Lohum Ventures into Manganese-Based Lithium-Ion Batteries with Tesla Veteran Chaitanya Sharma


7/4/20241 min read

Lohum, a company specializing in the production and recycling of sustainable critical minerals, is expanding into the production of cathode active materials, focusing on manganese-based lithium-ion batteries. This significant move will be spearheaded by Tesla veteran Chaitanya Sharma. Lohum’s founder and CEO, Rajat Verma, announced that the company is investing $75 million in this project, which will be established in Tamil Nadu. Additionally, Lohum is allocating $100 million to expand its recycling capacity, aiming to set up a production capacity of over 20 GWh over the next three years. Future manufacturing sites in Gujarat and Telangana are also being considered.

Next-generation lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) batteries, which are both safer and more cost-effective than conventional technologies, offer longer ranges for electric vehicles. Major EV manufacturers like Tesla, BYD, and CATL are investing heavily in LMFP technology.

Lohum’s project has received an R&D grant from India’s Ministry of Mines, awarded after a rigorous review of over 100 applicants. This grant will support the development of the LMFP technology.

Discussing the new venture, Verma emphasized the importance of localizing the supply chain in India. He stated, “We decided to invest in this capacity to ensure there is a complete supply chain localized in India.”

Chaitanya Sharma brings valuable experience to the project, having worked at Tesla and IM3NY, North America's first gigafactories, and led the latter as CEO. He is also the co-founder of Nascent Materials, a US-based company developing next-generation iron- and sodium-based cathode materials.

Lohum is currently the only producer of conventional Nickel Manganese Cobalt-based cathode active materials. The company’s expansion into manganese-based batteries is strategically significant for India, which has one of the largest reserves of manganese. This move aims to de-risk the lithium-ion battery supply chain from external shocks, enhancing the country’s energy security.

“Developing LMFP technology will enable Lohum to accelerate the energy transition by providing higher energy densities, increased cost-effectiveness, enhanced safety, sustainability, and thermal adaptability of batteries to climate change,” said Verma.