The India Energy Storage Summit (IESS) 2019, a two-day interactive meeting, was organized by Underwriters Laboratories, the not-for-profit organization within UL, in partnership with Centre for Battery Engineering and Electric Vehicles (C-BEEV), IIT Madras, and with the support of GE Global Research and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) on September 23 and 24, 2019, at the IIT Madras Research Park in Chennai.

India’s sustainable energy storage ecosystem is growing at a fast pace. But for renewable energy sources such as solar and wind to contribute to a significantly higher proportion of the country’s energy demands, energy storage needs to become more affordable and more robust. Similarly, energy storage in the form of batteries is a critical component of the fast-growing e-mobility ecosystem. With these in mind, IESS 2019 discussed avenues for energy storage to catalyze the growth of electric mobility and renewable energy through emphasis on battery performance, safety and innovation.

Participating in the event were an array of experts from many relevant fields – electric vehicle (EV) original equipment manufacturers, battery manufacturers, EV charging and battery swapping solution providers, expert academic researchers, renewable energy sector experts and organizations involved in safety and quality standards.

More than 20 experts shared their knowledge during the conference and focused breakout sessions – these included experts from Underwriters Laboratories, IIT-Madras, India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF), Ashok Leyland, SUN Mobility, Mahindra Electric, Attero Recycling, GE, ARAI and more. The event saw participation by more than 100 delegates from many leading Indian firms and organizations.

Speaking at the event, Terrence Brady, President of Underwriters Laboratories, said: “With energy storage devices such as batteries becoming a key part of our everyday lives, whether they are on land or water, or in the air, battery safety and performance has become a critical concern the world over. Summits, such as IESS, that blend cross-functional expertise will prove critical in solving key challenges that energy storage applications face today.”

Dr. Judy Jeevarajan, Director of Electrochemical Safety for Underwriters Laboratories, said: “The main objective of this event was to initiate a collaboration among the key stakeholders in energy storage. With the useful deliberations and interactions that took place over two days, the next logical step is to convene focused groups of experts to start moving the needle on the key takeaways from this event.”

Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Institute Professor IIT-Madras, stated: “Storage plays a key role not only in growth of electric vehicles, but also for the growth of renewable energy. Industry, academia and the government need to work together on storage technology, standards and policy to find affordable solutions for India. The event was an important step in this direction.”

Key takeaways of the summit include:

• Li-ion batteries designed and customized for Indian conditions and constraints could help to accelerate EV adoption in India
• Battery swapping, if done effectively, can significantly mitigate the major concerns of EV users such as range anxiety, charging time and battery costs
• Li-ion battery recycling technology is available and working right now in India, and if used effectively, can significantly increase the raw material security for Li-ion batteries made in India in the future
• Li-ion batteries present diverse hazards under different environments; testing mechanisms hence need to evolve as we learn more about these risks
• With the cost of Li-ion batteries decreasing rapidly, battery systems for captive energy use to address a large portion of the end user’s energy needs is viable today
• Government, industry and academia need to work together on different aspects of energy storage for the development of technology, standards, policy
• Battery safety research in collaboration with vital stakeholders will provide a path forward in generating awareness, skill development and outreach initiatives

Based on the key takeaways, Underwriters Laboratories will evolve a platform to enhance energy storage solutions that facilitates robust growth of India’s sustainable energy and e-mobility ecosystems.