Electric Vehicles are frequently seen as the main platform for decarbonizing road transport. But one of the main issues is how to deal with electric vehicle recycling or end-of-life options. While there are many startups in the new product sector, the recycling sector hasn't gained much traction. Countering this challenge, Attero Recycling is placing its biggest wager on precisely this market.
The company's ability to recycle 3,500 tonnes at the moment is being increased to 6,000 tonnes annually. Additionally, it recently put into operation a new plant in Telangana, increasing its capacity there by 12,000 to 13,000 tonnes. Millions of lithium-ion batteries must be recycled properly to avoid a large amount of hazardous waste being discarded in an untreated way, therefore, this still represents a tiny portion of the enormous worldwide demands.
"The majority of our clients are located outside of India. Therefore, cobalt, lithium graphite, and nickel have applications besides batteries. Nickel has many uses, graphite is used in India, cobalt is used in the steel industry and speciality chemical industries, and lithium carbonate is used in the pharmaceutical industry and speciality chemical industries, nickel has multiple uses, and there are other prior factors as well, especially in the form of graphite anodes and electrodes”, Nitin Gupta, CEO & Co-Founder of Attero Recycling stated.
Regarding investment, Gupta emphasised that Attero is a successful business that is on course to generate revenues of Rs 600 crore and continue to expand. "We are always attempting to determine the optimum route of capital allocation for the business and the project. We constantly raise both debt and equity and at the moment we are also in the process of finalising an equity round. However, he remained mum on the precise figure.
Expansion and Poland plant
The two- and three-wheeler sectors now account for the majority of electric vehicle sales in India, but the four-wheeler segment is anticipated to catch up quickly. Thanks to a flurry of launches and new electric versions or mass-market model releases by Indian and international OEMs. The volume of investments made by both established and emerging competitors in the lithium-ion battery market also implies that Attero Recycling won't have to rely only on foreign sourcing.
According to Gupta, his business uses technology which is modular and would establish at least 5 facilities in India over the next three years. He said, "Attero has great intentions for its Polish factory. We have a fully-owned subsidiary in Europe. Environmental permit applications are now being processed, and the plant's location has been decided. We anticipate starting up the Polish factory this year.
The majority of Indian businesses now import lithium-ion cells since there are no significant producers in India. However, as players like Exide, Amara Raja Group, Tata Group, Log9 Materials, Godi Energy, and Ola Electric, among others are planning to set up their plants, their activity has recently increased.
This indicates that once lithium-ion cell production begins in India, there will also be a significant amount of trash, which will serve as a new supply source for Attero Recycling. Gupta said, "There is no Indian business involved in cell production, but we are in contact with all the Indian players.
The cost of lithium is another factor that has not decreased as anticipated. According to Gupta, if one looks at the price of lithium, it has climbed more than ten times and decreased by 10% in recent months. "There is no equivalent. More accurately, it's an increase of 1,000% and a fall of 10%. Currently, 99 per cent of the materials can be recovered by Attero Recycling, and even the remaining 1 per cent is recovered over time.
"Over the next three years, we want to increase our recycling output to the point where it can fulfil at least 10% of the global demand for cobalt, lithium, and graphite. Due to the fact that mining is a very dangerous industry everywhere in the world, we have had a huge influence in terms of sustainability. The graphite we generate at Attero has a 20 times smaller carbon footprint than graphite originating from China from the standpoint of carbon footprint reduction or carbon neutrality, said Gupta.