Govt permits import of pet coke as raw material for lithium-ion batteries

Govt permits import of pet coke as raw material for lithium-ion batteries

Recently, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has allowed the import of pet coke as a raw material for the production of lithium-ion batteries.

  • Import of Needle Pet Coke (NPC) has been approved for the manufacture of graphite anode material required in the production of Lithium Ion batteries.
  • NPC will not be used for any other purpose. The sulfur content in this NPC is less than 0.8%.
  • India is the largest consumer of petcoke in the world. India imports more than half of its annual petcoke consumption. It is imported mainly from the United States of America.
  • In the year 2018, the government banned the import of pet coke for use as a fuel, but exempted its import for the cement, lime kiln, calcium carbide and gasification industries.
  • Petroleum coke (pet coke) is a carbon-rich solid material. It is obtained from the final cracking process.

The cracking process is a heat-based chemical engineering process. It breaks down the long chain hydrocarbons of petroleum into shorter chains.

  • Grades of pet coke: green coke (containing higher moisture and volatile matter) and calcined coke (higher carbon content than green coke).
  • Types of Pet Coke: NPC, Honeycomb Coke, Sponge Coke and Shot Coke.

Uses of Pet Coke:

  • It is used as a raw material/fuel in cement, gasification, boilers etc.
  • It is used as a carbon source (electrode, synthetic graphite, silicon carbide, TiO2 pigment, carbon razor, etc.).

Advantages of pet coke over coal:

  • It has higher calorific value. Pet coke has a calorific value of 7800 kcal/kg as compared to 3500-4500 kcal/kg of coal.
  • Pet coke is hydrophobic, whereas coal is hydrophilic. This means that pet coke does not retain moisture in rainy time; on the contrary the coal becomes moist.
  • Pet coke is a less volatile substance. In such a situation, the possibility of damage due to vaporization is reduced. A small amount of ash is generated after its combustion.

Problems arising from the use of Pet Coke:

  • It contains more than 80% carbon. It emits 5 to 10% more CO2 than coal on a per unit energy basis.
  • Its combustion releases heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, chromium and nickel as well as other toxic gases including sulfur and hydrogen chloride into the atmosphere.

Source – Economics Times

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