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Electrical engineer Siva Rajendran is solving two big problems with one good idea. By starting a company that uses discarded batteries from electric cars to power schools in India, Rajendran wants to keep electric batteries out of landfills while simultaneously providing Indian school children with the electricity they need to learn.
According to a story published in Forbes, Rajendran started Totus Power two years ago and is currently trying to raise $40,000 through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to fund production. So far he has raised $10,517.
Rajendran worked for an electric car company before founding Totus Power where he tried to solve the problem of recycling electric car batteries. Rajendran told Forbes that since electric car batteries are reduced to only 70 percent of their original strength after about five years, millions of potentially useful batteries are thrown out every year.
Eventually, Rajendran also became aware of rampant brownouts in Indian schools. After speaking with a friend who was trying to improve education for Indian children, Rajendran learned that even when these children had access to the technological tools they needed to learn, the subpar electrical infrastructure in India left them without electricity much of the day. Soon Rajendran realized that the two problems might have a mutually beneficial solution.
Rajendran has succeeded in obtaining some funding to create a portable power source using electric vehicle batteries that is strong enough to power 20 tablets and a classroom projector for 20 hours. He received $40,000 from StartUp Chile to create a prototype, and now he needs money to create battery management boards.
Rajendran told Forbes that after two years of hard work all of the “key pieces are in place,” the only missing piece is more funding to keep the mission-based venture moving forward.