By- Mahesh Wagle, Co-Founder and Director, Cybernetik
As the world battles the vagaries of climate change, green technologies are gaining importance to mitigate the impact of global warming. Here, electric vehicles (EV) are a major area of interest in India and abroad.
In recent weeks, however, repeated cases of electric two-wheeler fires have resulted in injuries and deaths. In all of these incidents, battery problems are believed to be the cause of the sudden fires. Given this scenario, these issues need to be addressed at the earliest so that the adoption of electric vehicles does not suffer a significant setback.
Criticality of using indigenous batteries
A battery is the heart of electric vehicles. Previously, range anxiety was a major barrier to EV adoption. Thanks to technological breakthroughs, longer-range batteries have helped electric vehicles gain greater acceptance. But the recent wave of fires threatens to stall that progress.
Experts believe that one of the reasons why imported batteries catch fire is that they are not suitable for India’s hot weather conditions. This highlights the need to use indigenous technology created according to local conditions. Fortunately, some domestic companies have the required expertise in automation and robotics to customize batteries for the Indian automotive industry.
Electric vehicles in India face two main challenges: energy storage and energy delivery technology. With automation, both challenges can be met. Imported batteries that do not work well in India are mainly related to the construction technology of the cell. But domestic battery manufacturers understand the importance of building batteries that can withstand such potential problems, including vibration, drops, and potholes.
Meanwhile, given the barriers of space and the lack of adequate charging infrastructure, battery swapping is an appropriate solution to handle these issues. The interchangeable batteries are built to withstand a variety of Indian conditions while also being drop-proof, idiot-proof, and rugged enough to meet IP67 and other standards. Battery packs are also available for solar, where different challenges arise since pack sizes are much larger compared to automotive applications.
Regardless of the segment, automation and robotics are helping to make better batteries, ensuring they are assembled precisely, automatically and quickly. In addition, quality controls are carried out as soon as they leave the assembly lines. Manufacturing large batteries is best done with end-to-end robotics. Since a battery is essentially an energy device, it should only be handled by trained and authorized personnel.
If electric vehicles are backed by bespoke household batteries, the transition to ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles would be much faster in India. But a faster transition from ICE to electric vehicles can only be possible if supply-side constraints are resolved.
The role of catalytic converters
The catalytic converter is another essential part of the transition to green technology. Converters primarily neutralize carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulates found in vehicle exhaust.
Essentially, catalytic converters limit pollution by oxidizing carbon monoxide from automobile exhaust to carbon dioxide. Hydrocarbons are also oxidized while reducing nitrogen oxides. With transportation being the main source of urban air pollution, killing countless people around the world each year, catalytic converters play a pivotal role in reducing these deaths.
However, a major factor impacting the efficiency of catalytic converters is the coating of the substrate. But a substrate coating system based on multiple automation mechanisms can facilitate data traceability, custom design, high productivity and safety for passenger cars, heavy trucks and motorcycles.
Wind power and root machining
Today, governments in many countries prefer wind-powered electricity to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption by the power industry. This makes it possible to diversify the sources of electricity production, ensuring better price stability over the long term. In 2020, approximately 28% of the electricity produced in the world came from renewable energies. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, wind power generation stood at 743 GW at the end of 2020, representing 6% of global electricity.
In many countries, wind energy has surpassed or reached grid parity with production costs equal to or lower than those of traditional sources. This is good news because two other energy applications, heating and transport, are particularly difficult to decarbonise. Thanks to renewable sources, it is easier to decarbonize electricity.
When it comes to wind power, the three-blade HAWT (Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine) remains the industry standard as it provides better efficiency and controllability while the rotor speed is difficult to control in VAWT (Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine). vertical axis). Nevertheless, HWATs remain ultra-sensitive to any changes in blade design and profiles.
Thus, attaching the blades to the hub, or root machining, is a craft operation requiring precise machining that maintains the structural integrity of the turbine, given the massive loads it can face. In addition, the fixing must be done without impairing the efficiency of the turbine. All obstacles can be handled smoothly with custom automation that can handle multiple and sequential operations.
After hydroelectricity, the most renewable electricity is produced in the world thanks to wind energy. As India seeks to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2070 (from the earlier date of 2050), a sustained shift towards green technology is the need of the hour. Automating these technologies can ensure that the country reaches its net zero goal sooner rather than later.