Indian Oil's aluminium-air battery manufacturing JV readies itself for manufacturing rollout
Hindalco Industries, one of the nation's largest aluminium manufacturers, is assisting in the project with its research and development, pilot production of aluminium plates for aluminium-air batteries, and recycling of aluminium after use in these batteries.
IOC Phinergy, a joint venture between Indian Oil Corporation (IndianOil) and Israel's Phinergy, which specialises in hybrid lithium-ion and aluminium-air/zinc-air battery systems, is working to develop a blueprint for establishing facilities in India, even as real-world tests on vehicles provided by Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors are already underway. In addition, the company last year also received letters of intent from Maruti Suzuki and Ashok Leyland.
According to Sanjeev Gupta, executive director of corporate strategy at IndianOil and chairman of IOC Phinergy, Hindalco Industries, one of the nation's largest aluminium manufacturers, is assisting in the project with its research and development, pilot production of aluminium plates for aluminium-air batteries, and recycling of aluminium after use in these batteries. According to the project's accessibility to its OEM bases, automotive hubs like Pune, Aurangabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Delhi NCR may be the obvious choices for it. “The details are still being worked out,” he added.
In the aluminium-air battery, developed by Phinergy, energy is released when aluminium reacts with oxygen in ambient air to produce aluminium hydroxide. Due to its light weight and high energy density, an aluminium-air battery significantly increases the driving range of electric vehicles. It also enables quick ‘refuelling’ and eliminates the need for expensive nationwide charging networks. As a result, aluminium-air batteries are expected to make EV adoption more convenient and accelerate the transition to zero-emission mobility. An added benefit is that the aluminium hydroxide in the battery can be recycled to recover aluminium.
As per Aviv Tzidon, chairman of Phinergy, a larger advantage with the adoption of aluminium-air technology is that India can own its destiny as it is already among the world's largest manufacturers. However, total reliance on lithium would simply transfer the dependency from oil-producing cartel countries to Chinese companies, which control nearly half of global lithium production. Also, energy for the aluminium-air battery comes from hydro, which is a clean source as opposed to those used in electricity generation in India, which largely remain coal based. “So the advantages are many,” he concluded while referring to similar adoption of the technology in other sectors such as telecom, where it is being used in network towers.
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