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E-waste recycling startups spot an opportunity in EV batteries

Root Communication Ltd > Blog  > E-waste recycling startups spot an opportunity in EV batteries
E-waste recycling startups spot an opportunity in EV batteries

E-waste recycling startups spot an opportunity in EV batteries

In an era where sustainability is at the forefront of global consciousness, the exponential rise of electric vehicles (EVs) has brought about a new challenge: the management of electric vehicle batteries once they reach the end of their life cycle. As the demand for EVs continues to surge, so does the need for effective solutions to handle the electronic waste (e-waste) generated by spent batteries. Amidst this challenge, a promising opportunity has emerged for e-waste recycling startups to innovate and lead the way in sustainable battery disposal and recycling.

EV market

The rapid growth of the EV market has led to a substantial increase in the production of lithium-ion batteries, the primary power source for electric vehicles. While these batteries are vital for reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to cleaner transportation options, they also pose environmental and logistical challenges when they reach their end-of-life stage. The components of lithium-ion batteries, including lithium, cobalt, nickel, and other rare metals, make them complex and costly to dispose of safely.

E-waste recycling startups spot an opportunity in EV batteries

Startups engaged in domestic e-waste recycling are preparing to take advantage of a promising new source of income: recycling lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles (EVs), which are beginning to near the end of their useful lives.

 

Goal of recyclers

 

The goal of recyclers is to get value out of these used EV batteries, which usually have a 5-8 year lifespan. The first wave of batteries from those early models are already approaching the end of their life cycle and starting to enter the recycling network. EVs started to gain popularity in India in 2017–18.

“Attero Recycling, an e-waste company founded in 2008 in Noida, is about to retire the first batch of electric vehicles sold in India, and some of the batteries have already started coming back to the market for recycling,” stated Nitin Gupta, co-founder and CEO.

 

 

The CEO of Exigo, ALN Rao, claims that another factor contributing to the spike is that a number of the electric two- and three-wheelers that were sold in the initial wave are starting to lose their power more quickly than anticipated, necessitating an early battery replacement.

“Many two-wheeler and e-rickshaw manufacturers were disposing of inexpensive batteries combined with inferior chips in the last two to three years due to the lack of sufficient enforcement of the FAME I, FAME II, and PLI regulations. A faster rate of deterioration was caused by the poor energy management and build quality. According to him, these are the majority of batteries that have been returned for recycling both recently and during the previous year.

 

The volume, earnings, and profits of Indian recyclers have already started to be impacted by the growing supply of end-of-life EV batteries. Li-ion batteries from EVs accounted for just 6–7% of BatX Energies’ total recycling volume in FY22. In FY23, a year later, this section has nearly increased to approximately 15%. The estimated capacity of EV batteries is 56% of BatX’s recycling volumes at the end of FY24.

 

TheKredible’s data indicates that the tendency is evident among the leading companies in the sector. Presently, 10% of Attero’s recycling volumes come from EV end-of-life batteries; this percentage is predicted to increase by the end of FY24 as more batteries approach the end of their useful lives. More than half of Lohum Cleantech’s income comes from the EV battery recycling vertical, which serves both domestic and foreign markets. Lohum Cleantech is a very new firm.

 

The vertical’s critical importance has been validated by the financials. After registering losses the year before, BatX earned a profit in FY23 with a Rs 12-lakh profit as company revenues increased by more than four times to Rs 22 crore. With earnings of Rs 9 crore, Lohum’s top line nearly doubled to Rs 308 crore. In FY23, Attero Recycling’s sales climbed by 35% to Rs 289 crore, while its earnings decreased to ~21 crore, presumably as a result of higher investments.

 

Analysts and experts peg the recycling opportunity as immense in the coming years. A 2022 Niti Aayog report estimated that India’s cumulative potential for Li-ion batteries across sectors will be around 600 GWh between 2022 and 2030. Of this, an estimated 128 GWh will be available for recycling by 2030, with 46% expected to come from the EV segment alone.

 

With Europe and other major auto markets pushing EV adoption as well, Indian recyclers have a bright future ahead of them as they strive to increase their global footprint. Europe just declared that new gasoline and diesel vehicle sales would be prohibited beginning in 2035. Within the next 10 to 30 years, more than 20 nations have pledged to phase out the sale of vehicles using internal combustion engines (ICEs).

“Older EV batteries coming back as well as more manufacturing waste available for recycling are driving a lot of volume growth in the recycling markets internationally,” Gupta stated.

He went on to say that Attero has expedited its plans for global expansion, intending to launch operations in both the US and Europe this year. In the upcoming years, the company plans to distribute its 300,000 metric tonnes of total planned annual capacity equally among its sites in the US, Europe, and India.

By the end of 2024, BatX plans to have more factories operating in the US and Malaysia as part of its global expansion. Over the past year, Lohum has already grown to the US, the UAE, and Europe, and new global facilities are presently being built.

E-waste recycling startups spot an opportunity in EV batteries

In summary, the rapid growth of electric vehicles (EVs) has led to an increase in spent lithium-ion batteries, posing a challenge for recycling. However, this challenge presents an opportunity for e-waste recycling startups to innovate. Indian companies like Attero Recycling and Lohum Cleantech are already profiting from EV battery recycling. Analysts foresee substantial growth in this sector, especially with the global push for EV adoption. Companies are expanding internationally, positioning themselves to meet the rising demand for battery recycling services. Overall, the rise of EVs creates both challenges and opportunities, with recycling startups playing a pivotal role in promoting sustainability in electric mobility.

 

 

Awais khan
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