Govt will impose a liability on producers to collect used batteries that reach end of life.
NEW DELHI: India is in the process of framing a recycling policy for lithium-ion batteries being used in electric vehicles and offer tax sops to recycling entities while imposing a liability on producers to collect used batteries that achieve end of life under the extended producer responsibility (EPR) norms.
“It (proposed policy) will have incentives for companies setting up recycling facilities and make it incumbent on producers to collect used batteries,” a senior government official told ET on condition of anonymity.
An inter-ministerial steering committee on transformative mobility had proposed that the environment, forest and climate change ministry prepare a recycling policy, along with extended producer responsibility, for batteries and electric vehicles, said the official.
Valuable materials in each of these batteries, including aluminium, cobalt, nickel and lithium are finite and India largely depends on import for these products. “Hence, the government is keen that they are recovered and recycled when these batteries reach end of life to optimise their use,” said the official.
The move has been triggered by the government’s massive push to electric vehicles under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020.
It is projected that 6-7 million electric vehicles will run on Indian roads by 2020, and 30% of India’s entire fleet will be electric by 2030.
EPR means responsibility of any producer of Li-ion batteries to ensure environmentally sound management of these batteries, either through a take-back system, where endusers are incentivised to return their battery for a lump sum amount, or exchange them for new batteries and setting up of collection centres for such batteries from where they can be recycled.
As per JMK Research, the Li-ion battery market in India is expected to increase to about 132 GWh by 2030, from 2.9 GWh in 2018, at a compound annual growth rate of 35.5%. This implies a recycling market of 22-23 GWh or $1,000 million by 2030, which, if left untreated, would lead to health and environmental hazards.
India’s Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules 2001, under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 are limited to channelising spent lead-acid batteries for their environmentally sound management. Despite the increase in the use of Li-ion batteries over the decade, the rules and the subsequent amendments do not cover recycling of Li-ion batteries. The Central Pollution Control Board had acknowledged this lacuna in its 2016 compliance report on the implementation of the rules.