By Nick Gilbert
Power cuts have become a major problem in several regions of northern India, including Delhi. Improving the size and capacity of lithium batteries to deliver a reliable, eco-friendly source of energy for rural areas is one of the objectives of new research alliances between the University of Huddersfield and some of the prominent Indian institutes and researchers.
Dr Pooja Panchmatia, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield’s chemistry department, is forging these alliances. Recently, Panchmatia, a specialist in the application of computational methods to understand the exotic properties of materials, toured numerous Indian universities and the Indian Institute of Science. She also met well-known scientists, including Dr. Mridula Bharadwaj Dixit of Centre for study of Science, Education, Technology and Policy, and Professor C.N.R. Rao, Scientific Advisor to the Indian Government.
Dr Panchmatia together with Aninda Bhattacharyya, a Professor at the Indian Institute of Science, is currently planning for a major Indo-UK science seminar. If the seminar secures funding, then it is expected to be conducted in December in Bangalore and will involve the participation of key lithium battery specialists from both nations.
Dr Panchmatia stated that once the Indo-UK lithium battery research gains momentum, necessary computational work may be conducted by the University of Huddersfield, while experimental aspects may be carried out by Indian colleagues. Shortly, a post-graduate research student from the Indian Institute of Science will join on secondment with Dr Panchmatia.
Dr Panchmatia informed that the researchers are seeking techniques for scaling up lithium batteries, shifting their focus from mobile electronic devices to rural electrification and electric vehicles, and providing power to the public.
A new class of batteries may be utilized for grid storage to address the power cut issues in India. It enables the storage of power during peak times from renewable sources like wind and solar energy and the usage of power whenever necessary. Moreover, vehicle electrification may help both India and the United Kingdom fulfill their objectives of lowering carbon emissions.