Indian Oil partners Phinergy of Israel for manufacture of metal-air batteries for EVs

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 04 Feb 2020

In its quest to embrace emerging energy alternatives and to firm up viable, customer-convenient automobile battery technology options, Indian Oil Corporation (Indian Oil) has firmed up its equity participation in Phinergy, Israel, for production of metal-air batteries. 

Phinergy specialises in aluminium-air (Al-Air) and zinc-air battery systems that have great potential applications in electric mobility and stationary applications. Aluminium is naturally available in India and their extraction and recycling technologies are also very well established. Indian Oil's collaboration with Phinergy in the field of Al-Air will help in reducing import dependence of the country and isolates the country's energy requirements from global geo-political and currency risks.

Phinergy’s aluminium-air technology enables to store, transport and discharge clean energy around the world. Phinergy’s aluminium-air systems produce energy by combining aluminium, oxygen, and water. Oxygen is a key reactant releasing energy from metal. Unlike conventional batteries that carry oxygen within a heavy electrode, metal-air energy systems freely breathe oxygen from ambient air, making the systems significantly lighter.

Phinergy’s air-electrode technology has enabled it to master the metal-air reaction process and develop an aluminium-air system with a lifespan of thousands of working hours, relieving the main constraints of electric transportation and clean distributed generation.

In January 2018, Chennai-based Ashok Leyland had inked a partnership with Phinergy to develop electric commercial vehicle solutions.

IOC takes a minority stake in Phinergy
To start with, IndianOil has taken a minority equity stake in Phinergy (Israel). Indian Oil and Phinergy are now in the process of forming a Joint Venture in India for collaboration in the field of Al-Air battery system including research & development, customization, manufacturing, assembly, sell and service of aluminium-air energy systems technology. The joint venture intends to setup a factory in India to manufacture Al-Air batteries for Electric Vehicles and stationary applications and facilitate development of eco-system for Al-Air technology. 

Referring to the affirmative step in battery technology space, Sanjiv Singh, chairman, Indian Oil, said that Indian Oil is evaluating and firming up a number of opportunities to provide Indian automobile consumers feasible and scalable alternative energy options. "We are confident that this Al-Air battery technology would complement Lithium-ion batteries to provide a hybrid solution for large-scale adoption of electric vehicles in the country. Al-air battery technology has advantages on a number of factors like range, energy density, safety of operations, lifecycle and India-centric," he added.

Phinergy is a start-up in clean and high energy-density battery systems based on metal-air technology, which generates electricity using aluminium or zinc as an energy source mainly. Phinergy's CEO, David Mayer added "Phinergy is glad to join forces with IOCL and share the vision of enabling clean and affordable energy solutions for India".

Both companies are in discussions with leading auto manufacturers for adoption of this technology in three-wheelers, cars and buses. Indian Oil says they have also shown interest in evaluation and subsequent adoption of this technology.

Images: Phinergy