Interview: Strengthening the Sustainable Electrification in India | Dr. Rashi Gupta, Managing Director, Vision Mechatronics Pvt. Ltd.

Vision Mechatronics is an Indian technology company operating in the fields of lithium-ion energy storage, robotics and renewable energy. With the aim of strengthening the sustainable electrification of India, the company offers services comprising the development and distribution of advanced lithium-ion battery technologies, smart energy storage monitoring, solar energy solutions and more. Today, Vision Mechatronics is playing in the big league of India’s renewable energy service providers and is actively shaping the future of the sector. Dr. Rashi Gupta, fondly known as “Batterywali”, the founding member and  Director of the company shared her assessment of the energy storage situation in India with ees International.

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Dr. Rashi Gupta, Managing Director, Vision Mechatronics Pvt. Ltd.

ees International: Dr. Gupta, you held speeches all around the world about the role of energy storage in India. Would you please outline the current market and research situation shortly for the ees International? 

Hybrid energy storage is the key to India Markets. With hybrid energy storage India can benefit economically and technologically. The current market demands for energy storage are huge. We are looking at the energy storage requirements ranging from a couple of MegaWatts to hundreds of MegaWatts. In situation like this, and with the current economic situation of lithium batteries in India, we can expect lithium batteries of such tune to be expensive and non viable at times. But in all when we are to talk about the life of such storage systems and the initial investment, levelized cost of opreration, we would find that its rather economic to use these energy storages. As we all know that no technology is perfect and has their pros and cons, this approach aims to combine pros of multiple technology in a way that would make the cons in the combination negligible, just like we did with renewable energy sources. From what I understand, and foresee the next best research situation would be the effective utilization of what exists in the market by making a Hybrid Efficient Energy storage system to cater to needs of energy and power simultaneously and also keeping the whole system economically viable.

ees International: What makes battery and other energy storage technologies crucial for your country’s future?

Currently the Indian grid is not very stable as it is. Given the cumulative injection of power from fluctuating sources would only mean further instability and difficulty in load demand management. Currently the only solution to this issue is Energy Storage. Also looking at the drive towards electric vehicles, India now more than ever needs to have a stable and clean energy input to the grid so that it can support the infrastructure that is in lieu of development currently. Another factor that should be kept in mind, as I believe, while building the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, is the need of localized and distributed storage. We all, in this segment, can foresee how the load pattern on the grid would be swaying as there will be heavy load of charging once electric vehicles set in. This can be dealt with if energy storages are installed along with the charging stations which can store energy during the off peak time and provide during the peak time. This would also cut down the need of huge storage banks, which would thus effectively get divided into smaller banks, which would be easier to manage and maintain.  This would also require less cumulative space given the smaller footprints.  Another important aspect where energy storage plays an important role in India is rural electrification as India is blessed with abundant sunshine and we in India should take every possible effort to utilize its availability maximally. Without energy storage sustainability in the power sector would be a worry.

ees International: In your opinion, what should be India’s next steps to drive forward e-mobility?

Currently India is not infrastructure ready to support the e-mobility segment, but we are working towards it at a very fast pace. Installations of multiple charging stations in cities have been done, and we can see the positive approach of people towards electric vehicles. Even the auto-makers and the power industry are working in synchronization to achieve a national goal of e-mobility. Once the infrastructure is in place, we can move towards the e-mobility segment even more aggressively. Another aspect I’d like to touch upon is the type of batteries used in the e-mobility segment. It’s evident that currently we are looking at lithium based solutions for e-mobility, but is that the only criteria that is significant? I believe not. I think we should not just focus on using lithium batteries for electric vehicles but also focus on the fact that their efficiency plays a vital role in the whole game. If we look for having highly efficient batteries, we can expect them to have longer lifecycles. This would ensure that the economics on the e-mobility front don’t falter and can be made sustainable. BIS is also very aggressively working toward establishing standards for the e-mobility segment. Also a very realistic point to note would be the threat caused on the cyber front. Since we are dealing with things based on the IoT platform, we could very well have a scene from one of our favourite Sci-Fi movies become reality where controlling things go beyond our control. I am sure that the instrumentation of the infrastructure would be well equipped to deal with such occurrences, but it’s a thought that should be focused upon at an early stage so that needful measures can be taken.

ees International: Vision Mechatronics fruitfully works together with German engineering partners. Why does your company favour the collaboration with Germany over, for example, working with India’s important economic partner China?

It’s a world known fact that German engineering brings assured quality and advancements in technology. No doubt that China is not behind in quality or technology in any aspect, but the China market is a very versatile one. A person can get from the lowest grade to the highest grade material from China, which can act as a double edged sword.

ees International: What was the most impactful project Vision Mechatronics put into practice during the last year?

The most impactful project executed by us was the OneBox that combines major components required in a solar hybrid plant into one and makes it completely hassle free and DIY kind of a solution. It effectively reduces the installation time by about 47% as it is a plug and play design. We have had a great response for this. OneBox does the work of Diesel Generator, UPS Battery and even a stabilizer together. This Unique DIY product can easily handle all critical as well heavy inductive loads. Apart from all this, the OneBox is customizable for application requirements, but is still a standard product. With multiple ranges in the backup time and load required the OneBox can be customized to suit any application. It is stackable and hence can be expanded in the future. This enables people to opt into partial installations which would be more convenient financially. The OneBox was launched at Intersolar India 2017 and we got an overwhelming response. We believe that the time was well spent in the research to make a DIY kind of solution for the industry.

ees International: Could you please tell us more about the Li-Rack? What is it that makes this battery system special?

Li-Rack is our flagship battery that comes with features that most batteries in the market do not offer. It’s a lithium based solution and therefore is eco-friendly and non-polluting. With internet connectivity, remote monitoring and remote control of these batteries helps keep the complete system independent of user’s physical intervention. The battery has an inbuilt feature of transmitting error codes, if an error is to occur, via emails. Li-Rack with its intelligence and the auto-on & off feature safeguards the battery & its associated load completely giving the user a stress-free reliable environment. With the active balancing BMS, the efficiency achieved on the Li-Rack is up to 95% and also increases cell life considerably. It keeps the cell health in check and ensures that the cell life and capacity is very effectively and efficiently used. It is programmable for multiple user applications and is available in large sizes as well. Li-Rack Is capable of supporting discharges currents up to 3C and spikes of up to 10C.

 

Dr. Rashi Gupta, Managing Director, Vision Mechatronics Pvt. Ltd.

Interviewed by
Xenia Zoller, Assistant Editor, ees International

 

Image Source: © Vision Mechatronics Pvt. Ltd. | vmechatronics.com

 

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