Dr. Rahul Fotedar joins Morrow Batteries AS, Oslo, Norway, as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). He will lead the work in developing the next generation world class batteries that will be produced in the already planned Giga-factory in the south of Norway.
“I believe that the climate crisis is the biggest challenge we face right now. Many people will be affected, especially in India where I come from. Morrow Batteries’ ambition is to make the world’s most sustainable batteries. I am eagerly looking forward to develop a sustainable energy solution for the future, but also contribute to build a battery-value chain in Europe”, says Dr. Rahul Fotedar, newly appointed CTO of Morrow Batteries.
Fotedar has just moved from Switzerland to Oslo, the Norwegian capital, to assume his position as CTO of Morrow.
“We are very happy to have Rahul as our CTO. He has a PhD in battery technology and a strong track record which includes developing differentiated battery technology, in addition with experience in technology scouting and entrepreneurship. He has the full package”, says Terje Andersen, CEO of Morrow Batteries.
Rahul has a PhD in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries from ETH Zürich, Europe’s leading technical university. After completing his doctoral fellowship at ETH, Rahul worked as a researcher at IFE, the Norwegian center of energy research. He was also the co-founder and CTO in Graphene Batteries, a start-up devoted to developing a new battery cell with high energy density. From Norway, the journey continued to Hilti Group in Liechtenstein, where Rahul was hired as a battery expert. Now he is returning to Norway and Morrow Batteries, 8 years after he last left the country.
Will fight the big ones
“I think we are at a crossroads now, and have a great opportunity to build a European battery industry”, says Fotedar, and explains:
“The industries in the battery value chain have not been consolidated and until now much of the technology has been copied, not developed. In addition, the market is mainly controlled by Asian monopoly companies, so there is a need for more homegrown European challengers. Buying blueprint factories from one of the major Asian players is not a good solution, then we will always be behind. Here we have every opportunity to build our own value chain, and to develop and manufacture in Europe”, he says.
Fotedar highlights in particular the need for infrastructure and test capacity as crucial if Europe is to take a position in the future battery market.
“The biggest challenge when it comes to developing new battery technology is scaling. You can create a lot of innovation at the desk, but making it big, and having the infrastructure required to produce hundreds and thousands of cells, will be crucial“, Fotedar says.
That’s why Morrow Batteries, in addition to the giga battery cell-factory, is planning to build an industrialization center that will support the strategy of becoming a world class manufacturer of high performing and sustainable batteries.
“Our approach runs along two main tracks. On the one side, it is about using the best available technology that exist in the market today to establish a production line quickly. At the same time, we want to build an infrastructure that makes it possible for us to develop, test and scale world class new battery technology”, says Dr. Fotedar.
Attracts international PhD-talents
“Even though the South of Norway is a perfect place to manufacture the world’s most sustainable batteries we should acknowledge that cell manufacturing has never been done in Norway before. That is why it is important to attract and hire international talents with experience from the industry”, Andersen points out.
He’s comparing Morrow Batteries to the Norwegian oil-history:
“In the late sixties Norway discovered oil on its continental shelf, but needed help from people with experience to build an oil industry around it. As of now, we have the raw materials, the renewable energy, the market-connection, but we need to attract talent with experience within battery technology and cell manufacturing to build a battery industry”, says Andersen.
Morrow’s ambition is to build up a world-class technology team, and has already recruited four PhDs with background from India, Norway, Turkey and Poland.