NextGen Summit 2023: Technology validation key to accelerating battery infrastructure

NextGen Summit 2023: Technology validation key to accelerating battery infrastructure

India’s battery industry growth to be humongous after 2028 once demand for EVs pick pace

  • By Rahul Koul | July 24, 2023

As per NITI Aayog report, India’s annual demand for ACC batteries is projected to rise to between 104 gigawatt-hours (GWh) and 260 GWh by 2030 across multiple sectors. The driving factors will be accelerated adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and rapid decarbonisation of the electricity grid, guided by COP26 commitments and supporting policies. Between 2014 and 2020, the cost of imported lithium-ion cells has increased sevenfold, from $180 million to over $1.2 billion. The increasing demand for advanced batteries presents a large macroeconomic opportunity if demand is met with domestic manufacturing.

The industry experts discussed the mega trends within the advanced batteries space at the seventh session, ‘Battery: The Big Opportunity’ of NextGen Chemical and Petrochemical Summit 2023 organized in Mumbai by the Indian Chemical News on July 13-14, 2023.  The session was moderated by Pravin Prashant, Editor, Indian Chemical News.

“Battery is an emerging field and there will always be the first mover advantage. At Epsilon, we are working on converting the waste into value added products. We have started with coal tar which comes as a waste from steel plants and we have been developing this process for the last four years internally. A lot of innovations have happened and many patients have been filed. Finally, we are setting up our plant for anode material at Vijaynagar. So, a lot of development has happened in this particular field, and on the anode front also. The anode for the Lithium Ion batteries starts from coal tar through various processing that it goes through at the distillation level and also the thermal treatments that we do at various temperatures. There are a lot of opportunities that can be tapped. We have announced a project in Finland and we are identifying a site is USA to set up a site for next project,” said Saiprasad Jadhav, CEO &Director, Epsilon Carbon.

“Today we have many verticals where we are serving various industries. We are into aluminium naphthalene, dyes, and construction chemicals. We are into various chemicals that come out of coal tar. Another area we are into is carbon black which has application in the tyre industry. Completely integrated, right from feedstock to fuel, with anode being a very energy intensive industry, whatever gases come out of carbon black is put into our captive power plant. This fulfills both power as well as team requirements,” added Jadhav.

“If we see this industry, it has just started in India. The major push came from the PLI which the Indian government announced for lithium ion batteries that kickstarted the whole thing. Neogen as a company has been into lithium ion chemistry for the last 30 years and we have been working with a set of niche

customers. When we started working on lithium ion batteries, we were trying to connect with the companies that can do the lithium salts. Unfortunately, then the Covid happened and we were pushed back by two years. Then things started getting back on track. The net zero commitments made by us, the battery applications in EV and storage applications and with the kind of corporates getting involved in this, I believe that the industry has got a good future ahead,” said Pickin Jain, Vice President – Business Development, Neogen Chemicals.

“Although the ramp up of volumes will be slow due to complex technology, validation and ramping up of capacities and sales will take time. Few of our customers mention that they will begin from 2024 end as well as beginning 2025. It all needs to be seen but once the technology is established at the customer’s end, then the ramp up happens faster. I believe there is a great future as we have no other option. The only thing is how technology succeeds and the ramp up part,” added Jain.

“In India, 50 gigawatt has been already tendered by the government and the initial bid received is 130 gigawatt plus. So there is enough demand for batteries from the corporate and the supply chain has a lot of players looking at doing something big. If we look at the growth factors, India roughly has 33 crore vehicles, out of which 75% are two wheelers, and almost 20% are four-wheelers. Average battery size is around 2.5 to 3 kilowatt hours for two wheelers. Average battery size for four wheelers is 30 to 35 kilowatt hours. You can imagine the kind of demand scenario which is going to be there. It will be humongous. What is going to be emerging is that we are looking at 500 gigawatt of renewable energy by 2030. As per TERI, there is 450 gigawatt requirement for batteries, and 6% requirement for storage. As per CES, there is requirement of 350 gigawatt overall and 80 gigawatt of battery. The scenario is going to be unimaginable as the demand will be huge,” said Chandrashekhar Chincholkar, Director – Corporate Advisory, Customized Energy Solutions (CES) India.

“The real growth in the battery segment will take another seven years. I believe it will happen only after 2028 once the demand for EVs picks up significantly. Can you imagine the United States government has given about US$ 370 billion incentives and compare it with India where I don’t think the incentives in terms of all the PLI schemes put together have even crossed rupees one lakh crore. A country with four times the population the size of the US where energy consumption is at 1200 units as compared to the latter where it is 11,000 units. So the US is 9 times our energy consumption and the amount of renewable power that the US is trying to put up by 2030 is 2800 gigawatt. If that is the situation in the US, imagine the demand for batteries there. It can contribute to the raw material and other supply chain factors in the coming decade,” added Chincholkar.

“As a young startup, we primarily started as a lithium supply chain company with strong roots in South America, primarily Brazil and Bolivia. In that journey, we started working with KFCL, an institute under the Department of Science &Technology, Government of India for the development of (LSP) lithium diiodosalicylate solubilized preparation technology. We supplied the lithium and once the technology was developed, we were appreciated for it. They understood that we can add a lot of value to the ecosystem as LSP was becoming a key raw material for the last two years. So, we acquired the technology in India as well as globally exclusively. We are starting with setting up with our 3 gigawatt cathode materials line in India, which will be dedicated to high power and energy LSP materials,” said Kiriti Varma, Co-Founder & COO, Altmin.

“The Indian market opportunity is huge but the amount of consumption we see today is non-existent when compared to countries like China which hold 99% of the supply of chemicals and they also consume most of it as well. When it comes to establishing Indian manufacturers and supply chains, we need to create not only a secure supply chain but also a very localized supply chain,” added Varma.

NextGen Chemical and Petrochemical Summit 2023 themed, ‘Innovation, Self-reliance and Sustainability’ witnessed attendance by a huge number of stakeholders from the chemical and petrochemical industry across India.

The Summit was supported by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and co-partnered by DCM Shriram. The Gold Partners of the event were Premier Tech, Ingenero, Rieco, ABB, PIP, Deepak Group, Dassault Systemes, Moglix and Siemens. Associate Partners were Tata Chemicals, Anupam Rasayan India, Sealmatic, Godavari Biorefineries, Huntsman, Tranter, Source.One, IPCO, and Aeroflex. The Lanyard Partner was Jakson Green.  

Industry Association Partners were AMAI, Gujarat Chemical Association, CropLife India, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Manufacturers Association, India and, AgroChem Federation of India.

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