PLI for Electronics Components

ACCs represent the next generation of energy storage technologies, capable of storing electrical energy and converting it as needed

With beneficiaries of India’s ambitious production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for advanced chemical cells (ACCs) moving towards the manufacturing stage, the Centre plans to ramp up its capacity for testing these cells.

The Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) has urged its automotive testing agencies — International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) and Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) — to seek accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) for testing cells produced under the ACC PLI, Business Standard has learnt.

The development comes at a time when the three beneficiaries — Ola Electric Mobility, Rajesh Exports and Reliance New Energy Ltd — have completed their two-year deadline for commissioning their manufacturing facilities.

“Our testing agencies have started the process of getting accreditation. Since ACC requires special testing standards, we need high-tech equipment and machinery to test these cells,” a senior government official said.

ACC batteries are thoroughly tested to ensure safety, reliability, and performance. These tests include assessing electrical performance, cycle life, protection against overcharging and thermal runaway, environmental resilience, mechanical integrity, aging, and performance under various conditions. Such extensive testing ensures that ACC batteries meet quality standards before deployment in applications such as electric vehicles and grid energy storage systems.

Currently, only one testing agency – Bharat Test House – is capable of testing such advanced cells. Once it has accreditation for two testing agencies, MHI is likely to involve more testing agencies like National Automotive Test Tracks (NATRX) and Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC).

A workshop on testing of ACC was also held in April, which was attended by representatives from Niti Aayog, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), NABL, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), ICAT, NATRAX, ARAI, GARC, Engineers India Limited (EIL) and three approved beneficiary firms under the PLI ACC scheme to identify issues related to testing of ACC.

“The meeting was called to identify challenges faced in testing ACC. For instance, testing a single sample can take months as it requires 5,000 cycles. Suggestions were sought to ramp up domestic cell production,” a participant told Business Standard.

In 2021, the government approved the ACC PLI scheme with a budgetary outlay of ~18,100 crore to achieve a manufacturing capacity of 50 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of ACC and an additional cumulative capacity of 5 GWh for specific ACC technologies. The bidders were selected in March 2022. As per the scheme, the manufacturing facility was to be operational within two years from the date of signing of the agreement with MHI by the bidders.

Ola Cell Technologies is setting up its manufacturing facility in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, while Rajesh Exports is setting up its facility in Dharwad, Karnataka, and Reliance New Energy Battery Storage is setting up its facility in Jamnagar, Gujarat.

A team comprising members from MHI, Project Management Agency (PMA) and Engineers India Limited (EIL) had also visited Ola’s plant in December to assess the ground situation for setting up the manufacturing facility.

Starting production in India will not only provide the country with indigenous cells for its EV industry, but will also lay the foundation for energy storage for the power sector.

ACCs represent the next generation of energy storage technologies, capable of storing electrical energy and converting it as needed.

The Government of India aims to encourage domestic and international investors to set up large-scale ACC manufacturing facilities with emphasis on value addition, quality production and clean energy objectives.

In addition to the three players selected in 2022, MHI also announced in April that it had received bids from seven players for the rebidding tender for the 10 gigawatt-hour (GWh) tranche.

Bidders who participated in the second round included ACME Cleantech Solutions, Amara Raja Advanced Cell Technologies, Anvi Power Industries, JSW Neo Energy, Reliance Industries, Lucas TVS and Waaree Energies.

first published: 28 May 2024 | 11:45 PM First

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