Solving three issues directly, Odisha startup Nexus Power makes use of crop remnants to create bio-organic, fast-charging batteries for electrical autos
An previous Biochemistry e-book from their grandfather’s library was the inspiration for Odisha-born sisters Nikita and Nishita Baliarsingh to create an electrical automobile (EV) battery from crop residue. “It is still so clear in my mind. There was a statement that read, ‘Proteins may have potential benefits in electrolytes’. That was the turning point. We pushed ourselves into continuous research and development and founded Nexus Power in April 2019,” remembers Nikita.
Rewind to 2016, the EV sector was in its infancy with nice potential however skewed demand. Buyers weren’t satisfied of the efficacy of an EV battery over a standard one. “This gap in the demand and supply forced us to investigate the root cause for the scepticism. Some of the main concerns were long charging time, high prices, and a paucity of local sources to procure lithium, and of course, the toxicity.”
According to a report by The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) in November 2020, a complete of 5,30,560 EVs (two-wheelers, three-wheelers, automobiles, and buses) have been offered in India. The Baliarsingh sisters purpose to take EVs throughout automobile segments. The present market caters primarily to low-speed electrical two wheelers that use lithium. Nikita elaborates, “We spent almost six months only on theoretical research on bio-organic batteries. Our first prototype was built at home during the lockdown with simple household objects.”
The biodegradable batteries are original from crop residue. “A cell consists of three structural elements – the cathode, anode and electrolyte. Our process of manufacturing plays with the chemistry of the cell and builds all these elements with nanodot proteins derived from crop residue. Our batteries are lithium ion-free. We procure the crop remains from local farmers, and by applying a unique extraction and filtration process, we manufacture rechargeable energy storing EV cells out of it,” explains Nikita.
The supplies used at Nexus are derived from pure compounds, that are both underutilised or wasted by different industries. Procurement of crop waste helps the farmers in incomes an extra earnings of ₹25,000 for each 100 batteries. The manufacturing course of has been designed to make sure no factor of the surroundings is exploited.
“We emphasise having a sustainable manufacturing process with a zero-waste model. The production of our batteries creates bio-fertiliser as by-products, which we intend to return to the market to facilitate a favourable agricultural yield. That way we ensure a circular and viable green model,” Nikita provides.
Looking to buyers
While Nexus is constructed on sharp know-how and lofty targets, the corporate is generally bootstrapped. The fledgling firm has obtained two fellowship grants of about ₹10 lakh from the Indian Government underneath its TIDE and NIDHI PRAYAS programme and thru KIIT TBI (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology- Technology Business Incubator), Bhubaneswar. While the EV sector is ripe for funding, most buyers look to the lithium battery market.
Nikita is assured, nevertheless, that Indian customers are prepared for a “truly green” battery. “The major differentiator for Nexus is that ours is a truly ‘Made in India’, fast-charging battery, which aims to make electric mobility more affordable and efficient.”
The batteries cost eight to 10 occasions sooner than standard ones and final 20% to 30% longer. “Most importantly, as soon as the batteries die, they are often recycled at no further price, which isn’t the case with the common EV choices.
Made out of bio-degradable materials, the cells rule out toxicity hazards and utilizing crop residue ensures that a few of it isn’t burnt, which in flip protects from deterioraton of air high quality. Our complete course of is power environment friendly and sustainable,” says Nishita.
The siblings have their eye on the brand new entrants in EV market. “Given a chance, Nexus would love to collaborate with big offerings such as Tesla and Indian vehicle makers like Tata, Mahindra, Hero and others. We are hopeful of collaborations with multiple two-wheeler EV manufacturers across the Asian region for our pilot programme, scheduled for Q3 or Q4 of 2021. A slightly long-term plan would be to develop Nexus batteries for four-wheelers and commercial e-vehicles. We also want to cater to the mobile phone and consumer electronics industry in the future,” concludes Nikita.