipped our first set of batteries to the Caribbean, where families are crying out for batteries to light and power their homes after two devastating hurricanes last year left them without electricity. And now we are testing batteries in sub-Saharan Africa, powering pumps to irrigate fields so farmers can produce more food.'

Mark explains why he wanted to become Aceleron’s first investor: 'Amrit and Aceleron really caught my attention in the alumni magazine. I'm a human scientist by background with no technical knowledge in energy or energy storage, but Amrit's business appealed due to its sustainability, environmental and innovative aspects.

'If we can extend the life of the rapidly growing mountain of used lithium ion batteries and optimise the use of Earths limited supply of raw materials, while improving people's lives – brilliant! I'm proud to be a part, albeit a tiny part, of Aceleron's team.'

If you are interested in joining Mark as an investor in Aceleron, contact Amrit by email.

If an article in Old Joe has had an impact on you, let us know by emailing the alumni communications team.