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Hydromet to set up lithium-ion battery recycling plant in Gujarat 

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The Gujarat-based extractive metallurgy technology solutions provider will set up a 1,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) lithium-ion battery recycling plant, primarily based on the hydrometallurgy process developed in-house. It plans two more such facilities, taking the overall capacity to 10,000 TPA. 

Navin Mittal, founder and chief executive officer of Hydromet Technology Solutions, has told pv magazine their company is going to set up a 1,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) lithium-ion battery recycling plant in the Indian State of Gujarat.  

The Gujarat-based extractive metallurgy technology solutions provider has already received approval from the Pollution Control Board for the plant. It plans two more such facilities, one in some other Indian state and the other overseas. The combined capacity in the three planned operations (including the Gujarat plant) will be 10,000 TPA. 

The Gujarat plant will be based on patented Hy-BREC technology developed by Hydromet to recover all valuable metals present in lithium-ion batteries. The company claims its process is zero-waste, generic, and adaptable. Different forms of lithium-ion batteries like lithium cobalt oxide (LCO), lithium nickel cobalt manganese oxide (NMC), lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA), and lithium manganese oxide (LMO)—excluding those based on ferrous chemistry—can be processed using this technology. 

The plant will recover metals using spent Li-ion batteries from mobile phones, laptops, and other sources including electric vehicle (EV) batteries and expects the EV batteries to dominate the raw material mix in the next five years. 

Speaking to pv magazine, Dr Lakshmi Vaideeswaran, corporate strategy and planning at Hydromet, said, “Ours will be a zero-waste plant with an aim of 100% circularity. The process developed by us can recover any metal present in the batteries as well as the carbon which is also saleable. Currently, our process is unique in the sense that it is not restricted to batteries of any specific application or chemistry (barring lithium ferro phosphate).” 

“From an engineering point of view, the Gujarat plant will have a modular design to allow for ramp-up in the capacity as the volumes increase. The recycling process is going to be generic, though the focus is on hydrometallurgy. The Gujarat plant is likely to become operational within one year. The material recovered from lithium batteries will be battery-grade with high purity.”  

Dr Vaideeswaran said the plant will be spread across 28,000 sq feet. The company has also developed other technologies and filed patents for the manufacture of precipitated silica from rice husk ash and the method to extract vanadium from vanadium-bearing slags. Hydromet plans to set up a multipurpose plant for technology scale-up and commercialization to fast-track its go-to-market efforts.