Data gathered as part of Swedish natural graphite anode research has provided “critical” information to push ahead with studies, according to a project update.
The Swedish government-funded project, ‘Natural Swedish graphite for future lithium-ion batteries’, is focused on the application and optimisation of high purity natural graphite as anode material for lithium-ion batteries using graphite sourced from Leading Edge Material’s Woxna project in Sweden.
According to Leading Edge, a founding participant in the project with the country’s Ångström Advanced Battery Centre (ÅABC), work completed under the project to date has included electrochemical testing of unpurified Woxna flotation concentrate to establish baseline performance.
Leading Edge president and CEO Blair Way said the research could be key to give the firm a major role as a future European anode supplier.
Way said the combination of the firm’s fully built Woxna graphite mine, “with the cutting-edge research… place Leading Edge Materials in a very strong position as a preferred anode supplier as European battery manufacture rolls out over coming years.”
“A slurry of Woxna graphite together with binder and carbon black was applied to copper foil which were then vacuum dried and assembled as pouch cells with a Li metal electrode, a separator and electrolyte,” Leading Edge said in its project update.
“Galvanostatic testing of the Woxna graphite anode demonstrated a broad capacity range with some cells exceeding the theoretical capacity (372 mAh g-1) of graphite, attributable to the presence of impurities.
This baseline data provides critical information for the next round of purification test work, which will include electrochemical testing of graphite thermally treated at up to 2,300°C.”
Results are anticipated towards the end of the third quart of this year, Leading Edge said.
Led by Uppsala University’s Professor Kristina Edström, the ÅABC is the largest battery research group in the Nordic countries with research focused on all aspects of the chemistry of rechargeable batteries and fuel cells.
Sweden has been designated as a key player in the EU’s ‘batteries alliance’— through which Europe aims to push back on Asia’s dominance in the battery sector. The European Investment Bank has already agreed to finance construction of a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant at Västerås to be built by Northvolt.