Hindalco Industries, the world's largest aluminium producer, plans to significantly expand its manufacturing capacity of aluminium foil that is used in rechargeable batteries to serve the rapidly growing market for electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage systems.

The metals flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group plans to invest ₹800 crore to build a new plant near Sambalpur in Odisha that will initially produce 25,000 tonnes of aluminium foil which forms the backbone of lithium-ion and Sodium-ion cells.

By 2030, demand for battery-grade aluminium foil in India is expected to grow manifold to 40,000 tonnes, primarily driven by mushrooming growth in gigafactories for advanced cell manufacturing.

"We are seeing a fast traction in battery materials demand, driven by an impressive outlook for the electric vehicle and grid storage sectors. Raw material localisation is critical in such strategic sectors," says Satish Pai, managing director, Hindalco Industries. "Hindalco is thus making various investments in battery materials and technologies towards building Atmanirbhar Bharat. Investment in this new battery foil mill is another such step in this direction," Pai says.

Hindalco claims it has already achieved the technology breakthrough of manufacturing fine-quality battery foils at its Mouda unit in Maharashtra. The Mouda unit is currently in the process of qualifying with lithium-ion cell manufacturers in India, Europe and the United States. The new unit in Odisha will further augment capability to supply material to Gigafactories across the world.

High-performance aluminium foils are used by cell makers as a current collector for the cathode materials. Hindalco's deep understanding of metallurgy, extensive experience in sheet and foil rolling and access to its own aluminium metal gives it a formidable launch pad.

The company says it is already developing such foils to raise the bar on mechanical strength, fine-tune the thickness and enhance surface characteristics of these advanced application foils. It is working on new coatings on the battery foils that will boost performance by delivering better adhesion, lower resistance, and reduced corrosion. It will tap its R&D to provide tailor-made solutions for its customers.

Hindalco says is working closely with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to co-develop and make critical components like battery enclosures, motor housings, busbars, structural and safety components, and lightweight load bodies, many of which are being designed and developed for the first time in India. These series of investments catalyse Hindalco's metamorphosis from a manufacturer of metal to a provider of high-tech metal solutions. This project will also provide a thrust to the government's green initiative to reduce carbon emissions and build sustainable growth.

The factory will be located alongside a 25 MW solar power plant, and can access additional solar energy from a 400 KV National Grid connection. Scheduled for commissioning in July 2025, the unit will supplement Hindalco's existing facility at Mouda in Maharashtra, the company says.

Shares of Hindalco were trading 2% higher in intraday trade on Tuesday after the announcement.

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