pv magazine: What are the challenges of manufacturing energy storage batteries in India?
Nitin Gupta: India’s Prime Minister has set an ambitious target of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel power generation in India by 2030 and a reduction of 1 billion tonnes in projected total carbon emissions by 2030. For To achieve these goals, India will need to increase its grid storage and dramatically increase the number of electric vehicles (EVs). However, this requires increasing local manufacturing, exploring new avenues, and enabling global competition in emerging sectors such as energy storage.
The Production Linked Incentives Scheme for Advanced Chemistry Battery Cells (PLI-ACC Scheme) allows for a technology independent approach. It allows the recipient enterprise to select any suitable advanced technology, corresponding plant and machinery, raw materials and other intermediate goods to establish a cell manufacturing facility to meet any application.
The program envisions an investment that will stimulate domestic manufacturing while facilitating the creation of demand for battery storage for electric vehicles and stationary storage and the development of a comprehensive domestic supply chain and foreign direct investment in the country.
Although the plan has its heart in the right place, some things still need to be tweaked. Localization timelines appear to be too strict, given the lack of required manufacturing infrastructure and export base in the country. Incentives under the PLI-ACC program will only be paid after the national value-added commitment and the actual sale of the ACCs. The tender dossier provides for the payment of a quarterly subsidy to the beneficiary company and the certification of an independent engineer. The extent of the grant will vary depending on the approval of the engineer, affecting the practical implementation and the speed of this disbursement. In addition, the grant limit mentioned above will have to be taken into account when disbursing grants.
The PLI-ACC scheme provides that the beneficiary must achieve a domestic value addition of at least 25% and commit the mandatory investment (INR 225 crore/GWh) within two years. A penalty is levied each day beyond the deadlines set for such location.
pv magazine: What should India do to address supply chain concerns?
China controls more than 97% of the world’s lithium supply, although it does not have any significant lithium mines. It created a lithium refining infrastructure and became a dominant player globally.
India is expected to take the lead in becoming the global hub for Li-ion battery recycling. To do this, we must ensure that we recycle all Li-ion batteries in an environmentally responsible way. We must also ensure maximum recovery of battery materials such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, graphite, manganese and copper. Both of these can be ensured by having the right recycling technologies in place, and that’s where Attero is right now.
India is already taking steps in this direction and is on the way to becoming “Atamnirbhar”. As a country, we also realize that recycling will play an important role in our self-reliance. On the political level, many initiatives have been taken in recent years, and we should soon start to see results.
pv magazine: What is the current recovery rate in battery recycling worldwide, and what was the goal? What are the main concerns within the battery recycling process itself?
The global recycling industry is growing at a CAGR of 19.6% and is expected to reach $22.8 billion by 2030, from $4.6 billion today. The extraction efficiency of Attero Recycling’s process is over 98% for all battery materials (cobalt, lithium, graphite, nickel and manganese), while the world’s second best process has an efficiency of only 50% .
Globally, no one recovers pure graphite or a significant amount of lithium from end-of-life Li-ion batteries except Attero.
pv magazine: Does India have the right policies and programs to ensure a circular economy for batteries?
The government has taken steps to promote a circular economy and encourage the concept of recycling. The government is also introducing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Li-ion batteries. Under this, manufacturers will become responsible for the entire life cycle of Li-ion batteries. Steps are also being taken to pump more investment into space.
Recycling is the best way to ensure the long-term development of our country. Metals make up over 30% of a Li-Ion battery by value. We have no cobalt or lithium reserves in India. We can help India become “Atamnirbhar” in these critical battery materials by recycling end-of-life batteries. As India continues to leapfrog and prepare for the age of electric vehicles, lithium-ion battery waste is expected to increase by 40-80% year-on-year. To prepare for this revolution, we must also start preparing to manage and recycle the lithium-ion waste that these cars will produce.
pv magazine: What does Attero Recycling offer?
Attero Recycling is the world’s most advanced Li-ion battery recycling company and India’s only end-to-end e-waste recycling company. We have an operational commercial plant, where we recycle all kinds of lithium-ion batteries, whether they come from cell phones, laptops, telecommunications towers or electric vehicles. Using our proprietary world-class technology, we can extract battery-grade cobalt, pharmaceutical-grade pure lithium carbonate and battery-grade pure nickel.
We resell all mined metals on the market and complete the circular economy value chain. Our customers include Samsung, LG, Whirlpool, Godrej, Hitachi, Daikin, Foxconn, Flextronics, Oppo Vivo, Hyundai, MG Motors and Maruti Suzuki to name a few.
In India, more than 50,000 tons of waste Li-ion batteries are produced every year. Attero, using its globally patented and NASA-approved technology, recycles nearly a thousand tons of li-ion batteries each year at its Roorkee plant. We are investing INR 300 crore to increase our lithium-ion recycling capacity by 11 times from 1,000 tons to 11,000 tons per year by October, with the aim of capturing 22% market share. We have also more than doubled our overall e-waste management capacity to 300,000 tonnes per year by the end of 2022. For 2030, Attero has set a goal of producing 200 GWh equivalent of lithium through urban mining.
Attero is also the only e-waste/Li-ion battery recycling company in the world to receive carbon credits for every ton of waste recycled. The United Nations (UNFCC) has provided the Carbon Credit certification based on the fact that the amount of energy required to extract one gram of any metal using Attero’s recycling process is significantly less than the amount of energy needed to extract the same metal from a virgin mine. or any other secondary source of such material. Attero has been awarded over 31 global patents and applied for over 200 global patents for in-house recycling technologies.
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