Tata Steel Collaborates with Deeptech Start-ups for advancement

Tata Steel is collaborating with deeptech startups to improve processes in areas like energy management, AI & ML


About the Advancement

Tata Steel is a well-respected name in Indian business, with a history spanning over 115 years. As a key player in India’s industrial growth, the company is adapting to the changing technological world. In the past five years, Tata Steel has collaborated with startups through its Innoventure program. And this initiative has involved about 1,200 startups working together to solve challenges in the steel industry using new technologies.

One big challenge is reducing carbon emissions, especially in the steel industry. This industry uses a lot of energy and creates a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a major contributor to climate change. According to the World Steel Association, the steel industry contributes about 8% of global CO2 emissions.

Another issue is that even though the demand for steel in India is growing rapidly, many Indian steel plants aren’t operating at full capacity. Their potential capacity is rarely used beyond 80%.

Tata Steel is exploring collaborations with deeptech startups to improve processes in major areas like energy management, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotics, and sustainability. In 2022, it partnered with a deeptech startup called TuTr to implement Hyperloop technology on a large scale. The company is also working with academic institutions such as IIT Madras, Cambridge University, and Imperial College of London, as well as with incubators and accelerators.

Dr. Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President of Technology and R&D at Tata Steel, acknowledges that working with startups has made the company more agile and open-minded. He highlighted, “We can leverage the creativity, enthusiasm, and agility of these deep-tech startups to quickly adopt new technologies.”

He also added, “Tata Steel has two main goals: first, to become a technology leader, a position it has been working towards since 2017; and second, to adapt to the rapid changes in the external world that affect its business.

While Tata Steel has traditionally focused its research, development, and technology on its core areas such as mines, minerals, coatings, and mainstream steelmaking processes, it now recognizes the growing importance of external factors like CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and water conservation.

To stay ahead, Tata Steel is collaborating with academia and deeptech startups. These startups have already tested their ideas at universities and can help Tata Steel quickly adopt new technologies and innovations, allowing the company to move ahead of the curve.”

Tata Steel works with startups based on themes that match its needs. Through the Innoventure programme, Tata Steel connects with deeptech startups. These startups are grouped into categories like safety, carbon capture, hydrogen, and AI, important for Tata Steel. Screening and pitch sessions help select the startups. Over the last five years, Tata Steel has tried out ideas from about 40 startups at its plants. Pilot plants, funded by grants, are set up for this purpose. Successful startups can then use their technologies in other sectors, benefiting from Tata Steel’s experience. This approach helps startups grow.


What is a Deeptech Startup?

Deep technology startups are essentially innovative organizations that focus on leveraging advanced technology to solve complex real-world problems. These businesses are an offshoot of the startup ecosystem that prioritizes groundbreaking scientific discoveries and technological advancements

What does Deeptech work with?

Deep tech startups typically concentrate on transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain, biotechnology, quantum computing, and more. These organizations navigate uncharted territories, aspiring to make a significant impact on industries and society as a whole.

What are the challenges Deeptech counter?

Deep tech startups often tackle issues of significant complexity and scale. These could range from climate change and energy efficiency to healthcare, financial systems, and space exploration. They seek to develop products and solutions that can drastically alter existing paradigms or create entirely new ones.

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