Volt Carbon Technologies, a Canada-based carbon science company, recently announced the test results of its battery anode development using graphite refined from Green Battery Minerals‘ Berkwood property. The companies have been working together to develop battery anodes made with high-grade graphite. Recent testing has confirmed its suitability for lithium-ion batteries (LIB).
By using the super jumbo flake graphite concentrate derived from Green Battery’s rock samples, Volt’s Scarborough facility successfully executed a dry separation process — yielding a record-high total carbon content of 98.4%.
Under the guidance of Dr. Aiping Yu, Volt’s newest Board Member and University of Waterloo Professor, the graphite underwent a straightforward mechanical reduction process to achieve battery-grade anode sizes without additional purification treatment. This process used no harmful chemicals and did not go through two very costly and energy-consuming processes of sphericalizing and coating. These processes or variations may be added in the future to improve battery performance.
Yu’s team extensively characterized the graphite using techniques such as x-ray diffraction (XRD), Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), and scanning electron microscopes (SEM), confirming its suitability for further battery anode development. This involved coin cell fabrication through a straightforward micronization process applied to the flake graphite concentrate.
Subsequently, coin cells were manufactured alongside benchmarked samples of commercially available graphite anodes and are currently undergoing cycle testing at Solid Ultrabattery’s and the University of Waterloo’s labs. Initial coin cell testing revealed a capacity of 344mAh/g, achieved without any chemical processes under entirely dry handling conditions and without sphericalization and carbon coating.
This highlights the efficacy of the mechanical reduction process and underscores the promising potential of sustainable dry-separated graphite for battery applications. With further process adjustments, the company aims to achieve results exceeding 360 mAh/g in the upcoming quarter.
The XRD and Raman shift plots below show the similarities of Green Battery’s natural graphite structure against commercial battery grade anodes. The integrity of the graphite structure is evaluated by the ID/IG ratio of the samples. All of Green Battery’s samples showed about the same ratio as the commercial anode.
“The constraints on graphite trade in North America have spurred our determination to innovate and develop resources sustainably and cost-effectively within the region,” said V-Bond Lee, CEO of Volt Carbon Technologies. “We have determined through testing that high-grade graphite mineral deposits provides significant advantages, making the processing to graphite concentrate and anodes much simpler compared to low-grade deposits.
These outcomes mark the initial stride in optimizing Green Battery’s graphite for lithium-ion batteries, reinforcing Volt Carbon’s commitment to advancing battery technologies. Volt remains dedicated to refining dry processes for converting Green Battery’s materials into battery-grade anodes, driving significant technical progress in the North American battery materials supply chain.
“We’re on the brink of a great opportunity, and I’m eagerly looking forward to the upcoming results from our highly qualified technical teams,” added Lee.
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Filed Under: Batteries, Technology News