The RegenBox project
The story of RegenBox begins long before its appearance in France in 2015.
Indeed, following research work, a patent dating from the 80s allowing the regeneration of alkaline batteries was found.
This program is one of the Atelier21 projects and is called "Paléo-énergie". It aims to unearth the energy innovations of the past, forgotten patents and to trace a counter-history of renewable energies to meet and support our current energy and climate challenges.
In the 1980s, Karl Kordesh, one of the co-inventors of the alkaline battery, had already thought about the regenerability of these so-called single-use batteries.
He then filed a patent for his invention on which the creators of the Rayovac Renewal charger were based.
This revolutionary product, however, did not find enough interested parties to persist over time and gradually fell into oblivion.
It will thus be necessary to wait about thirty years for Atelier21 to take an interest in this invention, which makes it possible to considerably reduce battery consumption! This is the start of the RegenBox.
For a few years, Atelier21 has been studying the object and the patent to find a way to make it even more efficient and with a very minimalist design. Thus was launched a retro-tech project on a scale that the members of the association did not even imagine at the time.
In 2015, the very first version of the RegenBox was launched during a hackathon, and it was the start of a great adventure.
2016, following a crowdfunding campaign , the “DIY” RegenBox comes out of Atelier21. Thus, more than 200 participants received a box containing a complete electronic assembly kit with 4 batteries.
Our beta testers thus had the opportunity to regenerate them, test them and transmit the results thanks to the datalogging module including the number of possible reuses and the actual capacity of the batteries.
Objective: to identify the most robust batteries to benefit the community. From then on, our R&D does not stop.
Since then, the RegenBox range has grown:
the RegenBox XL, capable of regenerating 20 batteries simultaneously,
the RegenCase, an educational kit and a mini sorting and regeneration center to raise awareness among the general public and businesses about battery issues,
the RegenBot, the automatic battery sorting robot
We note that no capacity of alkaline batteries is mentioned in order to know the real power of the purchased battery. Our battery tests continue and we decide to open our database in a future website allowing to compare the different models of batteries according to their capacity and their price.
Thus, this future site called Youpile.org will make it possible to share our research work with as many people as possible.
The RegenBox aims to significantly reduce the amount of waste produced by batteries each year. The alkaline battery is one of the easiest toxic wastes to access and very often too easily thrown away in conventional trash cans.
These non-recycled batteries are then incinerated or landfilled.
Although it has a relatively high recyclability rate, recycling is not the most sustainable solution because of its energy cost.
Positioning itself as the first alkaline battery regenerator, the RegenBox not only makes it possible to restore several lives to alkaline batteries but also to participate in larger projects.
Thanks to the educational strength of the RegenBox, we support French schools (colleges, high schools, universities) in an ecological and educational approach.
Raising awareness and educating young people about these environmental issues seems to us to be a major mission.
The RegenBox is also distributed free of charge in many African FabLabs in order to allow this technology to be distributed to a large number of individuals to enable them to recharge their batteries at a lower cost. The creation of a working group on the African battery market (comparative study, recycling, quantification of impacts, etc.) has become essential to meet the economic and ecological challenges of this continent.
FabLabs are the ideal places to host the RegenBox project for the development of digital knowledge. By pooling machines but also experiences, they contribute to the accumulation of knowledge and the transfer of this knowledge through training programs. Knowledge is therefore both a component of the FabLab and also an objective.