Tata Chemicals Limited (TCL), a subsidiary of Tata Group involved in producing chemical products, has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). As per the MoU, TCL will be responsible for transferring of ISRO’s lithium-ion cell technology, developed by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).
Used to produce space-grade lithium-ion cells to power rockets and satellites, the technology will be transferred to Tata Chemicals in order to understand its viability for manufacturing lithium-ion cells in India.
The technology would be provided to TCL on a non-exclusive basis, meaning ISRO might forward the tech to other firms as well sometime in the future. As for TCL, the firm will use it to manufacture lithium-ion cells of varying size, capacity, energy and power density to cater to the power storage requirements in the Indian market.
The move comes as an attempt to make state-of-the-art technology more commercially available within the country. Lithium-ion batteries have found a more widespread use globally with the advent of electric vehicles. While they were mostly limited to powering consumer gadgets previously and hence were being produced in a limited size and capacity range, electric vehicles now require a major enhancement of these, both in terms of size as well as capacity.
Back in January, TCL had announced its plans to invest in a homegrown production of lithium-ion batteries. The company had also made clear that it will be producing these in manufacturing in Gujarat. Many other players have also announced their interest in this.
As of now, India has 1 GWh of Li-Ion assembling facility. All the involved OEMs are currently importing batteries from China, Taiwan, and Korea. Even though these Indian companies (some) have already entered into the cell to pack assembling, there is none, as of now, involved with Li-Ion cell manufacturing within the country.
The good news, however, is that 4-5 institutions are in discussion to put up cell manufacturing facilities in India in the next 2-3 years, as per Debi Prasad Dash, Executive Director, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA). The recent move by the govt to lower customs duty on imports of parts and components of EVs to 10% from 15% will also help with this.
Once an indigenous setup for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries is in place, India can largely benefit indirect as well as indirect ways. While the batteries will empower most of the electrically run devices in the country, an impending transition to electric vehicles will also be propelled by this, as the lower cost of batteries will pull down the cost of EVs, helping in their mass adoption.
Source- India Times