According to Rajat Verma, Founder & CEO, Lohum, India can become a global leader in the lithium supply chain without even producing it and instead recycling it.
On February 12, the Geological Survey of India confirmed that approximately 5.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves have been discovered lying under the earth in Raesi district of Jammu and Kashmir. Since then, many have celebrated the discovery as a game changer in the country’s clean-energy mission of having more EVs on the road. On the other hand, the prospect of mining this lithium has sparked environmental concerns for the Himalayan belt and even instigated threats from a terror group in the region. However, while this lithium can certainly change India’s fate, it is also anticipated to lead to the concern of battery waste management. Concerns have also been raised that not having a proper battery waste mangement policy/process might lead to India becoming a lithium waste dump.
By 2030, India is expected to have 13.92 lakh EVs on the roads and in order to have a wholesome EV manufacturing ecosystem by that time, the country needs to have a structured and coherent way to process the batteries that have run out of use. TOI Auto recently spoke to Rajat Verma, Founder & CEO, Lohum, a producer of lithium-ion battery raw materials through recycling, repurposing and low carbon refining. We first asked Verma to address the seemingly inevitable issue of EV battery waste and what can be done to avoid a scenario where India could become a battery waste dump.
Right off the bat, Verma busted the myth by saying, “Number one, I would refrain from using the word ‘dump’ because used lithium-ion batteries are a wonderful resource. They are absolute alternatives to the ores that are being dug out of the earth.” Verma clarified by stating that the beauty of a lithium ion battery is that once the lithium is extracted from the ground, it can be used infinitely. It can even be recycled infinitely, so it is a matter of extracting it from the ground and using it forever On top of it, if it is there in the country and we do not allow our used batteries to escape, then we would have secured the nation’s energy entirely.
“At some point in time, on a steady scale, when we start producing 10 million EVs every year and we are recycling the same number of vehicles, your entire battery will be made from recycled material. That is the ideal situation all countries want to get to. If we achieve that, we would have done two things, first securing our energy and second we would have reduced the carbon footprint substantially as recycling is a much less expensive activity than extracting from a mine.” Verma told TOI Auto.
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