Global transition towards sustainable mobility, led by Indian companies

Global-transition-towards-sustainable-mobility

The global transition towards sustainable transportation has become a driving force in the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. This move is crucial for achieving worldwide decarbonization goals, with electric vehicles (EVs) playing a pivotal role. At the heart of this transformation are lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), which have come to the forefront as key enablers of a cleaner and more sustainable future.

In 2021, LIBs dominated the electrochemical energy storage sector, claiming an impressive 90.9% of the global market share. Their superiority in terms of energy density, extended lifespan, and enhanced electrical and chemical characteristics have made them the preferred choice, surpassing conventional alternatives like lead-acid batteries. However, as the electric mobility sector expands, concerns have arisen regarding the sustainability and security of raw mineral supply. Elements such as lithium (Li) and cobalt (Co), which are vital for LIB production, have become central to this conversation. Additionally, the improper disposal of spent LIBs poses environmental and health risks, underlining the urgency for efficient recycling.

The growing electric mobility market is driving a surge in demand for batteries, leading to increased requirements for primary raw materials such as lithium, graphite, nickel, manganese, and cobalt. However, despite the widespread adoption of LIBs, these raw materials remain concentrated in a few countries, emphasizing the need for India to secure its raw material independence, especially in the face of geopolitical uncertainties.

Bridging the Gap Between Aspiration and Reality

A potential solution to this challenge lies in the recycling of valuable materials within discarded LIBs. By adhering to recycling targets set by Indian regulatory bodies, up to 92% of material loss for lithium, cobalt, and nickel can be averted based on average battery composition. Recycling efforts have the potential to provide significant percentages of the lithium, nickel, and cobalt required for LIB production in India. However, actual statistics reveal a gap between aspiration and reality, with alarmingly low rates of used LIB collection and recycling. India’s proactive approach in establishing stringent recycling regulations can bridge this gap, aligning the industry with sustainable practices.

As the average lifespan of LIBs spans around 8 to 10 years, the accumulation of used batteries is inevitable, emphasizing the role of recycling in managing this growing challenge. Recycling is more than an environmental imperative; it is a strategic move that safeguards resource security, mitigates pollution, and fortifies supply chain resilience.

India, a nation poised for monumental growth, holds a remarkable opportunity to shine on the global stage by attracting substantial investments in battery recycling. The cumulative potential for reusing batteries paints a promising picture, with an estimated volume of 49 GWh by 2030.

India’s future envisions a collective capacity of approximately 600 GWh of lithium-ion batteries across various sectors by 2030. A significant portion, around 128 GWh, is projected to undergo recycling, with nearly 59 GWh sourced from the Electric Vehicle (EV) sector. This trajectory is nothing short of remarkable and has the potential to make India a global leader in battery recycling.

Pioneering the Transformation: Key Drivers

India’s journey towards battery recycling and reuse is driven by several key factors:

  • Raw Material Availability: With the growing demand for batteries, the need for raw materials like cobalt, lithium, and copper is set to rise exponentially.
  • Challenges for Recyclers: Recycling lithium-ion batteries is challenging due to their corrosive, inflammable, toxic, and explosive nature. Informal collection methods pose hurdles, necessitating established protocols.
  • Manufacturer Responsibility: Transparency in battery system blueprints, disassembly procedures, and essential cautionary notes is crucial for efficient material retrieval and safety.

Nurturing the Circular Dream: India’s Role

India’s waste management policy draft takes a pivotal stance on battery recycling, but it’s essential to focus on battery reuse, an often-overlooked facet that holds paramount significance in forging a true circular economy. The unique battery chemistry in use plays a pivotal role in harnessing the full economic potential of battery recycling, requiring inventive solutions that make recycling not only environmentally sound but also economically viable.

The great EV push for recycling

Central Pollution control board’s EPR portal for Battery waste management saw an encouraging response from EV manufacturers. Over 59 EV manufacturers, including MG Motor, Ola Electric, Ather Energy, Tata Motors, and Mahindra & Mahindra, have signed up to recycle lithium-ion battery waste.

A few other notable initiatives from organizations in India include:

  • Tata Motors: Leading Indian automaker, offering electric variants of popular models, including the Tata Nexon EV, with a commitment to expanding the electric vehicle lineup.
  • Revolt Motors: An Indian electric motorcycle manufacturer, introduces the Revolt RV400 and RV300, featuring swappable batteries,
  • Mahindra Electric: A subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra, manufactures electric vehicles such as the eVerito, Treo, and e-Alfa Mini three-wheelers.
  • Hero Electric: A major Indian electric scooter maker, offers models like Optima, Flash, and Photon, positioning itself as a leading electric two-wheeler manufacturer in India.
  • Okinawa Autotech: An Indian electric scooter manufacturer known for its innovative and eco-friendly electric two-wheelers, contributing to sustainable transportation.
  • Ampere Electric Vehicles: Specializes in affordable electric scooters and e-bikes. Their eco-friendly vehicles offer sustainable mobility solutions with a focus on reliability and affordability.

More indian Companies

  • Dabur: Plans to introduce 100 EVs in its supply chain to achieve ‘net zero’ operations by 2045.
  • Ola Electric: Ride-hailing giant Ola’s foray into electric scooters, aiming to revolutionize urban mobility with affordable and eco-friendly options.
  • Emflux Motors: Founded in 2016, Emflux Motors aims to revolutionize transportation through electric technology. Their mission is to empower 10 million electric two-wheelers in India by 2027, focusing on building a strong brand and creating an ecosystem of partner OEMs.
  • GoZero Mobility, a British electric bike and active wear manufacturer, aims to promote a healthy lifestyle. It rapidly became the 2nd largest eBike player in India within a year of entering the market in 2019.
  • Founded in 2016, Ultraviolette Automotive is a pioneer in sustainable mobility and energy infrastructure, focusing on high-performance electric vehicles and future-ready energy solutions.
  • Yulu is a tech-based urban mobility platform that facilitates integrated, sustainable mobility by offering Micro Mobility Vehicles (MMVs) through a user-friendly app, enhancing seamless first and last-mile connections.
  • BluSmart Mobility, founded in 2019, is an Indian ride-sharing company based in Gurugram. Their 2022 fleet features electric vehicles like Mahindra, Tata, Hyundai, and MG models.

In a nutshell

Recycling lithium-ion batteries is a sustainable approach to conserve resources, reduce environmental harm, and minimize e-waste. As recycling technologies advance, they play a key role in extending battery lifecycles and reducing their environmental impact. By supporting responsible choices and recycling efforts, we can contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable planet. Mini Mines is dedicated to combating climate change through innovative cleantech solutions, earning carbon credits while extracting resources sustainably and reducing emissions for a greener future.

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