Battery Technologies, Manufacture And Use: Challenges And Opportunities

By EFY Bureau

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Battery technologies have emerged significantly, and batteries are now used in diverse applications such as portable electronic devices to electric vehicles. The article is based on a panel discussion at the Battery Tech Show 2021 among the panelists Savio Monteiro, Senior Vice President, Energy, Oil & Gas and Utilities, Praxis Global Alliance; Ashwin Shankar, CEO, BatteryPool; Shreyas Shibulal, Founder and Director, Micelio Mobility; and Naresh Neelkantan, Senior Architect, Sasken Technologies.

With the evolving need for energy storage technologies, we can expect new and improved chemistries replacing the lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that are currently dominating.

According to Shreyas Shibulal, Founder and Director, Micelio Mobility, there are a couple of reasons behind this dominance of Li-ion batteries. The first is their much higher energy densities than many others, which enables their compact packaging. The second is the high life cycle of these batteries.

The various commercially available Li-ion batteries are lithium-manganese oxide (LMO), lithium-iron phosphate (LFP), lithium-nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NCM), lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminium oxide (NCA), and lithium-titanium oxide (LTO). Each of these has its own pros and cons. Savio Monteiro, Senior Vice President – Energy, Oil & Gas and Utilities, Praxis Global Alliance, informs that the NCM batteries NCM622 and NCM811 are improving the battery technologies in terms of energy density and life cycle.

Shedding light on the roadblocks hampering the progress of battery technologies in India, Shibulal says, “Thermal management is the biggest roadblock. The weather conditions and temperature constraints are important aspects that manufacturers keep in mind. The temperature in India goes as high as 48 to 50°C, but the batteries available today are suitable for only up to 40°C.”

High temperature causes the liquid electrolyte between the cathode and anode to expand, putting stress on outer casings and making them prone to bulging, cracking, or even puncture. So, they need a porous barrier to limit chemical activity. Moreover, extreme heat causes combustion readily, so as the temperature increases further, there is a possibility of explosion or at least degradation of the battery capacity. EV batteries, therefore, must be equipped with cooling systems, which makes them more expensive.

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