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Friday, June 14, 2024

Battery materials supply chain: divergent perspectives from two key players

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In Short:

In India’s growing battery materials industry, Epsilon Advanced Materials and Himadri Speciality Chemical have opposite views on the evolving supply chain. Epsilon is investing big in graphite and cathode materials, while Himadri is investing in cathode and anode materials. Epsilon faces challenges with local battery manufacturers preferring cheaper Chinese materials. However, Himadri is optimistic about non-binding agreements and global demand for their products.

A Peek into the Battery Materials Industry

In the fledgling battery materials industry, two major players are showcasing diametrically opposite views on the evolving supply chain.

Key Players:

The push for battery manufacturing in India under the ACC PLI scheme is gaining momentum, with a focus on developing a domestic supply chain for crucial materials like anodes, cathodes, separators, and electrolytes. Epsilon Advanced Materials and Himadri Speciality Chemical are at the forefront of this transformation.

Epsilon Advanced Materials:

Epsilon Advanced Materials, a subsidiary of Epsilon Carbon Pvt Ltd, is making significant investments in Karnataka and the US for graphite production and cathode materials. This company has acquired a German R&D firm with 150 patents for LFP cathode technology.

Himadri Specialty Chemical:

Himadri Specialty has announced substantial investments in cathode and anode materials, with a stake in an Australian start-up focusing on cutting-edge silicon-based anode materials.

Brewing Business Environment in India

The outlook for electrode material manufacturers in India seems bleak according to Vikram Handa of Epsilon Advanced Materials. Indian battery manufacturers are hesitant to buy locally sourced raw materials, opting for cheaper imports from China.

Handa emphasizes the need for assured offtake agreements to attract investments in the anode and cathode manufacturing sector, similar to power purchase agreements for sustainable supply chain development.

The Contrary Perspective

Anurag Choudhary of Himadri Specialty Chemical holds an opposing viewpoint. He believes in the potential of non-binding agreements and sees a growing interest from global buyers in Indian materials.

Choudhary’s firm stance against long-term offtake agreements underscores a different approach to market dynamics. Himadri’s innovation in graphitic anode materials and LFP cathodes is set to revolutionize energy storage solutions.

With companies like HEG Ltd and Hindalco making strides in synthetic graphite and separator production, the Indian battery materials industry is poised for growth and innovation.

  • Also read: Epsilon’s $650-m graphite plant in US to be part-funded by offtaker

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