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India's EV Charging Ecosystem is Growing A Tech-Powered 'Atmanirbhar'-Backbone

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From electric vehicles (EV), charging infrastructure of the same to new revolutionary chemistry cell battery technologies, India's EV market is indeed on the wheels of progress and growth. Accordingly, a study by Prescient & Strategic Intelligence indicates that the nation’s EV market would grow about $ 707.4 million by 2025 at a CAGR of 34.5 percent.

It wouldn’t come off much as a surprise if that number increased, considering how the nation is sorting to adopt eco-friendly products and services. For instance, Ola’s electric two-wheeler and its manufacturing plant for the same, among other already existing indigenous and non-indigenous EV manufacturers in the nation.

Coming to the charging infrastructure for these vehicles, the nation is also looking into healthy energy-saving storage systems. There are already big projects set for progress in this space like battery storage systems with energy-saving methods and of course the eco-friendly aspect is not missed as well. All these contribute to boosting the growth of the nation's EV charging market, given the immense changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to most businesses. These businesses are stepping their accelerators to devise better products and services in the nation’s EV charging market.

As per their quick actions, a report by IndustryARC predicts that the EV charging stations market is projected to reach about $ 5.6 billion by 2026 at a 5.0 percent CAGR from 2021 to 2026.

4000 Megawatt Hour of Grid-Scale Battery Storage System?
That’s right; the government has already set forth in preparing a blueprint for this project that speaks of 4000-megawatt hours of grid-scale battery storage systems. These are planned to be dropped at regional load dispatch centers that on look at the nation’s power grid, balancing the fluctuations of renewable energy.

Department of Science and Technology has introduced ‘Materials for Energy Storage’ and 'Material for Energy Conservation' and 'Storage Platform' programs, has implanted centers for batteries and supercapacitors. These efforts are done to develop energy materials for effective electrochemical energy storage systems.

Then there’s Reliance Industries Ltd., already set plans for growing an Energy Storage Giga plant, while state-owned NTPC Ltd recently launched a global auction for a grid-scale battery storage project. This investment in Giga factories for advanced chemistry cell battery storage as well as hydrogen fuels coincides with the government's goal to tailor a smooth transition for EVs in the coming decades. The amount to be spent for this project is said to be around Rs.60,000 crore on four Giga factories on 5,000 acres of land in Jamnagar, Gujarat, home to the world's largest refining complex, to produce solar cells, modules, hydrogen, fuel cells, and a battery grid to store electricity.

While state-owned NTPC Ltd., has launched a global tender for a grid-scale battery storage projects.

On another page, the Union Ministry's large grid-scale storage project is believed to be an intrusive mechanism to counteract any sharp fluctuations in grid frequency caused by renewable. One part of the capacity is set aside as an auxiliary for grid controllers, while the other is made available to the project developer to be leveraged on a commercial basis, by storing energy from it during peak hours and drawing from it during peak hours.

Moreover, the National Load Dispatch Centre and a combination of five RLDCs and 33 state load dispatch centers are managed by Posoco, India's power grid operator. To handle the growing amount of renewable in the country's energy generation mix, storage is being proposed at the RLDC level.

In addition to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, which aids broad-based Research and Development Program on energy storage; other units of the government are actively involved in this space as well. Namely, the Department of Science and Technology has introduced 'Materials for Energy Storage' and 'Material for Energy Conservation' and 'Storage Platform' programs, has implanted centers for batteries and supercapacitors. These efforts are done to develop energy materials for effective electrochemical energy storage systems.

But little was known that a whole new range of battery types would also enter the picture and rival the already existing lithium-ion battery landscape.

Chemistry Cell Battery Technologies on Equal Grounds with Lithium-ion Batteries
Since it was mostly believed that the Lithium-ion landscape would be a backbone to upcoming projects in this space, however, a whole new force of chemistry cell battery technologies advancing to this ecosystem. This new imperative is believed to scan upcoming technological innovations in terms of enhanced viability and end-use perspective while project proposals are prepared. The new impetus in question is a rechargeable iron air battery developed by a US-based startup for electricity grid storage. It promises to deliver power that costs 10 times less than those of lithium-ion batteries.

It comes with solid-state batteries that use alternatives to aqueous electrolyte solutions and it could most likely become an innovation that could reduce those risky fire burns, increase energy density and the whole battery could take about 10 minutes to charge. It cuts down charging time by two-thirds and is currently on the friend’s request list among the mobility sector.

The battery works on the principle of 'reversible rusting', meaning it breathes in oxygen from the air to change iron metal rust while discharging and while charging, an electrical current transforms rust back to iron and the battery releases oxygen back into the air.

However, the size and weight of the battery make it infeasible for use in electric vehicles.

Toyota's solid-state battery: The Japanese automaker has its target to seize control of the Li-ion battery pack market from the Chinese. As it intends to be the first firm to offer an EV using a solid-state battery, a prototype will be unveiled this year. For that matter, Nissan has also entered the fray.

QuantumScape's solid-state battery: QuantumScape did, however, had to succumb to aspects like cycle life, operating temperature, cathode loading, among others, since it brewed many attempts to develop a solid-state separator (electrolyte) capable of working with lithium metal. But this time, it seems to have gotten by employing solid-state separator technology, which removes the side reaction between the liquid electrolyte and the carbon in traditional lithium-ion cell anodes.

Stanford University researchers claimed in July 2020 that they had created a novel electrolyte design that improves the performance of lithium metal batteries, extending the range of electric vehicles. They claimed that the electrolyte solution was one of the most significant roadblocks to lithium metal battery development.

Penn State University researchers have previously claimed to have invented a lithium-ion battery that is both safe and capable of lasting one million miles. The new battery was developed by a team of researchers at Penn State's Battery and Energy Storage Technology Center.

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