Graphite’s Role in EV Battery Production and Industry Wide Expectations
The world's Graphite producers have big and justified hopes. The hope is to contribute to the production of more batteries that are used in electric cars like Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model S. This means the demand for graphite is going to increase dramatically as more people decide to buy electric cars. This is going to happen soon, in the next few years. Graphite is just a little-known component of lithium-ion batteries about which we should hear more in upcoming years.
Torque News spoke with Thomas Yingling, the CEO of Berkwood Resources (TSXV:BKR) that who told us car manufacturers' expectations from his company, its 6 month plan and when the company will turn to profitability.
What's the graphite's role in EV battery production? Can you please explain this in lay man's terms in detail?
EV Car batteries are made up of Cathode (+), Anode (-) and Electrolyte (electrons that go bath and forth from the Cathode and Anodes.
- Cathodes are made up of: Cobalt, Vanadium, Nickle and Manganses
- Electrodyles are made up of Lithium
- Anode’s are made out of Graphite.
See extraordinary raw materials in a Tesla Model S, published by Visual Capitalist.
We know that large flake, and the correct grade graphite is needed for an EV battery development. By this time do you already know if the Lac Guéret South Graphite property's graphite has the correct grade for this purpose or is it not yet confirmed?
Yes we have 80% of our graphite is Large Flake. Any thing over 100 mesh is large flake.
Recently Berkwood concluded $250,000 Project Finance Agreement with Progressive Planet Solutions Inc. to advance the Lac Guéret South Graphite Project. When do you think the first products will reach EV battery makers?
We have done 3 very successful drill programs and are just about to start our 4th. What is different about our 4th drill program is we have gone down one of our drill holes and where we have intersected graphite we put an electric charge on it. On the surface we have sensors that pick up the charge and out line where the graphite goes. (As graphite is one of the most conductive materials – higher then copper and silver, it carries a charge incredibly well and sensors can easily pick up the charge.) Now knowing where the graphite goes we will have an even greater chance of success in our 4th drill programs.
So before we can sell the graphite we need to know what we have. Below is our 6 month plan and what is completed is in Red. We are hoping after this drill program we will have enough information to create a resource report. With the resource report in hand we can them start marketing our product to the end users. We are very lucky as our neighbours Mason Graphite is putting in a graphite processing plant. We may or may not be able to use it. But the fact that it is being build is good. Expansion or having the resource in the area always helps if we have to build one.
To answer your question, we are about 1 to 2 years off.
Berkwood's 6 month plan to create value and crystalize their assets:
- Create a 3D model from the three drill programs. COMPLETED
- Complete a Metallurgical report. Work has started....
- Completing a "Misa A La Masse" (Direct Current Resistivity Survey). Field Work COMPLETED, waiting for the surveys.
- Reviewing of the above to determine what work needs to be done to create a resource.
- Prepare for a 43-101 Resource Estimate
- Pursue commercial arrangements with major graphite consumers.
Berkwood has Large Flake size graphite that sells for about $1300 US$/t.
Do you currently sell graphite to EV battery manufacturers? If yes, to whom and how many tons per month?
As we do not have a resource yet, we are unable to sell the graphite. But many battery and auto manufactures have reached out to us and are waiting for our graphite resource report to come out. Once it does I know there will be a lot of interest. One of our investors is using graphite to strengthen and lighten cement as well.
When do you expect Berkwood to turn to profitability?
We still have some hurdles but, if we can get a resource and an off-take agreement 2-2.5 years.