India’s first lithium-ion production facility is set to open as the country continues to embrace the technology for everything from grid-scale storage to e-mobility applications.
The Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI) facility is to start production in two months in Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu, reports Indian newswire IANS.
Beside lithium-ion, CECRI is also reportedly working on zinc bromide redox flow battery for grid level storage of renewable energy.
The target for this is 2022 with Professor Vijayamohan Pillai, CECRI director, telling IANS ‘we will have something to show by two years’.
However, although it’s a key milestone in the country’s energy storage journey, Asia’s big lithium-ion firms will not be losing sleep just yet.
That’s because initial output is some way from Panasonic’s ‘gigafactory’ scale.
Pillai told IANS that in two months they would ‘attain capacity to produce at least 100 batteries in a day at our lab’.
He added: “It’s the first time that we will have our own technology and potential to produce lithium-ion batteries domestically. This would help in cutting costs as well as our dependence on the foreign market.”
That dependence would make a small, but significant, dent in the global 33 billion lithium-ion battery market. That’s because 100% of the 1billion lithium-ion batteries India currently uses are imported.
CECRI has also invited interest from investors for mass production, with IANS reporting that a Canada-based firm is willing to install a plant in India.
The CECRI technology includes a 400 mAh (milliampere hour) battery.
“The application is also for railway lighting and signalling, for which Indian Railway majorly uses lead-acid batteries which are polluting. Railways also use lithium-ion batteries which are imported and expensive,” Pillai said.
“For laptops and mobiles, we have a long way to go. Although there’s a plan, we must understand that we, for now, don’t have that kind of expertise here and depend on China, Japan and Taiwan. They have several years’ head-start.”