A handful of companies are challenging Chinese control of a core material in the production of lithium-ion batteries before electrification of transportation really launches the global battery boom. International Graphite, a Perth-based startup at the forefront of this work, recently spoke with pv magazine australia about the surprising collaborative race to feed global demand.
A city that lists a large mailbox and a copy coal mine among its main attractions is probably not the attitude that will come to mind when thinking of the global race to produce a crucial component in lithium-ion batteries. But Collie, a town of 7,000 people in Western Australia, is just that.
Collie may soon be home to one of the world’s first manufacturers of battery-anode materials outside China. The key component in battery anode material (BAM) is graphite. Often overlooked, the mineral is the core of battery anode material in lithium-ion batteries. And Nhowever it sounds, BAM is asserting its position in the spotlight of the energy sector more and more every day.
“The opportunity right now is in terms of timing, in terms of product demand and in terms of buyers of the product who openly state in the media and personally that they need to have more than one geographic source of supply,” International Grafit CEO Neil Rinaldi said pv magazine australia.
The Perth-based startup is one of only a handful of companies that want to diversify BAM production away from China in time for the impending global battery boom. But Rinaldi admits that when he heard the start-up had decided to open a facility in the remote town of Collie, his first reaction was “Really? And then the penny dropped, and the penny-drop event was cheap power. ”
China currently controls 90% of the market for the purified product entering BAM, according to Rinaldi. And that is something that makes many in the world of battery production a little worried, he says.
“It doesn’t take a genius to find out why,” he says, noting Many battery manufacturers are keen to diversify their BAM delivery. “We intend to be one of the first outside China. We’re about the first wave of producers, but I think the industry will grow quite dramatically in the coming decades – but you have to start somewhere, right? “
To continue reading, visit our pv magazine australia website.
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