Chennai Overview
CECRI Madras Unit, established in 1971, is an interdisciplinary research centre for selected electrochemical power systems namely Fuel cells and Batteries. The centre is dedicated for developing functionally superior and cost effective materials through creation of new knowledge for electrochemical power delivering systems of the above mentioned devices and its transformation into application oriented utility. Our mandate is to pursue and promote world-class research and training at the frontiers of Science and Engineering covering wide range of electrochemical power systems. Fuel Cell research at CECRI aims at developing world class polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) stacks using hydrogen as fuel and air as the oxidant for the portable power applications under the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative Programme in collaboration with its sister laboratories namely CSIR-NCL and CSIR-NPL. CECRI has also transferred the know-how to the private sectors for a self-supported 300 W stack. CECRI has developed and demonstrated self-supported direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) of 50 W and also explored direct borohydride fuel cells (DBFC) system of 40 W that can be operated at locations where free convection of air is limited and can be used for submersible and space applications. CECRI has been successful in handling different technology driven projects like Supra-Institutional Programme sponsored by CSIR where the mandate is to develop the self-sustained fuel cell stacks for automobile applications. CECRI has been successful in completing various externally funded projects from global private sectors like Colombian chemicals, USA and Applied Materials USA. Presently CECRI and TVS group of companies have joined hands to develop the hybrid system for automobile applications. The battery research at CECRI Madras unit primarily aims at developing improvised electrode materials for Li-ion batteries by tuning crystal chemistry, composition and morphology. Activities are also extended to understand the role of nanomaterials based electrodes with more emphasis on synthesis, characterization and their high performance in Li-ion batteries. Nanomaterials based electrodes/current collectors have shown major advances in cell assembly and improved performance. The phenomenal differences in performance of nano materials based electrodes are also envisaged and demonstrated at our laboratory. These output during last 8 years are punctuated with credible publications (>50), three patents and Two Know-How. Also the centre has mentored Ph.D programs to compliment the product centric activity with scope of providing new understanding of the utility of the materials developed. Besides modelling of performance PEFC & DMFC has been evolved to provide predictive lines to evolve relevant experimental strategies. These outputs are made possible through funds from CSIR and now the Centre is exploring customized product with industry partner. It is important to mention that the Centre is actively collaborating with sister laboratories namely CSIR-NCL, Pune and CSIR-NPL, New Delhi to bring out PEFC stacks with all the components being developed as a proprietary knowledge of CSIR. From the beginning of 2009, the activity of Li ion battery has been initiated and working with main laboratory of CECRI under TAPSUN and NMITLI program. The focus is on new electrode materials and testing of single cell module with modelling the same. The Centre has equipped itself with necessary facilities for electrochemical diagnosis and characterization facilities for all these activities and uses main laboratory facilities for non-electro chemical characterization.