Imagine you have a bunch of logs to make a fire, but you don’t have any kindling to get them going. So you take a novel a few hundred pages thick, pull the sheets out, and smush each one into a paper ball to put under the logs. The process to make these jury-rigged fire starters is just like microspheronization!
Nouveau Monde Graphite has been producing spherical graphite since February 2020, and this important milestone in the Matawinie mining project is a Quebec success story that will do big things for the Western essential minerals market. As I wait for my interview with the New York Times, let me tell you more about our graphite and its path to the bestseller lists.
A similar process on a larger scale is what happens to the graphite that goes into lithium-ion batteries. In the industry, micronization and spheronization are two essential steps to process graphite concentrate into an anode material for lithium-ion batteries—a market that is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
Quite a character
In its natural state, the graphite extracted from the Matawinie project comes in the form of flakes (like the novel we used for our fire kindling). Once extracted and concentrated, natural graphite is reduced to a fine powder through micronization (the novel’s pages).
Next comes spheronization, which consists of compacting the micronized flakes into imperfect spheres (or the smushed-up pages), which vary in size from 0.01 to 0.03 millimetres that, of course, can only be seen with a microscope.
Compared to flake graphite, spherical graphite has more space for lithium ions to move around. The ions can also move faster in and out of spherical graphite as though they are on an intergalactic highway.
Collaborating with the best
All the A-list authors say the same thing: to be successful, you need connections with the best people in the industry. For almost two years, Nouveau Monde Graphite has been working with Hydro-Québec’s Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage (CETEES), a world-class pole of innovation in battery materials and other stationary and mobile energy storage applications.
This team (with yours truly, of course) has figured out how to maintain high performance for our graphite thanks to a maximum tapped density and a well-defined particle size distribution.
In other words, we have harnessed the best talents to create a successful product that will help make us a top producer of spherical graphite for the lithium-ion battery market.
No wonder it’s popular
To make sure it doesn’t become a flash in the pan, we have put our graphite to the test. In fact, lab tests have shown that the graphite from the Matawinie deposit meets all of the requirements for use in lithium-ion batteries. Electrochemical testing has also confirmed the Matawinie graphite’s cycling performance, and tests have also shown that it has an excellent load capacity and great stability under rapid charge/discharge cycles.
The spherical graphite from the Matawinie project also compares favourably with the industry’s certified reference material. Our Graf has the goods, which gives us intense ELECTRI-gratification. #GotGraf
Product pre-qualification: a best success practice
Why release a novella before writing a whole trilogy? Because once readers get hooked, they chomp at the bit for more. The story for our graphite is the same. First, customers need to become familiar with our graphite’s purity, quality, and transformation process: everything must meet industry standards. Nouveau Monde Graphite uses its demonstration plant to deliver samples to potential customers, and their “rave reviews” of our graphite product greatly reduces the project’s risks.
Although I may get (a tad) overexcited at calculating the watt-hours of batteries that use graphite, I also love putting my scientific acumen into calculating a project’s risks and benefits. A business managed with cutting-edge practices and rigorous product quality control processes really revs my engine!
With collaboration, determination, and precision, we continue to advance towards our goal of supplying the lithium-ion battery market with a product that has been ethically and sustainably mined and processed → TSXV : NOU; OTCQX : NMGRF; Francfort : NM9
PS: To organize a private tour, learn some of our best-seller secrets or just talk science, you can reach the Nouveau Monde Graphite team at 1-833-GOT-GRAF.