Plan for India’s first lithium refinery is forging ahead after Neometals Ltd. and Manikaran Power Ltd approved a feasibility study for a project that aims to supply a nation set to become the fourth-largest electric-vehicle market by 2040.
The refinery will have a proposed capacity of 20,000 tons a year of lithium hydroxide, Australia’s Neometals said Thursday in a statement. The study will support staged investment decisions for a potential 50:50 joint venture to develop the project.
India’s ambition of becoming a global hub for making EVs faces challenges from a lack of access to raw materials, such as lithium, needed to produce batteries. The proposed project by Neometals and Manikaran is part of a nascent drive by the nation to build battery factories and secure supplies for the burgeoning EV industry.
The project would also be timed to hit a supply crunch in the lithium sector from the middle of the decade as demand from battery producers builds, Neometals Chief Executive Officer Chris Reed said in the statement. Disruptions related to the coronavirus pandemic have also illustrated the importance of developing domestic supply chains, including in India, he said.
Passenger EV sales in India are expected to rise to 2.6 million vehicles in 2040, from about 3,000 in 2018, BloombergNEF said last year. In 2040, the fleet of electric passenger and commercial freight vehicles in India will displace 360,000 barrels of fuel demand every day.
As electric vehicle adoption grows the world over, lithium demand from batteries -- an essential component of vehicles -- will double every five years to reach 1.6 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent by 2030, according to a report last month by BloombergNEF.
The secretary of MNRE Anand Kumar in his latest tweet stated that all renewable energy projects under implementation will be given an extension on account of the 21-day lockdown imposed on the country.
“All Renewable Energy projects under implementation will be given extension of time considering period of lock down and time required for remobilisation of work force,” said Anand Kumar, secretary of MNRE in a tweet.
The spread of coronavirus in China disrupted the supply chain of components used in RE project at the beginning of the year. Further, it’s spread in India also impacted the availability of workforce, with industry shutdowns and the government announcing a complete 21 days lockdown across India starting March 25.
In this context, the extension of time will provide great relief to all the stakeholders in the RE sector noted the press release issued by MNRE.
India went under complete lockdown on March 25 for a period of 21 days. Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted the lockdown as “very necessary to break the chain of coronavirus.”
- By Shraddha Kakade
While the Government of India has strongly pushed for faster adoption of electric vehicles and the manufacturing of advanced energy storage technologies in India, organizations committed to the cause of technology-driven sustainable and holistic mobility transformation aren’t too far behind.
India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), an alliance that works in the area of energy, advanced energy storage and electric mobility along with the Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET) successfully concluded India’s first-ever Li-ion fabrication workshop in Pune today.
The first-of-its-kind two-day workshop was designed by IESA experts to assist industry understanding of the Li-ion cell manufacturing process. The participants, which included, several battery systems providers and manufacturers in India learned about raw materials required, equipment and detailed process of Li-ion cell manufacturing through a mix of hands-on lab training and expert lectures.
“At IESA, we believe that it is high time for the Indian industry to take up R&D and advanced cell manufacturing so that we reduce our dependence on other countries,” said Dr. Rahul Walawalkar, President of IESA.
"The recent pandemic related to COVID19 has highlighted the importance of domestic manufacturing considering the risk of global supply chain disruptions. Energy storage and EVs have importance for national energy security and we should learn from the recent events and accelerate our efforts for building domestic capabilities,” Dr. Walawalkar added.
The Hands-on Li-ion Cell Fabrication workshop included practical lab training for pouch cell fabrication, preparation of cathode ink and coating on current collectors of electrode fabrication, battery testing and criteria for cell selection. It also included presentations on cell manufacturing, chemistries and performance characteristics, and next-generation Li-ion technologies.
“They had a good study of cell-chemistries, good technical knowledge, and test equipment,” said Srinivas Badam, one of the participants of the workshop. IESA should have more joint ventures with other organizations and OEM’s so many more can benefit from this, Badam added.
Li-ion batteries are extremely important to the e-mobility and stationary storage sector due to several advantages of Li-ion battery chemistries. In India, a growing number of battery pack manufacturers are now assembling high capacity packs to meet the needs of fast-evolving electric vehicles and stationary storage market.
“It is our responsibility to support the industry so that India can pick up Li-ion manufacturing instead of depending on other countries,” said Dr. Bharat Kale, Director of Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology. “India’s first workshop by IESA along with CMET is a step towards it. We thank MeitY for creating such a facility and further [Li-ion fabrication] initiative in this regard at CMET Pune,” Dr. Kale added.
Dr. Satyajit Phadke, Manager R&D, Customized Energy Solutions (CES) who led the workshop stressed that such training so far were only available in developed countries like Germany and the US. “This workshop is our effort to help bring down the costs of such training capabilities and help the industry get a better appreciation of the R&D facilities available within India,” Dr. Phadke added.
The other presenters at the workshop included Customized Energy Solutions Dr. Shrikant Nagpure who presented on the manufacturing process of Li-ion cells, Dr. Tanmay Sarkar who presented on Li-ion battery supply chain and Harsh Thacker gave the market overview.
Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) the state-owned energy service company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with telecom PSU Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) for installing 1,000 EV charging stations.
The EV charging stations will be installed at 1,000 BSNL sites in a phased manner across the country and BSNL will provide the necessary power connections and space for the charging infrastructure to be developed.
EESL will bear the entire upfront investment on the services, including operations and maintenance of the charging station, said EESL in a company statement.
EESL has already commissioned 300 AC and 170 DC chargers across India and has installed 66 public charging points in Delhi-NCR alone.
The state-owned super-energy service company, thanks to its innovative model of demand aggregation and bulk procurement, receives EVs and chargers at a significantly lower rate as compared to the market value.
Stating that India has a population of practically 2,970 tigers at present, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on said that the country would take a prominent role in encouraging the green economy comprising conservation of mountain ecology with people's involvement.
"India has the distinction of having a population of almost 2,970 tigers. India has achieved its target of doubling the number of targets two years before the committed date of 2022. India would be taking a leading role in promoting green economy including conservation of mountain ecology with people's participation," Modi said while addressing a convention on 'Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals' at Gandhinagar via video conference.
Underlining that India's forest cover has increased considerably, the Prime Minister said, "The present assessment also indicates that the total forest cover is 21.67 percent of the total geographical area of the country. The number of protected areas has increased from 745 in 2014 to 870 in 2019 with an area coverage of nearly 1.7 lakh square km."
"The range of our initiatives includes an ambitious target of 450 megawatts in renewable energy, a push towards electric vehicles, smart cities, conservation of water and more," he said.
The Prime Minister continued that the international solar alliance, the coalition for disaster-resilient infrastructure and industries transition leadership have seen encouraging participation from countries worldwide.
Stressing on initiatives taken by India to set standards for the conservation of Asian elephants’ leopards and Asiatic lions, he said, "India is supporting more than 60 percent of the global Asian elephant population. 30 elephant reserves have been identified by our states."
"We have launched Project Snow Leopard, to protect the animal and its habitat in the Upper Himalayas. The Gir landscape in Gujarat is the only home for the Asiatic lion and the pride of the country. We have initiated an Asiatic Lion conservation project since Jan 2019 to protect them. Today, the population of Asiatic Lions stands at 523," he said.
The Prime Minister added that the Government of India has launched the National Conservation Strategy for the Indian one-horned rhinos, which are found in Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, in 2019.
In a move to inch closer to developing its first lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant for EVs in India, Japan’s Suzuki JV invested INR 3,715 crore in the second phase of their battery venture in Gujarat.
As per reports, Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. (SMC), Toshiba Corp., and Denso Corp. will jointly invest a sum of INR 3,715 crore. This investment is a part of the larger plan announced by Suzuki last October to invest INR 5,000 crore to build India’s first Li-ion battery manufacturing plant over a period of five years from 2021 -25.
The joint venture, Automotive Electronics Power Pvt Ltd (AEPPL) is currently building the first phase at INR 1,214 crore, and as per reports, the first phase will start production by end of 2020.
AEPPL aims to locally manufacture 30 million lithium-ion cells annually with a production capacity of more than 1GWh.
Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd, SMC’s two-wheeler arm, is already developing a prototype electric scooter for the Indian market and intends to test the vehicle sometime this year.
In addition to AEPPL, other domestic carmakers in India like Mahindra Ltd (M&M) and Tata Motors Ltd (TML) have also teamed up with international players for developing the manufacturing ecosystem for EVs in India. M&M has teamed up with Korea’s LG Chem to develop high energy density lithium-ion cells for local applications and is setting up a plant at Chakan, Pune. Tata Motors is collaborating with group companies including Tata Chemicals Ltd to develop its own lithium-ion technology. TCS Ltd, Tata Power Ltd, and Tata AutoComp Systems Pvt. Ltd is all participating in this initiative.
Delta Electronics India on Thursday launched a state-of-the-art E-Mobility Tech Experience Center for establishing a strong electric vehicle charging infrastructure in India.
Through the E-Mobility Tech Experience Center, the company hopes to provide an industry platform that will support all types of ratings and configurations and promote a deeper understanding of the ecosystem of EV charging solutions.
“Delta is powering green mobility and over the last four years, the company has carved a niche for itself in EV charging solutions by providing competent solutions viz-a-viz international standards. This E-Mobility Tech Experience Center will reinstate our endeavor to provide innovative, clean and energy-efficient solutions for a better tomorrow,” said Niranjan S Nayak, Business Head, Delta Electronics India.
The company also introduced its next-generation charging solutions such as DC City Charger and AC Max which will cater to the need of efficient public charging infrastructure.
“Our E-Mobility Tech Experience Center is designed to come up with a vehicle to grid solutions in India,” said Akshay Barbuddhe, Business Head, EV Charging Solutions, Delta Electronics India. “We are confident of having an enhanced charging infrastructure offering for our valued customers. Very soon, the possibility of adding renewable energy to EV charging solutions will be a reality. We will be working on a robust scalable roadmap, with a vision to deliver on future-ready, efficient and pioneering product & technology-related answers to ecosystem needs.”
Tata Motors on Monday signed a contract with Lithium Urban Technologies for co-development and supply of 500 electric vehicles in India.
As the first milestone, Tata Motors and Lithium have signed a contract for 400 newly launched Tigor Sedan EV, with an extended range of 213 km, to be supplied by FY20 and deployed across India held the official statement by Tata Motors. This partnership plans to additionally induct 100 electric vehicles, which would include cars to be launched in the near future, like Nexon EV for corporate leadership transport services.
“This is not just the most significant milestone for Tata Motors’ E-Mobility Business, but also a big turning point in the EV market, which is now likely to see fleets electrify faster than ever before,” said Shailesh Chandra, President of E-mobility Business and Corporate Strategy at Tata Motors. “We are delighted to enter this partnership with Lithium, who are on their pragmatic journey of expanding their zero-emission transport service rapidly,” Chandra added.
The new Tigor E-sedan with an extended range of 213 km is certified by ARAI and is available for both, fleet and personal segment customers. The vehicle qualifies for FAME II incentives too and eligible commercial customers can avail of these benefits.
“This partnership with Tata Motors will ensure availability of new form factors and enable the viability of new market segments across passenger, mass transit, and freight,” said Sanjay Krishnan, Founder of Lithium Urban Technologies. “Lithium would move quickly to integrate the company's paradigm-shifting LUTEC (LithiumUrbanTec) EV mobility utilization software with the new vehicles,” he added.
Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Arvind Ganpat Sawant inaugurated a new testing and development facility at International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) at Manesar, Haryana.
Along with the inauguration of the new testing facility, a technology appreciation drive was also organized to showcase the technical advantage of hybrid vehicles as compared to conventional fuel vehicles.
India should focus on the local requirements of the customers and industry while developing a policy framework for India said minister Arvind Sawant. The solutions which are relevant to other countries may not be relevant in the Indian context on the as-is-where-is basis he added.
Sawant further emphasized the need to take into consideration the Indian industry and ancillary industry before undertaking new technological advancements.
Speaking about E-waste management, the minister cautioned that the management of E-waste is becoming a matter of grave concern and needs to be addressed. He further stressed that the import of Lithium should not replace the import of crude as we migrate towards e-vehicles.
At the inauguration, ICAT members presented the outcome of the technical assessments carried out on various xEVs, the details of these with the econometric models will be showcased at the NuGen Mobility Summit 2019.
In a run-up to NuGen Mobility Summit, a technology appreciation workshop was held for government agencies like the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, State governments, BEE and RTOs on November 8, at ICAT Manesar in the presence of minister Arvind Sawant. Along with the workshop, ICAT – Centre 2 facilities and seminar center (Test track and Administrative and Auditorium Block) located at IMT Manesar was inaugurated by Mr. Sawant in the presence of ICAT Director, Dinesh Tyagi.