Epsilon Carbon plans expansion into Europe, US markets

Epsilon Carbon Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India, is looking to expand into the European and American markets by supplying gigafactories with locally-sourced anode material, Thehindubusinessline.com reports.

To start with, the company has signed an MoU with Beowulf Mining plc, London, United Kingdom, to establish a joint venture company in Finland. According to the agreement, Epsilon and Beowulf will jointly develop a strategic processing hub for both natural flake and recycled graphite in Finland.

“We are aiming to finish our feasibility report by this year-end,” said Vikram Handa, Managing Director of Epsilon Carbon Pvt Ltd. “After which we will set up a facility generating 10,000 tonnes of anode material every year.”

This comes at a time when construction of gigafactories is seeing a boom globally. Car OEMs have commenced tying up with battery manufacturers such as Samsung and LG, thus starting the process of establishing gigafactories across the US and Europe. With the demand for responsible sourcing, reduced carbon footprint seeing an uptick amongst consumers.

Local sourcing

Along with new sustainable regulation by governments in this region, gigafactories are looking to localise sourcing of their raw materials. “Previously procurement of anode material was done through China, who processed graphite flake material coming out of Africa in China. This is neither environmentally conscious or sustainable. We have the technology for natural graphite processing through which we can localise the process in Europe,” Handa said.

Epsilon’s collaboration with Beowulf, which is a natural graphite mine owner and operator, intends to supply anode material locally.

The Government of India’s endeavours to advance policy for advanced battery tech has also generated interest amongst companies seeking to bid in the coming PLI scheme. According to Handa, the companies planning to bid for the scheme are taking interest in sourcing anode material through Epsilon. “They are trying to validate through their technology suppliers whether this will make them more localised,” Handa said. Yet, at the moment Epsilon remains mostly export oriented. By 2025, Epsilon is predicting production of 35,000 tonnes of anode material out of which 5-10,000 tonnes will be India demand according to Handa.

“Once some EV capacity comes to India, then demand will grow exponentially,” said Handa. At the moment EV adoption is mostly being done in the two-wheeler and three-wheeler segment in India, encouraging small to medium battery pack manufacturers to set up shop domestically.

“At the moment these battery pack manufacturers are importing cells. But the mere existence of this demand validates the need to set up gigafactories in India” Handa said.

Handa encouraged more players to enter the raw material processing segment for gigafactories in India. For graphite, as well as other complementary materials such as silicon, manganese etc. “For now, you will have to be export oriented. However, the EV space has 10x growth potential in the coming years. By the time demand sees an uptick in India, you will be well established with a first mover advantage.”

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