October 13, 2022: Australia-based Volt Resources has formed a new business unit through which it is supplying graphite products for lead acid and lithium battery markets in the US, the company announced on October 4.
The new unit, Volt Energy Materials, will provide products including coated spheronised purified graphite (CSPG) for lithium ion batteries and graphite expander additives for negative electrodes for lead batteries, the company said in an Australian Securities Exchange announcement.
Volt Resources MD Trevor Matthews said the move would boost the company’s partnerships with key industry players in the US including batteries developer Apollo Energy Systems and Energy Supply Developers (ESD) — which was established in March 2021 to help secure a battery materials supply chain for Li-ion batteries.
In February, Volt was selected as the CSPG supplier for ESD’s planned 50GWh lithium battery production facility, which is to start operations in the US Midwest by 2025.
Tests by Apollo Energy have shown that lead battery cells containing Volt’s graphite have “consistently delivered higher capacity” than those whose expander formulation was based on traditional carbon materials, Volt claimed.
The company said its ultra-high purity graphite product used for lead acid battery expanders is a by-product of a larger downstream process for manufacturing spherical graphite or BAM for lithium ion battery anodes.
Meanwhile, Volt said the development of non-spherical graphite products for the alkaline and lead acid battery markets will improve the economics of its planned CSPG manufacturing facilities in the US and Europe — using flake graphite production capability from the Zavalievsky graphite mine in Ukraine, together with future production from the Bunyu Graphite Project in Tanzania.
Volt said in June it had received commitments to raise $2 million in a share placement to help restart graphite production in Ukraine.
On September 6, Volt said graphite produced at Zavalievsky during 14 days of August was at an average daily production rate of 60.5 tonnes. Despite disruptions during recommissioning, production at Zavalievsky, 280km south of Kyiv, is on track to meet its fiscal 2023 forecast of 8,000-9,000 tonnes, the company said.