Epsilon Carbon will process 1 million tonne per annum of dry nodules to create a production capacity of over 30,000 tonnes of an intermediate nickel-copper-cobalt matte product per annum
World’s first commercial polymetallic nodule processing plant is coming up as Epsilon Carbon as signed a joint venture agreement with US’ Nasdaq-listed The Metals Company Inc to invest ₹1,200 crore for it up in India.
The focus of this collaboration will be to produce cathode precursors with the lowest carbon footprint. These cathode precursors will be converted to cathode active materials at the proposed facility.
Epsilon Carbon will process 1 million tonne per annum of dry nodules to create a production capacity of over 30,000 tonnes of an intermediate nickel-copper-cobalt matte product per annum. This product is ideal to be used for active cathode material in lithium-ion batteries (LiBs).
Vikram Handa, Managing Director of Epsilon Carbon, said the company is scouting for land in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh to set up the plant and will provide the key raw material for battery cell manufacturers.
The recent production-linked incentive scheme for advanced cell chemistries proposed by the government necessitates a 60 per cent local content to qualify for the incentive.
Epsilon with its commercial production of synthetic graphite and a pipeline to produce 30,000 TPA of NMC and 20,000 TPA of LFP by 2025 will contribute significantly towards helping Indian Giga-factories of the future to meet their local-content requirement.
While the government’s PLI scheme provides incentive to the cell manufacturers, Handa said it has left of key raw material supplier. Having developed technology to tap an unconventional source of graphite using a waste stream from steel manufacturing, the company is growing anode materials’ business in India, including a new facility in Finland.
The focus is to expand into diverse cathode materials by 2024, he said. Gerard Barron, Chairman and CEO, TMC, said the government’s allocation last year of $600 million for India’s ‘Deep Ocean Mission and the development of a polymetallic nodule collection system shows the country’s commitment to this lower-ESG-impact potential source of critical metals.