Business

Indi Energy bets on locally-developed sodium-ion battery technology to win EV race

Indi Energy, a start-up working on battery technology, said its indigenously developed Sodium-ion batteries are the answer to curbing the cases of fire accidents involving electric vehicles (EVs) in the country.

“We believe in a sustainable tomorrow and with this vision, we have developed our products to become India's first company to manufacture sodium-ion batteries,” said Bhabani Mohanty, board member, Indi Energy.

“What makes our innovation unique is that our batteries are developed with agro-waste like rice straw and cattle manure. This helps in indigenously developing low cost, safe and high-performance sodium-ion battery technology. And to accelerate this process, we have set up a hard carbon pilot plant on IIT Roorkee premises,” he added.

Mumbai Angels has invested in the company which was started by four IITians from Roorkee in 2019.

“Our sodium-ion batteries offer better performance and can operate at a wider temperature range. They work much more efficiently in cold environments, are non-flammable and there is no thermal runaway, compared to lithium-ion batteries,” Mr. Mohanty said.

He said the company’s batteries are developed using locally available bio-wastes such as rice straw, cattle manure and earth-abundant materials like sodium that deliver similar performance as compared to import-dependent and expensive lithium-ion batteries at a lower cost.

“As these batteries are from bio-mass/bio-waste and earth-abundant materials, we no longer need to import from countries like China or others for high-performance batteries or battery materials,” he said.

He said Indi Energy's sodium-ion batteries also deliver 3-4 times more energy density and cyclability than currently commercialised poor performing, toxic and heavy lead-acid batteries at similar costs.

He claimed currently, no company in India manufactures sodium-ion cells due to a lack of viable technology which gives the company a huge competitive edge.

Commenting on the recent incidents of fire involving EVs he said, “Lithium-ion battery safety issues have received wide press coverage recently due to the possibility of fire and explosion, if not handled responsibly. We use safer electrolytes that reduce the fire risk in EV batteries.”

“Therefore, our batteries are less likely to experience these types of failures due to their safer chemistry. And as these are made using agro-waste, they do not require cobalt, which is a toxic metal in small doses and can cause respiratory problems in large form over time if inhaled or absorbed through the skin,” he added.


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 12:15:22 am | https://www.thehindu.com/business/indi-energy-bets-on-locally-made-sodium-ion-battery-technology-to-win-ev-race/article65464750.ece