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regular-article-logo Friday, 23 February 2024

Himadri Speciality Chemicals to set up lithium-ion battery manufacturing unit in Odisha

The company, which is based in Calcutta, will make cathode active material — the most valuable component inside a lithium ion battery cell — and supply it to the cell manufacturers

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 07.12.23, 11:59 AM
Anurag Choudhary, MD & CEO of Himadri

Anurag Choudhary, MD & CEO of Himadri Sourced by the Telegraph

Himadri Speciality Chemicals Ltd will set up a lithium-ion battery component manufacturing plant in Odisha, calling for an investment of Rs 4,800 crore over the next five years.

The company, which is based in Calcutta, will make cathode active material — the most valuable component inside a lithium ion battery cell — and supply it to the cell manufacturers.

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In the first phase, it will set up a 40,000-tonne unit, entailing an investment of Rs 1,125 crore and production will start from the second half of 2026. Himadri, which hopes to be debt free and cash flow positive by March, will arrange the fund through internal accruals and some amount of debt.

“There are many companies setting up lithium cell production facilities in India. At present, the components of cells are being imported. Himadri plans to manufacture some of the components of the LiB and the lithium iron phosphate active cathode material plant in Odisha is the first step in that direction,” Anurag Choudhary, managing director & CEO of Himadri, said.

The company is hoping that demand from electric vehicles and stationery storage, in India and abroad, would compound in the next seven years. LiB demand is expected to grow by about 27 per cent annually to reach about 4,700 GWh by 2030, while cathode material demand will increase to 9.4 million tonnes by 2030 to meet the required global production of LiB cells, according to an estimate shared by Himadri to investors.

The domestic demand for cathode material is likely to be 311,000 tonnes by 2030 on a base case and 499,000 tonnes on a promising scenario.

There are five major parts of an LiB, namely cathode, anode, electrolyte, separator, battery management system, casing. There are two prominent chemistries to make cathode: LFP (lithium iron phosphate) and NMC (nickel, manganese and cobalt).

Himadri says it would go with LFP as that would mean not depending on rare earth materials such as cobalt and nickel. However, it would still have to depend on a handful of countries to procure lithium carbonate, used in cathode.

There are five major producers of lithium concentrates in the world — China, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Australia. Choudhury said Himadri plans to manufacture lithium carbonate in India from lithium concentrate in the second phase. “We are tying up with major producers of lithium,” he said.

The company, which acquired Birla Tyres in partnership with Dalmia Bharat, claims that it has developed technology in-house and it neither requires technology nor strategic tie-up going forward.

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