We all know EVs are taking over the automobile industry in a big way. So, one of the main components of an electric vehicle is lithium-ion cells. Ironically, they are not manufactured within the country, and we rely upon China and Taiwan for vital components. To bridge this gap and as an ode to make in India, two Hyderabad-based entrepreneurs, Mourya and Rajiv Reddy, have started producing carbon-coated lithium iron phosphate (LiFeP04), which is used as a cathode material in lithium-ion batteries, through their company Allox.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks in the Indian electric mobility sector is our incapability to produce lithium-ion cells, a fundamental component of batteries needed to power your vehicles. While lithium-ion batteries account for 40-50% of the cost of an electric vehicle, in India, EV battery manufacturing is more about assembling batteries than designing, developing, and producing them from scratch locally.
These cells require anode materials, cathode materials, separators, binders, etc. While binders electrolytes are made by certain big companies in India, anode materials are abundantly available in the country like natural or synthetic graphite, and major firms are engaged in manufacturing it. But what India lacks is having a cathode manufacturer because one needs lithium.
Anjani Sri Mourya Sunkavalli, the co-founder of Allox, says that Allox is India’s leading producer of carbon-coated lithium iron phosphate (LiFeP04) or commonly known as LFP, which is used as a cathode material in lithium-ion batteries. Allox imports good quality and battery-grade lithium carbonate from their partner mines across South America. Once it is in India, they use a patented process for which indigenously developed technology was acquired from the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) on August 21.
Experiments are happening around the world and in India, and if and when the chemistry works out, it’s a massive advantage for Indian EV OEMs as it offers thermal stability and fast charging. Lithium-ion batteries are also used in stationary applications, energy storage, telephone towers, etc.
Currently, Allox is at a manufacturing capacity of 50 kg of C-LFP per day, though their engineers are working to increase it to 10-15 tonnes per day. Apart from mass-producing C-LFP, Allox is also working with the Telangana government to ensure an uninterrupted supply of lithium carbonate from various parts of the world to reduce dependence on China.