A leg up for lithium-ion battery recycling

Tamil Nadu may soon become a hub for recycling Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, with one of the largest e-waste recyclers, Attero Recycling , planning to start a 16,000 mt capacity plant in Dharmapuri district.

With an investment of ₹400 crore and close to Chennai (also known as the Detroit of India), Attero hopes to catch all the business available from the large number of auto manufacturers present in the state who will be shifting to electric vehicle manufacturing before long. Of course, Li-ion battery sourcing is not restricted to one sector and comes from many other electronic and component streams as well.

Nitin Gupta, CEO and Co-founder of Attero, says he chose Tamil Nadu to set up his second plant for a number of reasons. The suggestion came from the industry itself and he, too, found that with the port easily accessible, a business-friendly state government and the availability of educated and skilled human resource, it was an ideal choice. According to him, the Attero plant will generate direct employment for 400 people and indirect employment for 4,400.   

Operational by Q1-FY23

The company expects the plant to be operational by the first quarter of 2023 and says that this will ramp up its recycling capacity to 16,000 MT by 2024 from the current 3,500 MT. And with an EV ecosystem penetrating the country, the mix of Li-ion battery e-waste that comes for processing is also likely to change.

Gupta explains that currently 60 per cent of it comes from the energy storage (read telecom towers) stream, 25 per cent from EVs and 15 per cent from consumer electronics. He, however, expects this to change in three to five years with Li-ion EV batteries dominating at 70 per cent.

Tapping a waste source

However, Attero plans to tap an additional waste source that does not exist in the country as yet—single lithium cells that generate waste during manufacturing. For this Attero plans to set up mega recycling facilities in Poland (Europe), Ohio (USA), and Indonesia, for which it has earmarked an investment of $1 billion, and aims to recycle more than 3,00,000 mt of Li-Ion battery waste per year by 2027.

Highest recycling efficiency rate

Gupta is very proud of his massive contribution to a circular economy, both in terms of technology and scale. He points out that Attero utilises proprietary and globally patented Avant-grade recycling technologies and has the world’s highest RER (Recycling Efficiency Rate) at 98 per cent. It recycles all kinds of end-of-life Li-Ion batteries (LFP, various NMC, LCO, LTO LMO etc.), factory waste, and black mass and extracts from them pure battery grade lithium carbonate, cobalt, graphite, nickel, manganese among others.

“Our material is purer and better than that mined,” he emphasises and says 90 per cent of the auto companies in India are his clients who will be served through the Tamil Nadu investment.

Published on

August 07, 2022


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