IIT Kharagpur Signs MoU With Uneverse Mobility For The Development and Commercialization Of Sodium Ion Batteries In India

Kolkata, September, 2023: Uneverse Mobility Pvt Ltda Kolkata based startup focusing on next-generation battery technology and e-mobility segments, today, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur)for commercialization and further development of the Sodium Ion technology.

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A team headed by Prof Amreesh Chandra from the Department of Physics at IIT Kharagpur has been working extensively on the development of Sodium-ion-based energy solutions. They were amongst the first group of researchers in India who were funded by the Department of Science and Technology under their flagship scheme “Materials for Energy Storage”. The team has the capabilities to develop energy storage solutions starting from materials development, device level integration, and recycling to the determination of the carbon footprint of the complete process.

Advantages of using this technology:

  •  The Sodium-ion batteries will be 30% to 40% less expensive compared to lithium-ion technology
  •  There will be a 100% indigenous supply chain where the import of raw materials will not be required
  •  There will be a low carbon footprint
  •  These products will not be dependent on the mining of raw materials for electrodes
  •  There will be near zero risk of accidental fires, unlike Lithium. The technology developed already has a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 7 thereby paving the way for industrialization.

“In comparison to Lithium-ion batteries, the sodium-ion batteries will be up to 40% cheaper, much safer, and have lower carbon footprint. Sodium-ion batteries address the concerns of geopolitical and supply-chain issues, which are associated with Lithium-ion batteries. The materials, which will be used in such Sodium-ion batteries, have been fabricated in-house. Hence, the batteries would be a live example of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make for India’. Many of the Ministries of the Government of India have already started discussions and feasibility studies on the possibility of Sodium-ion based energy storage landscape and the future thus looks promising and exciting”, said Prof. Amreesh Chandra, Department of Physics, IIT Kharagpur.

“India’s current EV sector is characterized by dependency on subsidies, import-dependent supply chain & lack of a core indigenous battery technology. For electric mobility to be truly a champion of sustainability, we need the building blocks to be sustainable. Universe is a passionate attempt to create such indigenous building blocks for a sustainable future of e-mobility and clean energy. Universe, thus starts its journey by addressing the core of clean energy and e-mobility, that is, Battery Technology. To achieve this grand purpose, we have entered an exclusive MoU with IIT Kharagpur where indigenously developed sodium ion technology, which will have a portfolio of multiple form factors of cells, will be made available for the Indian market. The developed technology will find application in not only electric vehicles but also in Drones, Consumer Electronics, and Energy Storage. Globally, only a handful of companies have made progress in this technology. Therefore, we are quite upbeat about putting India at the forefront of this game-changing battery technology”, said Mr Manohar Bethapudi, Founder & CEO, of Uneverse Mobility Pvt. Ltd.

“We will be launching the first set of products manufactured out of West Bengal in the next quarter of the current fiscal. We are looking at a pan India market for our product range and are currently in talks with various channel partners for marketing and product distribution”, said Ms Kamalika Guha, Co-Founder and CMO, Uneverse Mobility Pvt Ltd.

Uneverse Mobility will be initially setting up MWscale facilities that would lead to commercialization using the home-grown technology, which already has a technology readiness level (TRL) of 7.Universe Eventually plans to set up GWhscale facilities to cater to both domestic and export markets. India is expected to need 220 Gwh of ACC batteries by 2030. Current Indigenous ACC production planning & deployment is nowhere close to this requirement and therefore presents a huge market opportunity for companies like Uneverse. This joint activity is a perfect example of the changing times in India, where academia-industry collaboration is becoming the focus of research activities in most of the institutes of national importance.

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