Over the last few years, lithium-ion (Li-ion) has become the battery chemistry of choice for the energy sector. The government is also actively supporting the manufacture of lithium batteries in the country. One of the major centres of ISRO, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), is also offering to transfer the in-house developed Li-ion cell technology to competent Indian industries on non-exclusive basis to establish Li-ion cell production facilities in the country. Recently, Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu under Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Raasi Solar Power have signed a memorandum of agreement for transfer of technology for India’s first Li-ion battery project. A group at CSIR-CECRI headed by 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 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 manufacturers source lithium ion battery from China, Japan and South Korea among some other countries. India is one of the largest importers and in 2017, it imported nearly $150 million worth Li-ion batteries. Science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan said the pact between the CSIR lab and Rassi Solar Power is a validation of the capabilities of CSIR and its laboratories to meet technology in critical areas to support our industry, besides other sectors. Raasi Group will set up the manufacturing facility in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. Raasi Group CMD C Narasimhan said, “We want to bring down the cost of cell manufacturing below Rs 15,000 per KW to replace lead acid battery. 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.”
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