London-listed Tirupati Graphite has successfully completed trials and tests for the manufacture of battery-grade spherical graphite (SPG), which is used in the anode of lithium-ion batteries.
The company worked with a German manufacturer of spheroidisation and micronisation equipment, achieving significant results in the final SPG product.
Tirupati used flake graphite sourced from its Sahamamy and Vatomina projects in Madagascar, which was purified using proprietary zero-hydrofluoric acid, non-pyrometallurgical and zero-waste purification technology, as an input material.
The trial yielded a grade up to 68.4% SPG and an average of 45.8%, which compares favourably to the generally reported yield of standard Chinese equipment and technology of about 35%, it states.
Tirupati has commissioned development and optimisation work for the first in a series of commercial scale SPG manufacturing plants with the German manufacturer and initiated discussions with prospective buyers of SPG, including automobile majors and battery and anode manufacturers.
The company is targeting a 3 000 t/y manufacturing capacity. Under Tirupati’s current modular medium term development plan, the first commercial production for SPG was expected in July 2022; however, the company intends to fast-track this to an earlier date – during the fourth quarter this year.
Tirupati CEO and executive chairperson Shishir Poddar says that, with electric vehicle (EV) markets evolving faster than ever before owing to an increased focus on reducing emissions from mobility, it is an opportune time for Tirupati to concentrate its efforts on fast-tracking the development of commercial capabilities for SPG manufacturing.
“Our green credentials with zero-waste purification technology give us the ability to manufacture and supply our SPG products to EV makers as a preferred source, and we are very well positioned to benefit as an eco-friendly ex-China source of this critical material.
“Global leaders are driving the exponential growth worldwide in EV adoption in order to achieve targets under the Paris Agreement, among other accords. While the UK has launched a green industrial revolution, the US government’s vehicle fleet is expected to be replaced by EVs assembled in the US, an initiative that is being led by President Joe Biden,” he notes.
Poddar adds that change is also afoot in the Netherlands where significant purchase subsidies brought in earlier this year are forecast to multiply sales in 2021.
India is also advancing its plan to achieve a 100% shift to EVs by 2030 alongside many other countries. The impact is now visible in increasing EV sales worldwide.
“We feel privileged to contribute to the global rally for electric mobility and we are excited to be able to expedite our SPG developments in order to meet increasing demand, and in doing so, we are well positioned to take advantage of the EV boom."