The Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI), which comes under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and RAASI Solar Power Pvt Ltd have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for the transfer of technology for India’s first Li-ion battery project.
The Raasi Group will soon set up a manufacturing unit in Krishnagiri, located in the state of Tamil Nadu. The group wants to make Li-ion cells affordable for easier adoption in electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage systems (ESS). During the MoA signing, dignitaries from the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) and ISRO were also present.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Vijayamohan K. Pillai of CECRI said, “Manufacturing of Li-ion batteries is extremely important for the economic growth of the country. From hearing aids, to EVs, submarines, aircrafts, Li-ion batteries are indispensable. The market projection for National Mobility Mission is mind-boggling, but unfortunately we did not yet have a Li-ion manufacturing facility in India.”
“We have interacted with vendors and are utilizing these connections in the supply chain to cut down on costs. We need at least 2-3 years to make a few million cells and then we can look at making it viable commercially,” added Dr. Pillai.
A group at CSIR-CECRI headed by Dr. Gopu Kumar has developed an indigenous technology of Lithium-ion cells in partnership with CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) New Delhi, CSIR- Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (CSIR-CGCRI) Kolkata and Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT) Hyderabad.
CSIR-CECRI has set up a demo facility in Chennai to manufacture prototype Li-Ion cells. It has secured global intellectual property rights (IPRs) with the potential to enable cost reduction, coupled with the supply chain and manufacturing technology for mass production.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mylswami Annadurai of ISRO said, “When we can use Li-ion batteries to cross frontiers of space, why can’t we do the same for our EVs, mobiles and other day-to-day activities and uses? With increasing volumes and technological advancements, reliable and affordable Li-ion batteries can be made in India.”
A NAL dignitary also commented, “Li-ion batteries have a huge application in aircrafts, such as planes. Currently, we are working on a twin-seater. There’s a huge potential for Li-ion batteries in unmanned airborne vehicles (UAVs).”
Speaking on the occasion Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science & Technology, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said, “The signing of this MoA will go down as an important day in India’s history. This MoA is the first of its kind in India.”
“This new development will give a tremendous boost to two flagship programs – the first: to generate 175 GW by 2022, of which 100 GW will be solar. And second: To switch completely to electric vehicles by 2030 as part of the National Electric Mobility Mission.” added the minister.
If Li-ion battery manufacturing is developed and supported when the sector is in a relatively nascent stage and demand is low. It will prove to be beneficial for the industry in the long run. For any EV, the battery comprises a major share of the cost. If the batteries are indigenously produced, the costs are expected to dip, making EVs affordable to a larger population.
Recently, the Minister for Power, R.K. Singh, chaired a meeting with battery manufacturers in New Delhi to discuss the creation of an ecosystem for incentivizing battery manufacturing in India.
As reported previously by Mercom, India is targeting the deployment of five to seven million electric vehicles in the country by the year 2020 under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020. The production of these batteries in the country will also help bolster solar, wind and hybrid projects through cheaper BESS systems.