India’s Oil-Phinergy joint venture is about to build an aluminum-air battery plant in India

Shirish Gandhi

In recent years, the Indian Petroleum Corporation (IOCL) has been rapidly diversifying the production of alternative energy sources. As part of its strategy, the company has partnered with the Israeli start-up Phinergy to develop Al-air batteries, and the partners are stepping up preparations to establish their manufacturing plants as soon as possible. “We will build a factory. IOCL Chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya said at a web conference on “Conference Emission Challenges” organized by our sister publication ” OurProfessional”: “The Memorandum of Understanding has been signed, and we will set up a factory in India soon. “

  • Indian and Israeli companies have established a joint venture called IOC Phinergy
  • Partners will soon establish an aluminum air battery production plant in India
  • Aluminum-air batteries are very economical and can provide a greater driving range, although charging is a problem

Partnership between Indian Petroleum Corporation and Phinergy

“Although they account for a small percentage of the total (passenger vehicles), electric vehicles will certainly succeed to a large extent.” Therefore, Indian Petroleum Corporation has joined hands with Phinergy. “Vaidya emphasized that it is expected that in the next few years, electric vehicles will play an important role in the field of transportation.

IOCL acquired a minority stake in Phinergy, which specializes in metal-air batteries, in 2020, and established a joint venture called IOC Phinergy Pvt earlier this year. The joint venture company will focus on research and development, production, assembly, sales and service to realize the commercialization of aluminum air batteries in India.

and, Maruti Suzuki And Ashok Leyland have signed a letter of intent with IOC Phinergy, and the company is also working with Mahindra Electric Test its technology.

How does the aluminum air battery work?

An aluminum-air battery consists of the same components as any other battery-a pair of negative and positive electrodes (anode and cathode, respectively) and an electrolyte. In this case, the anode is formed of aluminum, while the “breathing” cathode transports oxygen from the surrounding air. The electrolyte is water-based, basically a solution of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide.

Aluminum, oxygen and water undergo an electrochemical reaction to produce aluminum hydroxide and electrical energy, which are used to power electric motors in electric vehicles.

Advantages and disadvantages of aluminum air batteries

For the following reasons, the use of aluminum air batteries in electric vehicles has aroused people’s interest. First, their energy density is several orders of magnitude higher than that of lithium-ion batteries, making them lighter, more compact and capable of providing higher driving range than today’s electric vehicles. When talking about these advantages, the head of IOCL said: “This is a revolutionary technology. The range anxiety (of electric vehicles) will be resolved, and the economics part will also be resolved.”

He added: “We firmly believe that we need to move out of the lithium mining area because our country has a lot of aluminum, and we are a country rich in aluminum.” In this way, it can help minimize the import dependence on battery production.

Moreover, aluminum is far cheaper than lithium, and it is also easy to recycle. Therefore, the aluminum-air battery has greatly reduced the price of its lithium-ion battery, fundamentally solving one of the main obstacles to the popularization of electric vehicles. However, there are still some problems.

Just like the internal combustion engine needs to be refueled, the aluminum battery also needs to be filled with water “per hundred kilometers”, which Phinergy said in the past. Although this is not expected to be a problem, the potential challenge is that aluminum-air batteries cannot be routinely charged.

Aluminum is consumed in the reaction to generate electricity, which provides thousands of kilometers of mileage before the anode must be replaced. Facts have proved that this is a cumbersome task that requires the establishment of a battery exchange network. What is interesting is how IOC Phinergy responds to this challenge.

See also:

Indian Petroleum promotes hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles

Indian Petroleum launches 95-octane gasoline

Indian Petroleum expands high supply of octane gasoline

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