Runaya is out to curb India’s import dependency in metal sector

Runaya Group, established in 2017, is a Mumbai-based manufacturing startup that aims to leverage technology to create sustainable solutions in the metals sector, in sync with the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Runaya has implemented an innovative and sustainable model to eliminate waste and recover metals.
The industrial group serves multiple sectors and has clients like JSPL, Tata Steel, JSW, Jindal Stainless and Vedanta. The company’s revenue grew from Rs 40 crore in FY21 to Rs 650 crore in FY24, a 15-fold increase.
In an interaction with ET Online, Naivedya Agarwal, Co-founder & CEO of Runaya, discusses the company’s offerings and its push for the “make in India, make for the world” philosophy while prioritising sustainability goals. Edited excerpts:
ET: How has the company’s journey been thus far? How have you been able to raise revenue growth so fast?Naivedya Agarwal: My co-founder Annanya and I aspired to revolutionise the resources industry by introducing cutting-edge, sustainable solutions. We foresaw the pivotal role that innovation and technology would play in manufacturing. Sustainability has been an integral part of our family discussions. Establishing a business with a foundation that prioritises both sustainability and technology was, therefore, a natural progression.
We identified our core areas of expertise: sustainable solutions and technology-driven manufacturing early. This has allowed us to build expertise in a focused area and not spread ourselves too thin.In our green aluminium recovery business, we started our pilot plant on licensed technology, which allowed us to process 150 tonnes per machine per month. Our next step was to optimise the setup, and now each machine is processing 400 tonnes a month. We collaborated with renowned institutes to patent our processes, like the conversion of aluminium dross (a by-product of the aluminium smelting process) to aluminium trihydroxide (ATH), a first of its kind. We also built in key governance mechanisms early on.We entrusted KPMG with all our tax, compliance, and MIS preparations. We also outsource all our operations to O&M partners. This allows us to rely on specific expert partners and concentrate solely on analytics.ET: What technologies and solutions do Runaya leverage at its manufacturing plants to achieve its sustainable goals?
NA: As a guiding principle, we have strived to showcase technological innovation and green economy in all our endeavours. In our green aluminium recovery business, we have pioneered a patented process for extracting green aluminium from aluminium smelter waste, boasting the world’s lowest carbon footprint at a mere 600 kg of CO2 per tonne of aluminium.

Women on the Shop Floor

Women working in Runaya research lab

Our commitment extends to utilising solar power for plant operations, minimising our carbon footprint. 80% of our energy is derived from renewable sources, and we aim to transition to 100% renewable energy by next year.
Additionally, Runaya is venturing into aluminium fluoride production, aimed at servicing Indian smelters, curbing imports and contributing to a self-reliant India. In our metal recovery business, we concentrate on extracting valuable metals such as nickel, cobalt, lithium, silver, cadmium and copper from both smelter and mining waste. This multifaceted approach aligns with our ethos of turning waste into wealth.

ET: How serious is Runaya about adhering to the principles of circular economy?
NA: For most businesses, sustainability and a circular economy are a bolt-on practice. At Runaya, it is our business.

Do you think the manufacturing industry doesn’t place importance on sustainability goals?
NA: Sustainability remains an afterthought, rather than a core value, for most businesses. This premise is a roadblock to achieving meaningful and lasting change. Sustainability cannot be just another business function. It needs to be a commitment to eco-friendly practices in every aspect of a business. This is the core problem that we are trying to solve at Runaya.

ET: How many lines of business does Runaya operate?
NA: Runaya operates across four lines of business. Through our green aluminium recovery business, we are integrating cutting edge technology in green aluminium recovery. By collaborating with Taha International, we are assisting the Indian aluminium industry in adopting innovative and sustainable technologies. Our ground-breaking patented process allows us to recover green aluminium from aluminium smelter waste, setting an unprecedented standard in environmental sustainability. The global authority, DNV, has certified our recovered aluminium as possessing the world’s lowest carbon footprint, emitting just 600 kg of CO2 per tonnes of aluminium. We repurpose 60% of the dross to produce value-added products essential for steelmaking, aligning with our zero-waste and zero-discharge strategy.

In our metal recovery business, we provide solutions for treating zinc and lead smelter residues and enhancing the capacities of our aluminium residue treatment plants. The retrieved metals, including zinc, undergo processing to yield high-quality products with diverse industrial applications.

Earlier, India used to be dependent on importing products such as resin capsules, friction bolts, wire mesh & self drilling anchors. But Minova Runaya, a joint venture of Minova and Runaya, develops new products and innovative mining, tunnelling and infrastructure solutions. This is a step towards achieving Atmanirbhar Bharat.

We are at the forefront of revolutionising the country’s 5G network. Our range of fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) and aramid reinforced plastic (ARP) products, including cables, serve as central strength members in the 5G telecom industry. Notably, we are the first Indian company to secure a patent for water-swellable FRP rods.

ET: Tell us about Runaya’s projections in terms of revenue and business growth for the the next year.
NA: We are growing exponentially and plan to reach revenues of Rs 1,300 crore in FY26 from Rs 650 crore in FY24. This will be done through increased capacity utilisation through both greenfield and brownfield expansion. Under our green aluminium recovery business, we aim to increase the dross processing capacity to 70,000 TPA and recover 28,000 green aluminium. Plans are also afoot to set up an aluminium fluoride plant of 25,000 TPA capacity that would cater to Indian smelters and cut down imports by over 50%. This new plant will also generate an additional revenue of Rs 300 crore per annum. Minova Runaya aims to develop safety solutions for infrastructure and underground mining sectors. We have scaled up this business to Rs 200 crore in revenue within 2 years and will reach revenues of Rs 500 crore by FY26.


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