Minimines joins the ACT For Environment portfolio

As the Indian EV market booms, there is significant demand for the domestic production of Lithium-ion batteries – as is evidenced by the government of India’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme which has a budgetary outlay of INR 18000 Crores for advanced battery chemistries. With industry players like Reliance and Ola Electric poised to set up their own Lithium-ion battery plants by 2025, there is a unique opportunity for recycled rare metals as production input which can reduce India’s dependence on the import of mined metals and prevent the depletion of scarce resources caused by mining. At the same time, there is also a need for sustainable recycling of end-of-life Li-ion batteries as India will need to recycle an estimated 150 kilo tons of Lithium-ion battery waste by 2030, whereas our current recycling capacity is less than 2000 tons a year.

Founded in 2021, Minimines is a clean-tech company whose innovative solution has the potential to address both ends of the value chain to enable true circularity. They have developed a unique low-cost and low-emissions hybrid hydrometallurgy process to recycle used Lithium-ion batteries and extract rare metals like Lithium, Manganese, Cobalt and Nickel, which can be used in the domestic production of fresh Lithium-ion batteries in India.

Currently, the most common battery recycling methods are pyrometallurgy and traditional solvent-based hydrometallurgy that face significant environmental challenges like high energy requirements, usage of large quantities of water, high carbon emissions and the need for expensive organic solvents that generate toxic waste. In stark contrast, Minimines’s proprietary technology is 75% more energy efficient and 95% more water efficient than prevalent recycling methods along with having the benefit of zero direct emissions. Furthermore, they are able to recover all the rare metals with more than 96% efficiency and at 99% purity – the efficacy of their solution has been validated at lab scale.

ACT for Environment’s support will enable Minimines to accelerate scale of production by transitioning from their current batch scale unit to a continuous process unit at 1.5 ton / month capacity. This will ensure mission-critical process efficiencies that will accelerate their go-to-market plan and drive adoption by facilitating commercial pilots within the battery manufacturing space.

We’re excited to be a partner to Minimines and support them in their goal of enabling sustainable battery recycling while contributing towards India’s journey of becoming self – reliant in the Lithium-ion battery manufacturing space!

ACT For Environment welcomes Solinas Integrity to its portfolio

India faces a unique challenge in managing its sewer pipelines as it grapples with an ageing infrastructure that has been resulting in substantial economic and human losses. A staggering 79% of our water supply is rendered non-potable due to water losses during distribution or contamination. Traditionally, municipalities have employed manual labour for pipeline inspection and desludging – however a strategic shift in the government’s initiatives, marked by the prohibition of manual scavenging through the PEMSR Act 2013 and increased budgets for sanitation programs, signals a growing use-case for mechanical solutions that can replace the need for manual labour.

In 2018, Solinas Integrity emerged to address these challenges, embarking on a journey marked by the development and deployment of innovative solutions. Their flagship products, Endobot and HomoSEP, have proven instrumental in inspecting water lines and desludging manholes/septic tanks respectively and have gained significant traction with municipal corporations and O&Ms alike.

Solinas now aspires to develop a unique robotic solution that can enable both inspection and cleaning of sewer lines >600mm. Equipped with the same PTZ camera and sonar sensor as the Endobot, the Rehabilitation Bot (R-Bot) will also have an agitator and suction system that can not only diagnose leaks and blockages in sewer pipes but also efficiently de-sludge and remove contaminants. Once deployed, it has the potential to be 5x more efficient and 3.5x more cost-effective than manual cleaning methods.

Furthermore, the R-Bot will also be integrated with Swasth, their proprietary AI platform, to facilitate real-time predictive analytics on defects, blockages and leaks along with pipeline health through an AI integration in the robot sensor.

ACT for Environment’s grant support will play a catalytic role in accelerating the development and deployment of the R-Bot with municipalities and O&M players alike. We are thrilled to collaborate with them on their mission to revolutionise WaSH management in India, aiming to reduce water losses, contamination, sewer blockages, and eliminate manual scavenging.

ACT For Environment welcomes Grassroots Energy to its portfolio

In the vast and dynamic landscape of India’s energy sector, currently responsible for 73% of total GHG emissions, the urgency for sustainable solutions is stark. As the nation strides towards renewable energy, adopting innovative technologies that can aid India’s net zero goals is paramount.

Founded in 2016, GRE is pioneering a novel bi-phasic fermentation process, using proprietary microbial cultures and a patented reactor design, that converts organic waste / biomass into Green Hydrogen. Unlike traditional methods, this solution requires no sterilisation, leaves zero residues, and is a scalable, modular and decentralised system. The process is 50% more energy-efficient and uses 30x less water than conventional water-electrolysis methods and is effectively carbon-negative by allowing for the sequestering of carbon with microalgae cultures. This technological prowess has positioned GRE as a front runner in the field, recognized by the Government of the UK for its energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

GRE’s innovative process also produces high-quality organic fertilisers, contributing to a circular economy. With ongoing projects and a strong pipeline, including collaborations with industry giants like Tata Power and ITC, GRE is set to accelerate adoption for bio-based solutions in the Green Hydrogen industry in India. The company targets mini grids and industries transitioning from conventional fuels to cleaner alternatives, aiming to capture a significant market share by 2030.

With substantial funding received and a strong pipeline for further investments, GRE is well-positioned for growth. Their business model, focusing on bio-methane, organic fertilisers, Green Hydrogen and carbon credits, ensures diverse revenue streams and sustainability. The team, led by experienced founders and a robust group of engineers and scientists, is committed to scaling operations and driving the adoption of Green Hydrogen.

ACT For Environment’s grant support will help accelerate the commercialization of GRE’s Green Hydrogen operations – aiming to scale production, validate the technology at scale, reduce costs, and ensure industry readiness. We are excited to support Grassroots Energy in producing cheaper and energy efficient green hydrogen with their technological solution that leverages biomass to unlock alternative pathways for clean energy adoption in the country!

ACT is looking for social entrepreneurs who are solving for India’s energy efficiency challenges

India is the third-largest consumer of energy in the world and will account for 25% of the growth in global energy demand from 2019 to 2040. Propelled by rapid urbanisation and industrialization, energy consumption in India has experienced a twofold increase since 2000 and projections indicate a 5% annual growth until 2040. However, regional disparities in energy consumption persist, with variations across states and among rural and urban areas. The reliance of the economy on the energy sector, coupled with escalating demand, has positioned the energy landscape as a critical focus area for India’s net zero ambitions.

India’s energy consumption can be categorised into five key areas, each playing a pivotal role in shaping overall usage: power generation, industrial production & processes, transportation, building usage and agriculture usage. Even though power generation and industrial usage constitute the bulk of energy consumption, transport related energy demand has grown 3.5 times and demand in buildings has grown by 40% since 2000. Although agriculture is relatively the smallest consumer of energy, electricity consumed in agriculture can go up to 50% of total consumption in some states.

But while India’s increasing energy imports to meet this surge in demand have spurred a concerted effort towards the expansion of renewable energy sources, we are facing formidable challenges:

High Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Losses: The prevalence of significant T&D losses hampers the ability of distribution companies (DisComs) to make bold and decisive investments in renewables. Addressing these losses is crucial to creating an environment conducive to renewable energy adoption.

Low Energy Storage Capacity: The growth of renewable energy has outpaced advancements in energy storage technology. The lack of commensurate progress in storage capabilities poses a bottleneck to the seamless integration of renewables into the energy grid. A focused approach is needed to accelerate the development of efficient energy storage solutions.

Recycling and Reuse Applications: While renewable energy sources have proliferated, there is a concurrent need to enhance efforts in recycling and reusing associated components. A holistic approach to sustainable practices should encompass not only energy production but also the management of materials involved in the renewable energy lifecycle.

What We’re Looking For

ACT For Environment will now also be looking at energy transition as a key area of investment focus and we’re looking to prioritise 3 pivotal spheres to help catalyse an outsized climate impact at scale:

Waste to energy / alternative fuels; given intermittency and wastage issues with renewables
Battery recycling & new battery chemistries; given that the current market dominated by lithium ion batteries which which have large environment & human costs
Distributed renewable energy (DRE); given the need to enable access to energy and livelihoods for rural India
Energy efficiency solutions for businesses; given that industrial energy consumption is the highest

We’ll also be looking to strengthen these innovations through a collaborative approach, by uniting the private sector, public institutions, and specialised research and policy partners in a collective effort to drive lasting impact.

If you’re a social entrepreneur working on an innovative energy solution in any of the above areas, submit your grant application here!

ACT Capital Foundation For Social Impact is a not-for-profit company incorporated and registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. All donations made to ACT Capital Foundation are eligible for income tax deduction under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act.

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