It is well recognized that batteries will form a key component in a sustainable energy ecosystem. And batteries will play an even more pivotal role in the fast growing electric vehicle sector.

What are the R&D and innovation efforts carried out in India for batteries? This post provides an overview.

First, we look at the global innovation emerging trends in batteries

The research and development in the battery field are working towards creating a smaller, lighter, efficient, cost-effective batteries that can last long.

  • Lithium sulphur chemistry can store up to 500 Wh/kg which is almost twice that of the other lithium chemistries. The problem in LiS is that the cost is high and the anode material tends to degrade during recharge which reduces the number of charging cycles of the battery.
  • Zinc-air batteries (non-rechargeable), and zinc-air fuel cells (mechanically rechargeable) are metal-air batteries powered by oxidizing zinc with oxygen from the air. These batteries have high energy densities and are relatively inexpensive to produce. 
  • Zinc-air batteries have some properties of fuel cells as well as batteries: the zinc is the fuel, the reaction rate can be controlled by varying the airflow, and oxidized zinc/electrolyte paste can be replaced with fresh paste.
  • Possible future applications of this battery include its deployment as an electric vehicle battery and as a utility-scale energy storage system.
  • A metal-air electrochemical cell is an electrochemical cell that uses an anode made from pure metal and an external cathode of ambient air, typically with an aqueous or aprotic electrolyte.
  • Lithium-air battery uses the oxidation of metal (lithium) at the anode and reduction of oxygen at the cathode to induce a current flow. The major appeal of the metal-air battery is the extremely high energy density. This chemistry starts to approach the energy density of oil and can theoretically deliver 12 kWh per kg. 
  • The lithium-air battery has never met with as much success as lithium-ion cells due to the difficulty of building a lithium-air cell which can be recharged thousands of times.
  • It could be a decade before Metal-air batteries are a commercial reality.

EV Research in Top Indian Colleges

S. No Institutions Research Area
1.         IIT – Madras  ·         Ashok Leyland and IIT Madras signed an MOU for Battery Engineering – 2017·         Solar-DC and Electric Vehicles An Opportunity for India·         IIT Madras Research Park is working on a model of electric vehicle which will have swappable battery. Centre for Battery Engineering and Electric Vehicles (CBEEV) at IIT Madras Research Park has developed the prototype of a battery that can be externally charged and attached to a vehicle. (2018)·         A research team from Indian Institute of Technology-Madras or IIT-Madras has officially developed the world’s first iron-ion battery. The newly-developed battery promises a low-cost stable alternative to the existing mainstream lithium-ion battery. (2019)
2.         IIT – Bombay  ·         Electrochemical-Engineering-Based Models for Lithium-Ion Batteries—Past, Present, and Future-2017·         IIT-Bombay rolls out India’s 1st electric racing car – 2012·         Ultra-Safe Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer Batteries(2018)·         High Energy Density Lithium Ionic liquid Batteries –  Can be used as Power banks for EVs (2019)
3.         Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani  ·         Performance Analysis of Hybrid Electric Vehicle over Different Driving Cycles – 2017·         A review of optimal energy management strategies for hybrid electric vehicle-2014·         Temperature dependent circuit-based modeling of high power Li-ion battery for plug-in hybrid electrical vehicles-2013·         Modelling the Drivers and Barriers of Electric Vehicle Penetration in Emerging Economy (2019)
4.         College of Engineering, Pune ·         Development of sustainable electric motor for Electric Vehicle – 2017
5.          IIT- Kanpur  ·         Design, Development, and Closed-loop Flight-Testing of a Single Power Plant Variable Pitch Quadrotor Unmanned Air Vehicle -2017·         Development of Powertrain & Battery Management for Electric Vehicles (2019)
6.         IIT Kharagpur  ·         Modeling and Optimization of an Integrated Transformer for Electric Vehicle On-Board Charger Applications 2018·         Multi-Phase Bidirectional Fly-Back Converter Topology for Hybrid Electric Vehicles by T. Bhattacharya, V. Shriganesh Giri, K. Mathew and L. Umanand IEEE Transactions Industrial Electronics vol. 56, no. 1 78-84 (2009)
7.         Jyothy Institute of Technology ·         Trends and Challenges in Electric Vehicles
8.         IIT Delhi  ·         Design, Development and Control of Copper Rotor Induction Motors for Electric Vehicle-2017·         Electric Vehicles — Indian Cog In The Wheel -2012·         Driver less electric vehicle on campus from one point to another point. (2019)
9.         MIT ·         A broad review on desulfation of lead-acid battery for electric hybrid vehicle – 2017
10.     NIT Rourkela  ·         An Improved Control Method for the DC-DC Converter in Vehicle to Grid Charging System-2017·         Improved braking performance of an electric vehicle by integrating plug breaking with regenerating breaking-2015
11.     ISE Grid-integration of Electric Vehicles
12.     Amrita Vishwa Vidhyapeetham ·         Comparison of non-isolated schemes for EV charging and their effect on power quality -2017·         Light Weight Multipurpose Solar Powered Electric Vehicle -2015·         Combining Solar Cells with Supercapacitors and Batteries Integrated Nanomaterial based Photovoltaic Storage Devices -2010·         Brushless DC motor driven plug in electric vehicle- 2013
13.     IIT-Hyderabad PuREenergy, an Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad-incubated startup has launched its long-range, high-performance electric Pure EV two-wheelers designed for Indian conditions. (2019)

Coming soon:

Indian industry innovations for batteries both for EVs and non EV batteries

Innovations in lead acid batteries

Innovations in metal air batteries

Innovations in Li-ion batteries

Innovations and research in emerging battery tech such as flow batteries, solid state batteries, Iron ion battery, sodium-sulphur batteries etc