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India to manufacture indigenous lithium-ion batteries

On 10 June, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI) under the Council for Scientific Industrial Research, and the RAASI Solar Power Private Limited group, for the first transfer of technology for lithium-ion batteries in India.

In an official press statement, the Ministry of Science and Technology said that up until now, India’s source of lithium-ion (Li-ion)  batteries have been China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and a few other countries. Due to India’s lack of mineral reserves, it has become one of the largest importers, and in 2017 it imported nearly US $150 million worth of lithium-ion batteries.

The technology has been developed by a group of scientists at the Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR)'s CECRI in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu's, in partnership with CSIR-National Physical Laboratory, CSIR-Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute, Kolkata and CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in Hyderabad.

The press release said that a demo facility has already been set up to manufacture prototype lithium-ion batteries in Chennai. The project has procured international intellectual property rights with the potential to enable cost reduction, coupled with appropriate supply chain and manufacturing technology for mass production. Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Minister of Science and Technology, said that this project is evidence of the CSIR’s ability to provide technology in critical areas to support the industry.

The RAASI Group will set up the manufacturing facility in the Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu, which is located near Bangalore.

Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that the project will boost the Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi’s two flagship programmes - generating 175 gW (Giga Watts) by 2022, out of which 100 gW will be solar and the second, the National Electric Mobility Mission, to switch completely to electric vehicles by 2030.

The initiative falls in line with Indian Prime Minister’s “Make in India” plan that is to increase India’s manufacturing capacity and reduce the outflow of foreign exchange. It will not only provide independence from other nations but also has the potential to increase clean energy production in the country.

The Founder and Managing Director of the RAASI group, Mr C. Narsimhan said that the idea is to bring down the cost of cell manufacturing to IN ₹15,000 (about US $223) per kW (Kilo Watts) to replace Lead Acid Battery. It also plans to make lithium-ion batteries for rooftop solar panels with a lifespan of 25 years and make it affordable enough to power the Photo Voltaic segment.

Lithium-ion batteries have applications in energy storage systems and can power a number of electrical applications such as hearing aids, electric vehicles, portable electronic sector, grid storage, telecommunication towers, and medical devices etc., without the use of physical wires.

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