EV1 Graphite Flake Purification Process
The world’s EV market is on the verge of creating a new demand for graphite, which has long been overlooked in favor of more valuable cathode materials. Each EV battery requires 20-30% graphite, and the industry is concerned that supply isn’t growing fast enough to meet this massive demand.
As a result, many companies are focused on improving their production processes to ensure they can recover more graphite flake at higher purity levels. “The lower the purity level of the flake, the more expensive it is to produce,” said Riddle.
“As a consequence, the higher purity of the flake, the more cost effective it is to produce.”
Flake graphite miners grind up their ore and separate out flakes through a standard industry process known as flotation. The end result is a concentrate that’s typically 94 percent graphite carbon or better. That concentrate is then sccreened to separate out flakes of different sizes. Large flakes sell for more than smaller ones, and the purer the graphite, the more it fetches at the market.
The most important buyers of natural flake graphite are found in the auto industry. Almost all electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars require the material to power their lithium-ion batteries. Imerys graphite additives are also prized solutions for improving the energy density, life cycle and charge acceptance of advanced lead-acid batteries used in hybrid cars and micro-hybrid vehicles.
EV1’s first impurity analysis is on track to assess whether its jumbo, large and medium sized flake can be made into high-value anode material for the EV battery industry. The company says it will then move on to assessing its milling, shaping and purification processes to see whether they can meet the stringent requirements of the industry.