Indian Oil will start field-testing metal-air battery for electric vehicles soon


State-run fossil fuel giant Indian Oil Corporation, which recently raised a minority stake in Israel based startup Phinergy, is in talks with leading automobile makers in India to start field trials for the metal-air batteries that it intends to produce in a joint venture with Phinergy, news agency PTI reported.

Metal-air batteries, when combined with Lithium-ion batteries, can provide electric vehicles with a range of up to 600 km—paving the way for large-scale adoption of electric cars.

“If the field trials are successful and if our talks with EV makers fructify, the metal-air batteries can complement the lithium-ion batteries to provide a hybrid solution for large-scale adoption of electric vehicles. In terms of range, it can easily offer over 600 km,” PTI quoted IndianOil chairman Sanjiv Singh.

Further, compared to other batteries, especially Lithium-ion batteries, which currently dominate the market share, metal-air batteries [such as aluminium-air] are cheap, because the cathode source (oxygen from air) is abundant and the anode can be made using low-cost metals such as Al, Zn and Fe—according to the paper “Recent Progress of Metal-Air Batteries” published by Applied Sciences.

Phinergy specialises in aluminium-air (Al-Air) and zinc-air battery systems that have great potential applications in electric mobility and stationary applications.

Under their partnership, IndianOil and Phinergy intend to set up a factory in India to manufacture Al-Air batteries for electric vehicles and stationary applications and facilitate development of eco-system for Al-Air technology.

Aluminium is naturally available in India and its extraction and recycling technologies are also very well established.

“We are confident that this Al-Air battery technology would complement Lithium ion batteries to provide a hybrid solution for large-scale adoption of electric vehicles in the country. Al-air battery technology has advantages on a number of factors like range, energy density, safety of operations, life-cycle, ..India-centric,” Singh said in an earlier statement.


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