ISRO develop cheap Li-ion batteries, ready to share the technology with only 15 Indian firms

Indian Space Research Organization, long for ISRO, is India’s main space research organizations. It was formed in 1969 and took place of Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR). INCOSPAR was founded by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his close friend and scientist Vikram Sarabhai. ISRO is managed by Department of Space which reports directly to the Prime Minister of India. ISRO is one of the most successful space research programs around the world.

ISRO launched its first satellite, Aryabhata, via the Soviet Union in 1975. Aryabhata was a mathematician who invented zero and the satellite was named after him. Five years later, ISRO launched its first satellite by a homemade vessel SLV-3 into the orbit. These were some of their early achievements. Fast forward to the year 2017 and ISRO has made huge progress. In February of 2017, ISRO managed to launch a mind-boggling 104 satellites into the orbit using a single rocket (PSLV-C37). This feat was never even attempted by anyone and became a world record. Months later, it a launched its heaviest rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III). With this rocket, they launched a communication satellite and enabled ISRO to launch satellites as heavy as 4-ton.

That said, this is not the only forte of ISRO. They are also known for introducing new technology to the world. They have contributed to telemedicine and many such things. The latest of such things are Lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion). ISRO started working on this battery technology in 2011. It dedicated twelve scientists to this program at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). The technology, however, was not announced to the public till the start of this year.

Another decision which ISRO took was of sharing this technology for the betterment of the nation. Lithium-ion batteries mostly contribute to the Electric Vehicles if the application of the same is to be considered. The major cost of electric vehicles is because of Li-ion batteries. They are currently very expensive and this technology will help cut down the cost. The batteries have been used in many of ISRO’s projects as well. They were used in launch vehicles like PSLV, GSLV, GSLV MK-III and also the GSAT-19.

Earlier this year, when ISRO decided to share this technology, they opened up to companies which will use this technology and spread the Li-ion batteries all over the country. Over one hundred companies were willing to do this for the Indian Space Research Organization. However, ISRO was not going to share it with everyone, they have taken their time and selected only 15 out of those 140 that were interested.

All these 15 companies will have to travel to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and complete the training. The training will teach everything from technological transfer to the documentation of the same. The firms were chosen on the basis of where they operate and from where they belong. No company which had any exposure to foreign equity was selected as the commercialization of this technology is supposed to take place within India. All these companies will have to pay a one-time fee of INR 1 Crore to learn about this new technology. This was told to the press by S Somanath who is the director of VSSC.

– Unmesh Phule

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