A joint venture is set to bring at least 10,000 tonnes per year of coated spherical graphite production to the US’ lithium-ion battery anode industry.
Graphite anode firm Graphex Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Graphex Group, is set to build and operate a battery anode manufacturing facility through a joint venture with Emerald Energy Solutions.
Both firms— Cayman Islands registered Graphex Group (which has a head office in Hong Kong and offices in Michigan) and Michigan, US-based Emerald Energy Solutions— have entered an exclusive non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to form the joint venture.
The JV expects to have the Detroit, Michigan plant built and operational before Q2 next year.
Graphex’s announcement read: “In the United States, the opportunity for anode material processing within the United States alone is enormous.
“Facilities based in the United States that have the expertise and capability to produce high quality anode materials at scale will create tremendous upside in the value chain by providing the benefits of localised supply, reducing external geopolitical risks, and developing first-rate processing materials.”
Under the agreement, Emerald will primarily be responsible for handling site searches and inspections, acquisitions, design, regulatory approval, construction and mechanical operation of the anode material processing facility.
In addition, the Emerald will have primary responsibility for providing and/or obtaining the requisite funding and capital to purchase, construct and operate the anode material processing facilities.
Graphex Technologies will provide all its patents, trade secrets, technological know-how and expertise necessary for building and operating the facility; it will also arrange for the offtake agreements to secure a supply of graphite flake for processing.
Graphex Group processes and sells graphite and graphene related products in mainland China.
New plant location
The joint venture is considering several Michigan sites as well as other sites for the facility, with a final decision expected in March.
Processed spherical graphite is used as an anode material in lithium-ion batteries for EVs and renewable energy storage applications.
Graphex has been in commercial graphite processing since 2013, producing more than 10,000 metric tons of spherical graphite each year.
David Halabu, managing partner of Emerald, said: “Detroit is positioning itself to be a global leader not only in traditional automobile manufacturing, but also the leader in EV manufacturing.
“As a Michigan company with a team born and raised in the metro Detroit area, we are determined to create synergies between Graphex and American automakers.”
The MOU does not constitute legally binding obligations in relation to the possible establishment of the joint venture except for the provisions of exclusivity and non-circumvention which shall be binding on the parties for the 90 days after the signing of the MOU.