Mumbai-based firm Epsilon Carbon has set up India's first manufacturing facility in Karnataka to produce graphite anode materials for lithium-ion batteries (LiB), said report by Economics Times (ET). Notably, China supplies more than 80% of the global demand for graphite anodes, which is used in nearly all Li-ion batteries.

Graphite anodes comprise 25% volume in LiB cells and are the highest single material component in a cell’s chemistry. Epsilon Carbon has also set-up a target-oriented research and development laboratory to improve the quality of the material further.

The company has housed a new subsidiary, Epsilon Advanced Materials, to run the battery materials business and with this the company aims to become the preferred supplier of synthetic graphite material to cell manufacturers and energy storage device companies across the globe.

Synthetic graphite is used as the anode component in lithium-ion batteries. Although lithium is the best-known component of lithium-ion batteries (LiB), there is far more graphite than lithium in a battery.

Vikram Handa, managing director of Epsilon Carbon, said -

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the importance of a self-reliant nation. As India pushes an aggressive electric vehicle policy... our manufacturing leadership in graphite anodes will make India self-sufficient for a key raw material for LiB cells.

Established in August 2010, Epsilon Carbon already operates India’s first integrated carbon complex with a backward integration from raw coal tar to the finished product.

According to market report, the synthetic graphite market is expected to register a CAGR of around 4% (in terms of voulme) during the forecast period. Major factors driving the market studied are increasing demand for electric vehicles and high purity levels of synthetic graphite.

Epsilon Carbon, which is a leading manufacturer and supplier of Coal Tar Chemicals, plans to invest Rs 500 crore over the next five years in the facility that would produce 5,000 tonnes of anode material annually. It plans to triple this capacity to 15,000 tonnes in 2021 and to 50,000 tonnes/year by 2025, said the ET report.

China currently dominates synthetic graphite production and demand globally. Almost all stages of the lithium-ion battery manufacturing chain are focused on China and China is by far the largest and most rapidly growing market for lithium-ion batteries, which paves the way for the market growth of synthetic graphite.

Li-ion batteries, commonly used in handheld electronics, are composed of three main components -- a graphite anode, a cathode and electrolyte (lithium salt dissolved in organic solvent)-- the graphite anode has specific capacity of about 350 mAh/g.

Electric vehicles nowadays rely mostly on Li-ion batteries, earlier it was nickel-metal hydride batteries, which are heavy, bulky and have a specific energy that is too low, about 80 Wh/kg, for long-distance travel. LiB using graphite anodes exhibit a specific energy of more than 160 Wh/kg, double that of nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Lithium is added to graphite when charging and removed as the battery is used. Graphite anodes are used in nearly all Li-ion batteries, but recent research has sought to capitalize on a better anode solution—silicon. With a theoretical capacity of more than 10 times that of graphite, silicon anodes can at least double the capacity of graphite-anode batteries. However, it is this very ability to absorb lithium and expand during charging that is the problem -- The silicon breaks down quickly.


Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post
Like this content? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get latest updates.