India is to halt imports of ‘space-grade’ lithium-ion battery cells for country’s space programme— bringing foreign suppliers down to earth with a bump.
Indian state-owned power plant engineering firm, Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL), has signed a technology transfer agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to produce the agency’s “space grade” cells.
BHEL said it would produce “various capacities” of the cells using technology originally developed by ISRO at its Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.
Battery cells sourced by ISRO from overseas have, for the past six years, been assembled and tested in India by BHEL for use in ISRO’s satellites and launch vehicles.
Now BHEL plans to set up a new manufacturing facility for the cells production at its Bengaluru site. The company said the technology used in the process could be extended for use in the “emerging areas of energy storage and e-mobility”.
BBB reported last year that ISRO was considering moves to transfer cells production into the private sector— but was looking at a range of options.
The cells announcement is in line with India’s ambitions to build a domestic ‘full-cycle’ batteries sector, including batteries for EVs and energy storage.