Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is in the process of transferring the technology of the cheaper version of space batteries developed by it to the automobile industry for commercial use in e-vehicles, a development that will certainly give a thrust to the Centre’s ambitious e-vehicle project with the objective of reducing air pollution and crude oil import.
ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan has recently said, “We have identified (developed) the technology to reduce the cost of space batteries to be used for e-vehicle production. Now, we are in the process of transferring the technology on low-cost batteries to the (automobile) industry for its commercial use with the help of NITI Aayog.”
In a interview conducted couple of months back, Dr K Sivan has expressed the idea behind the development of this technology by ISRO – “ISRO developed this technology (li-ion battery) for our space systems. The special advantages of the li-ion batteries are large duration, high energy density , and lower mass, all of which are very much suitable for our applications. For space systems, we need the batteries to be robust and non-degradable, and the costs are very high. We also wanted to do it for ourselves, instead of having to always depend on others”
ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) tested these batteries and found suitable for automotive systems as well. ARAI made the battery packs for two-wheelers using the cells supplied by ISRO.Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari took the initiative of transferring this technology to the automotive industry.
In another development promoting outsourcing of space components, ISRO is currently having a memorandum of understanding(MoU) with BHEL to generate space-grade batteries.Speaking about the co-operation with BHEL for producing space-grade batteries, Dr K Sivan said, “We need these in huge numbers for our satellite and launch-vehicle requirements, but can not produce that much in our pilot plant. We need a bigger facility. Though we can support BHEL if they want to use it for commercial purposes, the present MoU is only for space-grade cells.”