Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, a research unit under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has signed a memorandum of agreement with RAASI Solar Power Pvt Ltd, a private company, for transfer of technology for India’s first lithium ion (Li-ion) battery project.
CECRI director Vijayamohan K Pillai and RAASI Group chairman-cum-managing director C Narasimhan signed the agreement in Bengaluru on Saturday in the presence of union minister for science and technology Dr Harsh Vardhan.
A group at CSIR-CECRI headed by Gopu Kumar developed the 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 lithium-ion cells. It has secured global IPRs with potential to enable cost reduction, coupled with appropriate supply chain and manufacturing technology for mass production.
Currently, Indian electric vehicle manufacturers source lithium ion battery from China, Japan and South Korea, among other countries. India is one of the largest importers and in 2017, it imported nearly $150 million worth Li-Ion batteries.
“Today’s development is a validation of the capabilities of CSIR and its laboratories to meet technology in critical areas to support our industry, besides other sectors,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan after the signing ceremony. “It will give tremendous boost to two flagship programmes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – increasing the share of clean energy in the energy basket by generating 175 Giga Watts by 2022, of which 100 Giga Watts will be Solar and the second, National Electric Mobility Mission, to switch completely to electric vehicles by 2030.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, the project is in tune with Prime Minister’s vision of “Make in India”, to turn India into a manufacturing hub and to cut down outflow of foreign exchange.
Raasi Group will set up the manufacturing facility in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu close to Bangalore. “We want to bring down the cost of cell manufacturing to below Rs15,000 per KW to replace lead acid battery,” said Narasimhan. “We also have plans to make lithium ion battery for solar roof top with life span of 25 years to make it affordable enough to drive the photo voltaic segment.”
Li-Ion batteries have applications in energy storage system – from hearing aid to container sized batteries to power a cluster of villages, electric vehicles (2-wheeler, 3-wheeler, 4-wheeler and bus), portable electronic sector, grid storage, telecom and telecommunication towers, medical devices, household and office power back-ups (UPS)and powering robots in processing industry.
Lithium-ion batteries can power any electrical application without the need of physical wires, ie, wireless connection.