Manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries is gaining momentum in the country, however, recycling remains an untapped area which could offer a bigger opportunity in the coming years if the government comes with a policy framework, says Akshay Kashyap, founder and managing director, GreenFuel Energy Solutions that manufactures battery packs for two-wheelers.
The lithium-ion battery is made up of scarce metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel etc. and these are not easily available in nature, he said, adding, “The battery has a limited life span. It is difficult to dismantle it and get back its components again, which poses a major problem for the electric vehicle industry. The solution lies in its recycling and storage applications.”
According to Kashyap, there is a need to have clear guidelines for collection, storage, transportation and recycle of waste or used lithium-ion batteries. Furthermore, the number of electric vehicles (EVs) will increase in future and will result into rise in the volume of used batteries in the ecosystem, which if left untreated would lead to health and environmental hazards, so managing them will become a necessity, he added.
Talking about the recycling procedure, he said, “Currently there is no standard procedure to recycle the lithium-ion battery like we have in lead-acid batteries. The recycling can be done with a low-carbon dioxide hydrometallurgical process. The lithium-ion batteries are first made safe for mechanical treatment, with various metals separated and directed to their own recycling processes one by one.”
Stressing the need to have research and development (R&D) centers to learn about its recycling in India, Kashyap said, just like a huge sum of money is required to manufacture batteries, it requires a lot of investment to learn the procedure to dismantle and recycle the batteries too, Kashyap said his company had spent two years on R&D to be able to develop lithium-ion battery packs that well-suited the climatic conditions as well as the traffic situation of the country.