Mar 17, 2018

Gigabattery factories - Engine of the renewables future

When we talk about electric vehicles, the battery technology that drives it cannot be left out. The success of Tesla stems from the ability to stack rows of Li ions batteries in dense modules that deliver sufficient power to run the car and system auxiliaries. The ability to pack rechargeable dense modules of Li ion will play out in the area of home energy too. The way we envision national grids and power distribution may undergo a paradigm shift with efficient solar modules generating and storing sufficient power in such batteries at individual home and even industrial units. This will accelerate as massive investments bring economies of scale in battery manufacturing consequently making them affordable, and viable alternative to fossil fuels as store of power. If that be so, any national policy that dreams of promotion of electric vehicle and renewables future cannot ignore battery manufacturing sector. 
image for Battery manufacturing capacity across the world - Bloomberg data
Battery manufacturing capacity across the world - Bloomberg data













The top Gigabattery factories under construction pan from Asia to Europe. It's not only Tesla which is investing heavily in such Gigafactories but all technology, hardware, energy and even mineral digging companies have now got interested. Even countries are waking up to this fact and are trying at policy levels to help attract such investments. 
Image of Economies of scale in battery manufacturing
Economies of scale in battery manufacturing














Today's news covered the item where British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta is building biggest battery at Australia. Such battery farms are the important linking chains between renewables and consumption points. 

Image of Manufacturing capacity and cost - the inverse relation - The Economist
Manufacturing capacity and cost - the inverse relation - The Economist


And that reminded me that I have not heard about any developments in the area of investments in India since the news item last year that Adani and Reliance are thinking on those lines. We don't have any gigafactory coming up as of now. The technology itself has not been mastered well here and we are dependent on imports. 

We need to seriously consider doing something about it in terms of policy push otherwise it would be sad for a country that is emerging as a leader in the area of renewables.