India fuel retailer announces a step into battery technology

India’s largest fuel retailer, the Indian Oil Corporation, is planning to develop its own batteries, the company confirmed to BESB on June 20.

The firm is looking at lead-acid batteries as well as developing lithium-ion battery chemistry and other chemistries that are not lead or lithium based.

“Our R&D team has developed an advanced lead acid battery utilizing nanotechnology, which will be commercialized shortly,” Sreejit Basu, manager of sustainable development at the IOC, told BESB.

He did not give further details of the lead-acid battery work, but did say that where electric vehicles were concerned the company was looking into implementing fast-charging facilities and battery-swapping facilities at retail fuelling stations (pictured).

According to the March 2017 report India Battery Market by Application, Competition Forecast and Opportunities 2011-2022 by market analyst TechSci Research, India’s battery market is projected to be worth $8.6 billion by 2022 because of growing automobile and industrial sectors.

“Strong growth in domestic production and exports of automobiles, coupled with an expanding vehicle fleet, is projected to drive demand for batteries from OEMs as well as replacement segments through 2011,” the report says. “Moreover, rising penetration of two-wheelers in semi-urban and rural India is projected to surge replacement demand for two-wheeler batteries during the forecast period.”

Basu said the IOC is India’s largest commercial enterprise and is involved in the entire oil and gas value chain, from refining and petrochemicals to distribution and marketing. The move into battery development would be a very different direction for the oil company, which has subsidiaries in Sri Lanka, the Middle East, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States.

The report cites what would be the IOC’s main competitors in the lead-acid battery field as Exide Industries, Amara Raja Batteries, Luminous Power Technologies and HBL Power Systems.