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If everything goes as planned, India could have batteries that could rival those made by Tesla and could power even a minibus. There are few details on the performance but its nice to know India is one of many countries researching energy storage 

Scientists at a Hyderabad-based metallurgy institute are working on developing a super-capacitor battery to run bicycles. The project is in the advanced stage. If it is successful, this could allow us to run the metro rail with the help of batteries in future.

International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), which is working on the project, has already applied for a patent for the material that it has developed for manufacturing higher capacity supercapacitor.

The project plays a key role in the development of alternative energy sources in the automotive sector as governments look to contain global warming caused by buring of fossil fuels.

Proof of Concept

Speaking on the sidelines of the 104th Indian Science Congress on Wednesday here, ARCI associate director Dr Tata Narsinga Rao said, “Supercapacitor battery run bicycle has crossed the state of the proof concept. We will demonstrate it in a year at the ARCI campus. This bicycle can be operated for two to five kilometers without charging. The same technology will be used to make supercapacitor battery to run minibuses in next five years. We need to have electric charging stations for five km at least so that the minibus battery can be charged quickly while passengers board the bus. We have developed the technology and it is up to the industry to use it.”

A bicycle needs 48 volt and 6 to 10 amps-hour.  China has already developed a battery bus that charges in 10 seconds. The US-based Tesla Motors is also planning to build batteries to run heavy-duty trucks.

Scientists at ARCI made a supercapacitor of 10 F capacity using indigenously available materials. “A carbon material with moderate surface has been used to establish the process of electrode making,” an ARCI scientist explained.“Long duration tests as well as further improvement in design are under progress. CFCT has a staple of several materials which will be used in the coming months to build high capacity super-capacitors,” he said.

He said all the smart cities that are coming up can have these supercapacitor-battery run buses. India has been depending on imports of li-ion batteries to be used in mo-biles and e-automobiles.

Centre for Automotive Energy Material

Centre for Automotive Energy Materials (CAEM) has been recently set up at Indian Institute of Technology (M) Research Park, Chennai with a focus to start major R&D programmes on Materials and Components Technology for Electric Vehicle (EV) / Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) applications. The Centre is developing Li-ion battery for EVs/ HEVs by setting up Research facility for Lithium-ion cells and battery packs at pilot plant scale. Lithium-ion battery technology is projected to be the leapfrog technology for automotive sectors to provide stationary storage solutions to enable the effective use of renewable energy sources. Giant automobile manufacturers like Ashok Leyland are already engaged in the Manufacture of EV based on Lithium-ion batteries (LIB’s) and CAEM has initiated the interactions to work closely with them to demonstrate ARCI’s in-house Li-battery technology for EVs.

CAEM adopts two modes of approach in developing the Li-battery Technology: the first is to set up a state-of-the-art pilot scale facility and to establish the manufacturing technology with internationally known commercial electrode materials for the fabrication of Li-ion battery and the second is to indigenously develop the technology for producing the standard electrode materials/new materials, and test them for the charge/discharge characteristics. The optimized process or the Material Technology will be scaled up and tested in the Lithium-ion battery pilot plant facility set up at IITM- Research Park.

CAEM has also launched research programmes on developing high saturation soft magnets (Fe-P) and high coercivity rare earth permanent magnets (Nd-Fe-B, Sm-Fe-N) for EV motor applications The scientific and technological issues in developing the above magnets for high performance applications are addressed through close technical interaction with automotive industries. In addition to the above project mode missions on energy storage / saving materials, CAEM has initiated an in-house programme on development of Thermoelectric materials with high efficiency for auto exhaust heat conversion applications. For all the above activities, core competence is being built up for establishing the required facilities and human resources, so as to deliver the automotive technologies to the industries.


Breakthrough Energy Funding
A new approach to recycle greenhouse gas into a bio-fuel feed stock