Even as the adoption of lithium battery-powered electric vehicles is seen gaining traction, the India Lead Zinc Development Association (ILZDA), a trade body, is of the view that lithium cannot be a long-term solution for the country.
“Plenty of lead is available both as natural ore and recyclable from used batteries, whereas for lithium India has to be dependent on imports. Instead of oil imports, we will be depending on lithium for making lithium cells and lithium batteries to run our electric vehicles,” said L Pugazhenthy, Executive Director, ILZDA.
“Lithium cannot be a long-term solution because it is available in very few countries and they are going to dominate. Keeping in mind the increased prices and increase in royalty etc that’s not an appropriate solution for India and the whole world is going to face the risk of shortage as everyone is going to have electric vehicles,” Pugazhenthy told businessline on the sidelines of a seminar of Lead and Zinc Batteries – Green Recycling and Energy Storage.
“For India, an appropriate strategy would be to encourage more and more of indigenously available materials like lead and see that the country is self-dependent and that’s Atmanirbhar — our own material for our own livelihood. That should be the name of the game,” Pugazhenthy said.
Lead batteries are the mainstay of the energy storage, at present, as about 85 per cent of lead produced is used in batteries. The global consumption of lead is estimated at 14 million tonnes, while in India it is about 1.5 million tonnes.
Pugazhenty said the green recycling of lead batteries has picked up in the country, but still a long way to go as the informal sector still accounts for about 25-30 per cent.
RP Sharma, Secretary and Director General, Recycling and Environment Industry Association of India, said the focus of innovation in battery storage capacity is on reducing weight and that lead battery would be the future, except for transport sector.
Brian Wilson, Consultant, International Lead Assocation said the energy storage is the biggest growing market for lead.
Commodity analyst G Chandrashekar said the reopening of China is lifting the metals demand. Commenting on the outlook, he said zinc will be a supply-driven market, while the demand for lead is going to rise in the medium term due to new vehicles and replacement. The output of critical raw materials such as lithium, cobalt and titanium is on the rise in the past 10 years amidst heightened supply risk as the production is concentrated in a few countries,he said.
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