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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

IT Ministry seeks bids from cos to help recycle, refurbish end-of-life lithium-ion batteries, PCBs

The aim of the project is to contain the import of raw materials used for the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries and PCB, as well as contain the e-waste generated by electronics gadgets using these components.

Written by Aashish Aryan | New Delhi | September 7, 2020 12:45:38 am
At present, the government does not have any facility for processing, recycling, or refurbishing of end-of-life lithium-ion batteries or PCBs. (File)

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has floated an expression of interest (EoI) to invite companies that can assist in recycling and refurbishing of end-of-life lithium-ion batteries as well as printed circuit boards (PCBs), according to documents seen by The Indian Express.

The project, to be executed by the Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET), will also aim at extraction of precious metals such as cobalt, nickel, lithium, copper, aluminium, gold, and platinum from such end-of-life lithium-ion batteries or PCBs, according to the documents.

“Another objective of the project is to encourage establishment of start-ups to collaborate/partner C-MET by getting trained in different aspects of the process involved in E-waste management and to commence their own industries in the relevant areas, after they become strong enough to commence their own facilities,” the EoI document said.

The aim of the project is to contain the import of raw materials used for the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries and PCB, as well as contain the e-waste generated by electronics gadgets using these components. At present, the government does not have any facility for processing, recycling, or refurbishing of end-of-life lithium-ion batteries or printed circuit boards.

The companies selected for the processing of lithium-ion batteries will be expected to set up the necessary infrastructure for scaling up the technology once it has been tested and verified in

C-MET labs, according to the offer terms of the EoI.

Apart from this, C-MET has also reached out to public as well as private sector companies for collaborations as “second co-funding industrial partner” to support the development of lithium-ion as well as sodium-ion batteries.

“The co-funding party will get the proportionate share as per funding ratio in the revenue generated from know-how and IPR generated from collaboration activity,” another offer document floated by C-MET read.

For PCB, the C-MET has sought collaborations from companies and startups which can set up gas fired tilting rotary furnace for pyrolytic decomposition so that precious metals such as copper and others could be recovered. Pyrolytic decomposition is the thermal decomposition of materials at elevated temperatures in an inert atmosphere.

“The system should be robust enough to withstand the various working conditions and operating temperatures. The furnace should be able to use for continuous operations on commercial scale for smelting of various types of shredded PCBs,” the EoI read.

India produced 2.6 kg e-waste per capita in 2019, while it has around 312 authorised e-waste recyclers, according to the latest data from Global E-Waste Monitor, released in July 2020.

“Legislation in India has been a driver for the setting up of formal recycling facilities, and there are 312 authorised recyclers in India, with the capacity for treating approximately 800 kt (kilo tons) annually. However, formal recycling capacity remains underutilised, as the large majority of the waste is still handled by the informal sector,” the agency said.

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