The Government of British Columbia and Eagle Graphite confirmed release of the first tranche of grant funding in support of a 2-year program to develop and commercialize silicon-modified battery anodes made with graphite from Eagle’s Black Crystal graphite quarry and plant in Valhalla, British Columbia.
In 2019, the Government of British Columbia, through the CleanBC Go Electric Advanced Research and Commercialization (ARC) program, selected Eagle for a grant of $290,000.
The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Advanced Materials for Energy Storage Lab, under the leadership of Dr. Jian Liu, is the project’s research lead during the initial stages. The project aims to establish baseline performance of battery anode graphite from Eagle Graphite’s plant and quarry near the cities of Castlegar and Nelson, British Columbia.
Further improvements to the formulation, incorporating silicon into the anode, will be tested, and if successful, advanced for commercialization.
Eagle Graphite owns and operates one of only two flake graphite production facilities in Canada and the only graphite quarry in western North America. The quarry is located in Passmore, near Castlegar. The project includes two mining leases, with a combined area of 300 hectares, valid until June of 2032 and renewable thereafter.
Flake graphite accounts for approximately 40% of global natural graphite supply. The supply of flake graphite is concentrated primarily in China and Mozambique, with Brazil, North Korea, Canada and India accounting for nearly all of the remainder of production.
Potential North American graphite consumption for electric vehicles is expected to grow by as much as 93,000 tpy by 2020—roughly equivalent to 25% of estimated global flake graphite production of 375,000 tpy for 2013.
Compared to most graphite mining, the Black Crystal graphite quarry operation has a light environmental footprint. Graphite there is easily liberated from the sandy host material through a low-energy, water-based flotation process that generates only environmentally benign, marketable by-products. Water is recycled to minimize net consumption and eliminate discharge requirements. The primary sand and gravel by-products are sold to local buyers. The finished graphite is non-toxic and non-reactive.
The ARC program in British Columbia (B.C.) is a fundamental part of the Province’s CleanBC Go Electric Program, designed to support the development of companies operating in the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sector, and to encourage international investment in the ZEV sector in B.C. The ARC program provides support to B.C. companies to invest in product development and commercialization activities through to long-term demonstration projects.