Green Battery Minerals announced completion of a new purification test using dry separation technology developed by Volt Carbon Technologies (VCT). 

According to the company, current purification of battery-grade anode material requires large quantities of reagents such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, as well as significant amounts of water, which becomes contaminated and must be treated before reentering the environment. The new process utilizes air as its separation medium, omitting the use of solvents and eliminating contaminated liquid waste. 

The preliminary results of the graphite ore processing test using VCT’s dry separation technology yielded graphite grades to 93%, based on thermogravimetric analysis provided by VCT’s laboratory in Guelph, Ontario. The test was run utilizing 5 kg of crushed feedstock sample from the company’s
Berkwood property. The final results yielded 146 g of graphite flake per kilogram of crushed feedstock, reflecting a 14.6% yield of graphite flakes per kilogram of feedstock. 

The company said the resulting flake size distribution showed that the majority of the Berkwood graphite produces large and jumbo sized flakes, ideal for production of anode material for lithium-ion batteries.  Large and jumbo flakes command among the highest graphite prices on the market of up to $2,500 per ton.

The graphite provided by VCT was subsequently sent to a third-party lab – Base Metallurgist Laboratories in Kam-
loops – for independent testing. The results verified that the VCT-processed sample tested yielded a graphite content of 91.55%, with total carbon showing at 97%. These results, said Green Battery Minerals, validate the effectiveness of VCT’s current process, which is currently being scaled up.

Thomas Yingling, president and CEO of Green Battery Minerals, said, “We are very excited with the results of the VCT air separation test for multiple reasons. Firstly, the process eliminates a significant amount of waste traditionally associated with the purification of graphite due to its solventless and reagentless nature. Secondly, the new process does not hurt flake size distribution.”

Green Battery Minerals and VCT intend to use a much larger 5,000-kg graphitic sample to produce commercial scale samples for testing by the automotive industry and other potential customers. This next step will also be used to more accurately determine costing, which will be significantly lower than currently utilized processes.