CECRI Madras Unit, based in Chennai, is a satellite unit of pioneering CSIR-Electrochemical Research Institute of Karaikudi. Since 10 years, Unit is dedicated towards the fundamental driven science concept to product delivery and also cater the needs of many industry driven research programmes sponsored by various agencies including government bodies and private sectors. CECRI Madras Unit has all the sophisticated electrochemical characterization facilities for basic research to understand the catalytic activity of the electrocatalysts, ionic conductivity of the membranes and fuel cell test station and assembly units for testing cells and stacks of various capacities which will bring benefits to the Environment, Energy Security and Economic growth.
CECRI- Chennai unit lithium ion battery R&D extremely focus on synthesizing of novel materials like Metal Oxides, Oxyfluorides, Fluorophosphates, Fluorosulfates, NASICON type materials. CSIR-CECRI has developed indigenous fabrication technology for 18650 cells and pouch cells. CSIR-CECRI has developed proto-type Li-ion fabrication facility for 18650 cells. It is the India’s first pilot plant facility which will manufacture the Li-ion cells with a capacity of 1500 mAh/3.7 V and dedicated in working to improve capacity of Li-ion battery. The developed 18650 cells were utilised for powering solar lanterns and hats.
CECRI- Chennai unit has very good quality and quantity of publications covering a diverse spectrum of materials related to lithium/sodiumbatteries. A large numbers of scholars have completed Ph.D. in these areas and an equal number is pursuing Ph.D. on advanced materials for futuristic systems like lithium batteries, sodium-ion batteries, Green (Organic) batteries, lithium sulphur and lithium air batteries. The Research work on materials for energy applications focuses on mixed metal oxide compounds belonging to pyrochlore, fluorite, perovskite, etc, structured family of compounds.
The strength of this unit lies in minute detailing of all the aspects related to energy storage and conversion
- CECRI Madras Unit recent success story includes demonstration of 4.5 kW High temperature air cooled Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel cell (PEMFC) stack to TVS Motors, Hosur for three wheeler application, development of 3 kW water cooled PEMFC stack and validation in Patalganga Site of Reliance Industries P Ltd. Mumbai and 1 kW air cooled PEMFC stack to IGCAR, Kalpakkam for hydrogen removal
- Presently, this unit has been working towards two important industry originated program with Thermax and KPIT, Pune wherein the deliverables are on the development of 5 kW HT PEM stack for combined power and cooling application and low temperature 8 kW PEM stack with metallic bipolar plates for automotive applications
- CECRI’s indigenously made portable fuel cell power centre which gives a net power output of upto 10 W, combines low-cost fuel cell and solid hydrogen cartridge for charging the mobile phones and lights
- CECRI has developed proto-type Li-ion fabrication facility for cylindrical and pouch cells. It is the India’s first pilot plant facility which will manufacture the Li-ion cells and dedicated in working to improve capacity of Li-ion battery. The developed 18650 cylindrical cells will be utilised for powering solar lanterns, grid storage, consumer devices and electric vehicles. CECRI is working with various industries and start-ups to make use of these ‘make in India’ batteries for multifarious applications.
- CECRI- Chennai unit has very good quality and quantity of publications covering a diverse spectrum of materials related to fuel cells, lithium/sodium batteries, supercapacitors etc. A large numbers of scholars have completed Ph.D. in these areas and an equal number is pursuing Ph.D. on advanced materials for futuristic systems like lithium batteries, sodium-ion batteries, Green (Organic) batteries, lithium sulphur, lithium air batteries and fuel cells.
Fuel Cells: R and D Research Highlights
(i) Polymeric membrane electrolytes for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.
- Organic-inorganic composite membranes for low humidity PEMFCs
- Natural & synthetic polymeric hybrid membranes for reduced methanol cross-over in DMFCs
- Nafion-porous hygroscopic filler materials for PEFCs and DMFCs
- Anion exchange membrane electrolytes for alkaline polymer electrolyte fuel cells
(ii) New electrocatalystsfor ORR and MOR polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.
- Pt based binary alloy catalysts
- New support materials like mesoporous carbon, CNT, GNF, graphene etc.
- Pore engineering on mesoporous carbon useful for GDLs and synthesis of catalysts
- Surface functionalization of carbon via conducting
- Non-carbon based support materials
- Non-precious metal catalysts
- Non-metallic catalysts
(iii) New engineering designs for PEFC Stacks
- Wick based humidification techniques
- PEFC stack without external humidification
- Metallic bipolar plates to reduce the weight of PEFC stack
- New flow field designs for pressure drop optimization and water management
- Steam reforming and thermal management
- Diagnosis tools like current density distribution analysis, modelling, simulation etc
- Stability, durability and failure analysis of the stack
- Portable fuel cell for mobile applications
Li-ion battery: R and D Research Highlights
- Developing Li-ion batteries that can charge in < 5 min
- New generation of batteries using Na instead of Li
- Developing high energy density, high capacity electrode materials and exploring new concepts.
- Material development and scale up by employing environmentally benign synthesis methods
- Developing next generation high energy density batteries such as Na-ion, metal-air, Li-air, Li-sulfur and all solid state batteries.
- Test and analysis of battery performance, degradation, failure mode analysis
- Development of cylindrical and pouch cells for energy storage applications.