Lohum To Expand Operations in India, Overseas

Srinjoy Bal
03 Dec 2022
10:00 AM
2 Min Read

Company sees huge growth opportunities in lithium battery recycling beyond India in the US, Europe and ASEAN


Lohum Cleantech, the lithium-ion battery lifecycle management company, plans to commission its fourth facility in Noida, Uttar Pradesh by the second half of calendar 2023.

Rajat Verma, founder and CEO, told Mobility Outlook that it would be three times the size of the company's existing plants in Noida comprising two for dismantling and reassembly and the third for recycling.

He added that the fourth facility would combine all three processes with an installed capacity of 900 megawatts for dismantling and reassembly and 30,000 tonnes for recycling. The plant is part of an INR 150 crore outlay which will happen in a phased manner.

Verma said the next phase of expansion will kick off in the south. “We are targeting this part of the country since many battery manufacturing facilities are coming up there and it makes sense to be nearby,” he added. Work will begin in the second half of CY23 and will involve raising funds.

Lohum had earlier announced its intent to set up a wholly-owned plant in the US where it will operate some processes with partners taking up the balance responsibility. This facility will be commissioned post-2023.

The growth model overseas will be a mix of capacity expansion and buyouts. “Wherever we believe we can build the team organically, we will do so; else, we are open to possible acquisitions or partnerships with other entities with a global presence,” said Verma.

New Global Markets

Lohum is eyeing Europe, Korea and Southeast Asia as part of the mid to long term plans. “We are already working with some partners in Europe and will announce something very soon,” he added.

The company recycles and refines used batteries to produce precursor materials. It also  uses a bunch of patented technologies for a ‘three-way approach to critical useful life’. These are used to make different chemical compounds with lithium, cobalt, nickel etc.

Here, Lohum has three models which include physics-based modelling, empirical modelling and data science-based modelling to determine the utility of a used battery. Typically, this involves measuring data points when a battery is collected.

Rajat Verma

Lohum then intends to take the next step by producing cathode active materials in the future, said Verma while indicating that it is looking at a timeline of six months to work on the new process. However, it will steer clear of cell manufacturing.

Immense Opportunity

According to him, Lohum collects and recycles nearly 10 megawatts of EV batteries every month while on the consumer electronic side, this is almost 14 tonnes of batteries in the same time period.

Verma said he was optimistic about the Centre’s PLI scheme where the 50 gigawatt capacity will be surpassed as more batteries will be used in the new era of mobility. Consequently, the “the volume of material that will come back into the recycling markets will be huge”.

The company believes it will need around 10 times its current capacity to gear up for the task ahead. “We believe that raw materials play a very important role in the entire ecosystem. More than anything else, it provides India an opportunity to play a big role globally by leveraging its talent pool,” he added.

Once its global base is in place, Lohum hopes to produce around 50,000 tonnes translating into roughly 10 gigawatt hours of material production annually over the next five years. It will also stick to lithium-based and is “not that bullish” on sodium based chemistries for now.

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