Graphex Group to expand graphite processing in China to 40k tonnes/year, up from 10k, to meet EV battery needs
Graphex Group has entered into an exclusive non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Municipal Government of Mashan District, Jixi City, Heilongjiang, China with the intention of expanding its graphite processing and production capacity within the Jixi Mashan Graphite Industrial Park. Graphex currently produces 10,000 metric tons per annum (TPA) of high-purity spherical graphite (SG) at its existing facilities in Jixi.
The SG is further upgraded with pitch coating to specifications at nearby facilities to create the coated spherical graphite (CSG) that provides the optimum electrical properties for use in Li-ion batteries. The expansion will allow Graphex to ramp up its annual production level of SG from 10,000 TPA to 40,000 TPA and create in-house production of an additional 10,000 TPA of CSG over and above its existing offsite CSG capabilities.
Phase 1 of the SG expansion is intended to be operational by early 2023.
Under the MOU for the intended expansion plans, the Jixi Mashan Government would provide Graphex with three blocks of newly constructed industrial facilities and workshops totaling approximately 160,000 square feet within the Jixi Mashan Graphite Industrial Park.
The Jixi Mashan Government will also assist Graphex in the site selection process, preliminary approval, policy support, and will coordinate with relevant governmental departments in support of the proposed project. Graphex will be responsible to obtain all appropriate approvals for the development and construction of the project as well as the costs of the facility construction. The final site selection for the project will be subject to final approval.
CSG is the principal anode material used in lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), renewable energy storage, and other use cases. Over the next ten years, analysts forecast EV sales to increase more than 29%. Global EV sales are expected to increase from about 2.5 million in 2020 to 11.2 million in 2025, and triple to 31.1 million by 2030. By 2030, it is also expected that EVs will represent approximately 32% of the total market share for new car sales.
As plans for new battery gigafactories continue to rise to meet the increasing demand for EVs, the demand for the component materials such as CSG is also expected to increase.
Graphex also recently announced plans to construct a CSG production facility in Michigan. Graphex entered into an exclusive non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) to form a joint venture with Michigan-based Emerald Energy Solutions for constructing and operating a graphite processing facility.
Graphex expects that a facility could be operational before the end of Q2 2023 with an initial capacity to deliver 10,000 TPA of coated spherical graphite used in EV battery anodes and may increase the capacity to 20,000 TPA relatively quickly to meet increased demand.
As EV projections increase, capacity for SG and CSG processing will need to increase in parallel to support the demand. The MOU with the Jixi Mashan Government, coupled with our ability to export directly, will allow Graphex to invest in the growth of our proven manufacturing and production capacity to meet global demand in the near-term, and as we simultaneously endeavor to diversify our upstream raw material suppliers to include resources from other countries, we expect to deliver long-term, stable supply to our customers as demand increases in the future.
The graphite required for use in Li-ion batteries is highly specialized and quite challenging to produce at scale, making the mid-stream processes of spheronization, purification, and pitch coating as much an art as science. To create consistent, high-quality anode materials at high volumes and to be able to replicate that process globally requires the skill, experience, equipment, and technology that Graphex has acquired, developed, and perfected over more than a decade.—John DeMaio, President of the Graphene Division of Graphex
Graphex has been proficient in graphite processing in Jixi since 2008 and transacting commercially since 2013. Graphex Group is currently among the top suppliers of specialized spherical graphite to the EV and renewable energy industries and holds 23 patents in areas including products, production methods, machinery design and environmental protection.