Substation33: A Plethora Of Innovation With Reused Batteries — Part 2

Let’s talk about some more exciting innovations from Substation33, which specializes in creating high-tech devices from reused batteries and scrap materials. Substation33 is the training arm for NGO YFS.

At this time of year in Australia, flooded roads are a common problem. With La Niña already starting and a higher number of cyclones coming in from the north, the wet season in Northern Australia promises to be very wet indeed. Heavy rainfall has created flooding through the inland Queensland towns of Inglewood and Goondiwindi in the past few days. As this flood surge heads down river, more rain is predicted.

For this, Tony Sharp’s team has created Flooded Road warning signs, made from scrap solar panels and reused batteries. They are activated when water comes over the road. These have been sold to various local authorities and are maintained and monitored by Substation33 on a monthly maintenance plan.

Photo by David Waterworth

The device collects data every 15 mins and displays the data to the website. The data collected by local authorities includes: water level, temperature, humidity, battery charge, and solar cell output. Sensors have to be bought commercially, but most of the materials used in construction are reused and repurposed.

Getting coffee from a solar-powered coffee cart. Photo by David Waterworth

The project that first led me to visit Substation33 was its solar-powered coffee cart. This appeared at the Australian Electric Vehicles EV event a couple of months ago. The cart is made of recycled materials, powered by recovered solar panels and batteries repurposed from old laptops. Students from a local flexi-school run the cart under the supervision of a qualified barista.

Participants get a good coffee, students qualify for a certificate in barista work, and the planet gets a bit of a break.

Congratulations to Tony and the team. If you want to get involved (or you have some e-waste you want to donate), check out the website.

Featured photo courtesy of Substack33.


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