Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries announced on Friday that it will buy UK-based solar battery company Faradion Limite for an enterprise value of GBP 100 million, to strengthen its multi-billion-dollar clean energy portfolio.
The oil-to-retail conglomerate said in its regulatory filing to the stock exchanges today that Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL), - a wholly-owned unit of Reliance, signed definitive agreements to acquire 100 per cent shareholding in Faradion for an enterprise value of GBP 100 million. The renewable energy arm will invest an additional GBP 25 million as growth capital to accelerate the commercial roll-out, the company said in its statement.
Based out of Sheffield and Oxford in the UK and with its patented sodium-ion battery technology, Faradion is one of the leading global battery technology companies. Faradion's sodium-ion technology provides significant advantages compared to alternative battery technologies, especially lithium-ion and lead-acid. These advantages include no dependence and use of cobalt, lithium, copper, or graphite, said Reliance.
Also, it is patented zero-volt safe transport and storage, low cost and has fast charging capability. It utilises existing lithium-ion manufacturing infrastructure and is already proven with multiple commercial manufacturing partners. Its energy density is on par with lithium-ion phosphate and has a wider operating temperature range of -30℃ to +60℃, according to the statement.
''The sodium-ion technology developed by Faradion provides a globally leading energy storage and battery solution which is safe, sustainable, provides high energy density, and is significantly cost competitive. In addition, it has wide use applications from mobility to grid scale storage and back-up power,'' said Mr. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries.
"Most importantly, it utilizes sodium, which will secure India's energy storage requirements for its large renewable energy and fast-growing EV charging market. We will work with Faradion management and accelerate its plans to commercialise the technology through building integrated and end-to-end giga scale manufacturing in India,'' added Mr Ambani.
Since October 10, Reliance has made several acquisitions and strategic investments to give shape to its green energy business that spans solar, battery, and hydrogen investments. It seeks to gain access to cutting-edge technology that can reduce the cost of renewable energy production, especially in solar energy generation.
Reliance has put $1.2 billion in partnerships with NexWafe, Sterling and Wilson, Stiesal, and Ambri in its efforts to build a fully integrated end-to-end renewable energy ecosystem.
"Dr Jerry Barker, Ashwin Kumaraswamy and I founded Faradion in 2010 to develop sodium-ion technology and bring it to market, with funds from Mercia Asset Management. This deal with Reliance firmly establishes Faradion's sodium-ion batteries as an integral part of the global value chain for cheaper, cleaner, more sustainable energy for decades to come,'' said Dr. Chris Wright, Chairman and Co-Founder Faradion.
Reliance, which is expected to continue to invest in technology - such as fuel cells and key materials for the clean energy sector, is likely to commercialise the acquired technologies and set up manufacturing plants in India.
Mukesh Ambani at the company's shareholders' meeting in June announced its plan to invest $10 billion in low carbon energy. Over the next three years, Reliance will spend Rs 60,000 crore to construct four 'Giga factories' to make integrated solar PV modules, electrolysers, fuel cells, and batteries to store energy from the grid.
The site of these plants will be located at the new 5,000 acres Green Energy Giga Complex in Jamnagar. An additional Rs 15,000 crore will be used for investments across the value chain, technology, and partnerships for the new energy business.
Shares of Reliance Industries were last trading 0.48 per cent higher at Rs 2,367.80 apiece on the bSE. Reliance opened on the BSE at Rs 2,370, swinging to an intra day high of Rs 2,379.45 and an intra day low of Rs 2,360.05, in the trading session so far.