Syrah Resources Successfully Produces Battery Anode from Coated Spherical Graphite
January 13, 2015 (Source: BusinessWire) — During Q4 2014, Syrah Resources (Syrah) (ASX:SYR) successfully produced uncoated battery grade spherical graphite, using natural flake graphite from its Balama Graphite & Vanadium Project in Mozambique. Samples have been distributed and initial feedback from Japanese anode and battery producers indicate that uncoated Balama spherical graphite is of a superior quality than those currently being utilized.
Uncoated spherical graphite samples were also sent to an anode producer for trial coating and electrochemical testing. This anode producer is a leading supplier of coated spherical graphite to major global battery producers. The specifications achieved by coated Balama spherical graphite exceed those of Chinese manufacturers and include d50 of 20.35 microns, BET surface area of 2.01 m2/g and tap density of 1.07 g/cm3.
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Subsequently, this anode producer also successfully produced a lithium (Li) ion battery using Balama natural graphite anodes (produced from coated Balama spherical graphite) for initial test work. A first discharge capacity of 369.95 mAh/g and a first discharge efficiency of 94.5% was achieved. In comparison, typical Chinese natural graphite anodes achieve a first discharge capacity and efficiency of ≥ 360 mAh/g and ≥ 89%, respectively. A leading synthetic graphite anode typically achieves a first discharge capacity and efficiency of 360 to 362 mAh/g and 94.3% to 95%, respectively.
Synthetic graphite has traditionally been a major anode material (55%) with natural graphite accounting for the balance. However, due to improvements in natural graphite quality (mainly in relation to the orientation property and tap density) and its lower cost, the use of natural graphite in anodes is rising and expected to continue. This has been confirmed from discussions with anode producers. Coated spherical graphite currently sells for US$7000 to US$10,000 per tonne compared to synthetic graphite which sells for around US$20,000 per tonne.
Accordingly, both coated Balama spherical graphite and Balama natural graphite anode have satisfied and exceeds the requirements for computers, communications, consumer and Li-ion battery applications. These coated Balama spherical graphite specifications and test results have been distributed to major battery producers and electric vehicle manufacturers around the world. Samples of coated and uncoated Balama spherical graphite have also been distributed to some of these parties.
A Preliminary Economic Study for a spherical graphite plant is underway which considers a 25,000 tonne per annum (tpa) scenario in both Mozambique and the United States for a combined production of 50,000 tpa. Syrah believes that a combined 50,000 tpa of spherical graphite will be required to satisfy a portion of the expected significant growth in the electric vehicle and energy storage markets.
Raj Shah has professional experience working for over a half a dozen years at financial firms such as Merrill Lynch and First Allied Securities Inc., ... <Read more about Raj Shah>