“Entrepreneurship is not only about everything we do physically…it is about the emotional strength the founders possess. It is about having the same enthusiasm throughout. It is about believing in yourself and your team, and most importantly, it is about a journey, and it has no particular destination” (Nikita Baliarsingh).
Twin sisters Nishita and Nikita Baliarsingh have launched an innovative award-winning Indian startup, Nexus Power, to help save the planet 7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by the turn of the century. Although neither of them has a science background, they are doing this by biomimicry using nanodot proteins derived from crop residue. The residue, traditionally burned and causing heavy air pollution, is procured from local farmers who earn approximately £246 for every 100 batteries that Nexus Power produces.
While Nikita studied Media and Mass Communication and Nishita specialised in Corporate Finance, they were interested in the market for Electric Vehicles (EV). They realised that its development would be limited by the inefficiency of the car battery, the long battery charging time and the lack of local sources of lithium, as well as toxicity hazards and the high cost of the vehicle. So they began to read up on batteries, and in an old biochemistry book in their grandfather’s library, they came across “proteins may have potential benefits in electrolytes”. This sparked their interest further. Nishita took courses in thermal management, hybrid electric vehicle design and innovation and IP rights, while Nikita undertook them in nanomaterials for energy storage. Eventually, in April 2019, they launched 11 employee Nexus Power to develop batteries for two and three-wheeled electronic vehicles.
Beta testing of these showed that the Nexus batteries charged 8-10 times faster than the traditional EV battery, lasted 20-30 per cent longer, are cheaper, and are eco-friendly. They are completely lithium-ion free and, therefore non-toxic. Not only that, but they are locally sourced and not only can they be completely recycled at the end of their life, but the manufacturing process produces ethanol and bio-fertiliser as bi-products. These can be used to further increase agricultural productivity. So Nexus Power is not only facilitating the adoption of electric vehicles, but it is contributing to the development of the agricultural sector – a circular and green business.
While it has yet to go commercial, they have had discussions with several Indian EV manufacturing companies and have been contacted by people from across the various industry sectors in Asia who want to join their market testing and pilot projects. However, before entering the market, the founders believe it to be necessary to ensure that every element of the battery is tested and certified. Their aim is to get done with testing and pilots by late 2022 to go commercial. Longer-term, they intend to develop their batteries for four-wheel and commercial vehicles and for the mobile phone, solar power and consumer electronics industries.
While Nexus Power has not yet made a profit, it is very much intended to be a for-profit business run by two sisters who “ believe in innovating to sustain and dream of a greener planet Earth”. At this stage, though, it is not clear whether it is a Harmonious Enterprise. It addresses SDGs 13 (Climate Action), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 9 (Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure), and it is keen to develop partnerships to achieve the goals (SDG 17). However, should it be classified more accurately as an example of ecopreneurship or/and a social enterprise or could it be regarded as a nascent Harmonious Enterprise that ultimately will address Profit, Planet and People, creating jobs (SDG 8) and making our cities and communities more sustainable (SDG 11)?
Ganguly, S. (2020), Bhubaneswar-based Nexus Power is using crop residue to make EV batteries. StartUP Bharat,
Menezes, A. (2021), This woman-run start-up uses crop residue to create bio batteries. The Hindu. 03 May.
Roy, R.D. (2021), Nexus Power: the Twin Sisters Redefining Sustainability in India’s e-mobility sector. Auto Futures, 24 February,
Tripathi, N (2021), Nexus Power. Building an EV Future beyond lithium-ion batteries, Forbes India 19 March.
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Inspiring case study by two very progressive women. Through self-motivation and research they are now looking to bring their products to market through negotiations with manufacturers. Wishing them every success in their endeavours and look forward to seeing how they progress