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This startup has developed environment-friendly process to extract and recycle lithium from batteries

Sumit Vishwakarma
New Update
Minimines founders

The challenge of making electric vehicles (EVs) more accessible and affordable in India is twofold. Firstly, the high cost of EVs, primarily driven by the expensive lithium-ion batteries that power them, puts these vehicles out of reach for many potential buyers.

The batteries alone can account for up to 40% of an EV's total cost, making EVs significantly more expensive than their internal combustion engine counterparts. This price disparity is exacerbated by India's reliance on importing lithium-ion cells from countries like China and South Korea, highlighting the urgent need for a localized solution to bring down costs. Secondly, the issue of recycling lithium-ion batteries presents an environmental and logistical challenge.

The prevalent methods of disposal, which often involve incineration or landfill, harm the environment and squander valuable resources that could be reclaimed. Traditional recycling techniques fall short in efficiently recovering pure metals and contribute to CO2 emissions, undermining the environmental benefits EVs are supposed to offer.

Addressing these challenges requires innovative approaches to both reduce the cost of EVs and improve the recycling of lithium-ion batteries. A sustainable, domestic production of lithium-ion cells could significantly lower the price of EVs, making them a more attractive option for consumers.


Additionally, developing an efficient, eco-friendly recycling process for lithium-ion batteries could help reclaim precious metals like lithium, reducing dependency on imports and minimizing environmental impact.

This is where startups like Minimines come into play, proposing solutions that could revolutionize the EV market by making it both more affordable and sustainable.

By focusing on these critical areas, Minimines aims to contribute to India's transition to electric mobility, ensuring that EVs are not only beneficial for the environment but also accessible to a broader segment of the population.

Who are the founders?

Arvind Bhardwaj and Anupam Kumar are the co-founders of Minimines.

Arvind Bhardwaj earned a dual degree in B.Tech and M.Tech in Nanotechnology. His career began with a research internship in the Department of Physics at the University of Rajasthan. In 2015, he was a project trainee at CSIR - National Chemical Laboratory, and by 2016, he became a Research Assistant at Manipal University Jaipur.

In 2017, Arvind joined Log 9 Materials as a research associate and was later promoted to AVP of R&D. In 2019, he co-founded Nanomatrix Materials, where he focused on research and product development. In 2021, he co-founded Minimines with Anupam Kumar and took on the role of CTO.

Anupam Kumar graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering, specializing in Plastics and Polymers. His early experience includes being a team member of AIESEC in 2014 and working as a vocational trainee at SAIL (Steel Authority of India Limited) the same year.

In 2015, he completed an internship at ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited) and a position as a research assistant at BARC later that year. In 2017, Anupam worked as a research associate at Log 9 Materials, where he was eventually promoted to Business Development Manager.

By 2019, he had become the Vice President of Product Development at Sorbene. In 2021, alongside co-founding Nanomatrix Materials, he also co-founded Minimines with Arvind Bhardwaj, serving as the CEO.

What is Minimines?

Minimines emerges as a beacon of innovation in the cleantech sector, focusing on the pressing issue of high electric vehicle (EV) costs and environmental sustainability.

Based in Bengaluru, this startup has carved a niche by developing a groundbreaking solution to reduce the price of EVs, making them more accessible to the average consumer. 

The heart of the problem lies in the battery pack, particularly the lithium-ion cells, which are a significant cost factor for EVs. Minimines aims to tackle this challenge head-on, offering a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to the current reliance on imported lithium-ion cells.

How it started?

Founded in 2021 by Anupam Kumar and Arvind Bhardwaj, Minimines was born out of a vision to address the dual challenges of environmental sustainability and the affordability of EVs.

Recognizing the bottleneck created by the high cost of lithium-ion batteries and the environmental issues associated with their disposal, Kumar and Bhardwaj set out to create a solution that not only makes EVs cheaper but also contributes positively to the environment. Their journey was inspired by the realization that a significant amount of lithium-ion waste, which could be recycled and reused, was being discarded in landfills or incinerated.

What does Minimines do?

Minimines offers a revolutionary approach to recycling lithium-ion batteries and other electronic waste, employing a proprietary hybrid-hydrometallurgy process. This process enables the efficient extraction of lithium and other precious metals with a high purity level without generating water, residual, or carbon dioxide waste.

By doing so, The startup not only addresses the cost barrier associated with EV batteries but also offers an environmentally friendly recycling solution.

The startup's hybrid hydrometallurgy process is a game-changer, consisting of three key stages: extraction, separation, and beneficiation. Initially, metal components from batteries or electronic devices are extracted.

Then, through a process that leverages varying solubility of metal salts, lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese are separated and extracted. Finally, a range of purification processes is applied to concentrate these valuable elements. The innovative process ensures that there is no liquid or solid waste, with water being reused, making the entire operation environmentally sustainable.

What technology does it use?

Minimines utilizes a cutting-edge hybrid-hydrometallurgy technology that sets it apart from conventional recycling methods. This technology is capable of achieving nearly 96% purity in extracting lithium and precious metals in their elemental states.

The process is designed to be completely environment-friendly, aligning with global sustainability goals and contributing to the reduction of electronic waste.

Business model

The business model of Minimines is multifaceted, with commodity sales being its primary revenue stream. This involves selling the recovered elements to EV battery manufacturers and other industries.

Additionally, the startup generates revenue through licensing its proprietary technology and selling carbon credits, thanks to its non-polluting recycling process. This innovative approach not only provides a sustainable solution to battery recycling but also opens up new revenue streams for the company.

Partnerships and funding 

Minimines has garnered support and recognition from notable entities, including a significant grant from Oil India Ltd and certification from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). These endorsements validate the startup's technology and approach, paving the way for future partnerships and funding opportunities. The startup is poised for growth, with plans to raise additional funding to scale its operations and expand its impact.

Future plans

Looking ahead, Minimines plans to expand its technology to set up a full-scale facility, further revolutionizing the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and contributing to the sustainability of the EV industry.

The startup aims to partner with manufacturers and producers to fulfil their Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), ensuring the lifecycle management of products and their recycling.