By Sharad Matade
The Mumbai-based startup is working on supercapacitors with advanced Nano material composites which have energy density like lithium-ion batteries and can charge in a few minutes.
The Mumbai-based startup Gegadyne Energy is working on breakthrough proprietary battery technology which will address the challenges that lithium-ion and other batteries are facing today.
Gegadyne’s batteries will charge faster, have more charging cycle life and are at par in cost and size with conventional batteries, says Jubin Varghese, co-founder and CEO of Gegadyne Energy.
“We have developed high energy density super-capacitors with energy density similar to lithium-ion batteries. Our proprietary battery technology can charge from 0 to100 percent within minutes, complying with all safety standards,” he said.
According to the company, it has developed and pioneered the science of Quick Charging Battery Technology through a portfolio of international patents. Gegadyne Energy’s battery consists of unique proprietary nano-material composites and advanced battery architectures to enable quick charging with high energy density similar to lithium-ion batteries.
The company founders Jubin Varghese and Ameya Gadiwan, both college dropouts, established Gegadyne Energy in 2015 and received a series of funding for their technology which will be used for development of battery technology for both the electric vehicles and the large and small stationary energy storage devices.
Efforts for electrification of vehicles has got further push as the Government of India has recently announced the second phase of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME), which will come into effect from April 1, 2019 for a period of three years. The Government will support through incentives to the vehicles which are fitted with advanced battery like lithium-ion battery and other new technology batteries.
Sustainability of the electric vehicle depends on the source of energy and the energy storage system. As of now lithium-ion batteries are the most favorable option for the electric vehicles. However, lithium-ion batteries certainly possess some challenges, and Gegadyne Energy is working to close those gaps and grow in the global market.
“Fundamentally, in Lithium-ion batteries, energy is stored electrochemically, and hence the charging process is slow.. The solution for this issue is supercapacitors which charge faster. However, again the main issue with supercapacitors is lower energy density which means the energy they (supercapacitors) can store per unit is very small. So supercapacitors till today are not preferred by auto companies, but they are being used mainly for stationary energy storage,” Varghese said.
“We did work for three years to develop advanced Nano material composites, which we have patented. These composites could be used in varied usescases as well, apart from battery technology. These composites help to increase energy density of supercapacitors by almost five to ten times,” he said.
Dendrite formation is a result of lithium metal deposition caused when excess lithium-ions accumulate outside the SEI due to the SEI resistance. This kind of dendritic formation is only possible when you have migration of ions from one point to another. And when this migration is made to happen faster than it can, like in fast charging, it causes lithium metal dendrites to form. “These dendrites then can puncture the thin separator between the two electrodes leading to catastrophic failure of the battery. Again, not possible in our battery due to no migratory ions being involved,” he claimed.
“That’s why our batteries have more charging cycles than lithium-ion batteries. Gegadyne uses carbon derivatives and some other forms of carbons as active materials and small amount of graphene in the batteries. Graphene helps to maintain energy density,” Varghese said. However, he refused to elaborate on the raw materials that go into their batteries.
With Gegadyne’s batteries, users will have the same experience of filling fossil fuel. Generally one has to spend, on an average, 10 to 15 minutes at fossil fuel stations, and CNG gas filling takes more time; this is perhaps one of the reasons for lower adoption of CNG gas in passenger cars. “Our goal is to ensure we replicate the same experience of refuelling your vehicle like you do at any fuel station,” said Varghese. Swapping modules for batteries is also being explored, but the model has limitations, mainly due to cost of ownership. Battery swapping service providers have to maintain heavy inventories of different batteries. Availability of swapping stations and cost to set up such stations are among the main challenges. “Our batteries can be used for swapping modules efficiently as it takes very little time to get charged and we will also tap swapping models conveniently,” he said.
On recycling, lithium-ion batteries get degraded due to electrochemical reactions over time. As Gegadyne’s battery technology does not have electrochemical reactions, there is no degradation. “Our batteries have larger charge cycles which means that even if you charge the battery every day in a year, it will work for more than 30 to 40 years,” Varghese said.
He also maintains that Gegadyne batteries will be the same as lithium-ion batteries in size, construction and packaging. However, Varghese did not reveal the initial cost of these batteries but said it would be the same as lithium-ion batteries when mass production starts.
However, the company is focusing on reducing the weight of batteries, which is another major challenge in EVs. “The better the energy density, the less the weight,” he said.
The company has recently set up a lab in Mumbai. Gegadyne Energy has developed a battery pack for EV scooters, which can charge from 0 to 100 percent in 10 to 15 minutes. For passenger cars, Gegadyne Energy will be rolling out battery packs in the market within two years.
The company is also working with a couple of OEMs on adaptation of the batteries. “Every battery manufacturer’s batteries have to be fine-tuned on Battery Management System (BMS) and hardware before adaptation. Our BMS is similar to lithium-ion batteries, but I can’t reveal the individual details of it. But there will be protection circuit, active balancing, and communication with the controller. We are also developing analytical software to get to know about the health and performance of the batteries in real-time. We will start to integrate our battery packs with our customers,” Varghese said.
Once the adaptation of the batteries is performed, Gegadyne will go for mass production. “No heavy additional cost is needed for adapting the Gegadyne batteries,” he said.
The company will have to compete with the lithium-ion battery markets. China has been aggressively building their lithium-ion battery capacity. According to a research, China has a target of achieving 680 GW renewable capacity by 2020, out of which 270 GW will be generated from solar energy and 210 GW from wind energy. Another challenge is to have infrastructure to improve the battery efficiency.
On the raw materials supply front, the company will have an advantage. The primary raw materials, carbon derivative and other forms of carbon, according to Varghese, are widely available in India and globally. “We will get the required materials, and we will treat and process them in such a way that the end-product propelled the way we want,” Varghese said.