Epsilon Carbon partners with TMC on pre-feasibility study for polymetallic nodule processing plant in India
Battery

Epsilon Carbon partners with TMC on pre-feasibility study for polymetallic nodule processing plant in India

The focus of this collaboration would be on producing the lowest carbon footprint of manufacturing cathode precursors and will look to convert them to cathode active materials in India as well

  • By ICN Bureau | April 14, 2022
Epsilon Carbon Pvt. Ltd. announced that it has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with The Metals Company Inc. to complete a pre-feasibility study for a commercial-scale deep-sea nodule processing plant in India with an initial investment of Rs. 1200 crores in phase 1.
 
Epsilon Carbon will process 1 million tons per annum (TPA) of dry nodules which will result in a capacity of more than 30,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) of an intermediate nickel-copper-cobalt matte product used for active cathode material (CAM) in Lithium-ion Batteries (LiBs). Epsilon Carbon has a patented process to convert coal tar waste to synthetic graphite for use as anodes in Lithium-ion Batteries (LiBs) and is currently the only graphite anode manufacturer in India. 
 
The recent PLI scheme for Advanced Cell Chemistries (ACC) proposed by the Government of India necessitates a 60% local content to qualify for the government investment.  Epsilon with its commercial production of synthetic graphite and a pipeline to produce 30,000 TPA of NMC and 20,000 TPA of LFP by 2025 will contribute significantly towards helping Indian Giga-factories of the future to meet their local-content requirement.
 
The focus of this collaboration would be on producing the lowest carbon footprint of manufacturing cathode precursors and will look to convert them to cathode active materials in India as well.
 
Vikram Handa, founder and MD of Epsilon Carbon, added: “Having developed technology to tap an unconventional source of graphite — a waste stream from steel manufacturing — we are rapidly growing our anode materials’ business in India and establishing a new plant in Finland. Our strategy is to expand into cathode materials by 2024. TMC’s polymetallic nodule resource struck us as a game-changing opportunity to tap another unconventional resource with several intrinsic properties that potentially allow us to develop a cathode precursor materials business with a much lower environmental and social impact. We have started with a PFR for a relatively small-scale plant, but we believe that the scale of TMC’s resource has the potential to turn India into a significant supplier of critical minerals for battery and steel industries.” He added “The intent of the investment is to make India Atma nibhar for producing battery raw materials as the PLI scheme requires 60% local content for cell manufacturing.”
 
Gerard Barron, Chairman and CEO of TMC commented: “Over the last three years, we have engaged with many parties and visited plants around the world in search of the right onshore partners. In Epsilon Carbon, we have found a rare mix: a proven operational execution track record in anode materials, a 21st century approach to industrial development grounded in making use of waste products, deep care about safety, environmental and social impacts, and an entrepreneurial ambition to develop cathode precursor materials. We could not be more excited about partnering with the Epsilon Carbon team and the prospect of locating our first plant in India, the world’s largest democracy and home to 20% of the world’s population with robust development-led demand for the raw materials that can be derived from polymetallic nodules. Prime Minister Modi’s allocation last year of $600 million for India’s ‘Deep Ocean Mission and the development of a polymetallic nodule collection system shows the country’s commitment to this new, abundant, secure, lower-cost and lower-ESG-impact potential source of critical metals.”

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