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Replus to switch on 1 GWh lithium battery plant by March 2023

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Hiren Pravin Shah, the executive director and CEO of Replus, told pv magazine that the company aims to scale its lithium battery factory in Pune to 5 GWh by 2025-26. It also plans to recycle end-of-life batteries.

Replus, a unit of LNJ Bhilwara Group, will start operating a lithium battery assembly plant with an annual capacity of 1 GWh within the first three months of 2023. It plans to then scale the plant to 5 GWh per year by the 2025-26 period, as long as demand continues to soar.

“The company has acquired 4.25 acres of land for the manufacturing capacity planned initially. Civil work is underway, and line and machinery will be installed towards the end of this year,” said Hiren Pravin Shah, the executive director and CEO of Replus. “We expect the plant to be operational in the last quarter of the current [fiscal year].”

The Replus factory in Pune, Maharashtra, will cater to the domestic and international markets for energy storage and electric mobility. A strong demand outlook is driving the company’s lithium battery ambitions.

“India is poised for exponential growth in the e-mobility sector. The demand is also coming for stabilizing the grid by virtue of penetration of renewables and curtailment of thermal plants. By 2030 the battery energy storage demand will be approx. 500 GWh, out of which 350 GWh will be from the e-mobility sector and around 150 GWh stationery,” said Shah. “To meet such demand, it is inevitable to have local manufacturing and establish an early supply chain network for the raw materials.”

The Indian government has allocated 50 GWh of annual cell manufacturing capacity under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to boost domestic production. But Shah said this is just the starting point to set the ball rolling.

“Since only four companies could avail and benefit from the PLI scheme, other aspiring manufacturers will go ahead with their own set of plans, thus creating the need for a further stable supply chain network,” said Shah.

One good sign is that the industry sees significant activity on the raw materials front.

“Several global companies are setting up operations in India to cater to the large demand from the domestic Indian market and overseas markets like MENA,” said Shah. “Indian companies are building capabilities and capacities through innovation and diversification of their existing business lines. Aluminum, copper, nickel, manganese, cobalt, and carbon suppliers from the existing industry are developing and investing in products suitable for lithium-ion cells in the future.”

Going forward, Replus wants to recycle end-of-use batteries. It will set up a mechanism to use second-life batteries for non-critical applications and recycle them both mechanically and chemically, as part of its commitment to sustainability and lifecycle support for its products.