Where Does Industrial Graphene Go From Here?

Climate change is the biggest chronic threat to the ecosystem and planet Earth. The Paris Climate Agreement resolves to achieve a zero-carbon footprint and limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. Fighting climate change calls for a substantial shrinkage in greenhouse gas emissions and a paradigm shift towards developing and using more eco-friendly, renewable energy technologies. 

Graphex Technologies is a globally leading player in the creation of energy-efficient storage solutions. It is a publicly traded company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (under the symbol "ETIHY") and the OTCQX Best Market. It focuses on the development of sustainable, innovative solutions for the enhancement of renewable energy. The company's core strength is the in-house cutting-edge research and development of high-quality graphene-based products, particularly spherical graphite.

Spherical graphite is a crucial ingredient of anodes used in Li-ion batteries that power electric vehicles. It is produced by the processing of natural graphite flakes into ultra-fine, highly pure spherical graphite. Spherical graphite constitutes the graphene layers in the battery anode. The graphene layers trap Li-ions, thus storing charged energy and directly aiding the efficient energy storage and powering of Li-ion batteries.

What is the Future Scope and Demand of Graphene-Based Technology?

The entire transportation sector plays a decisive role in achieving a carbon-neutral society. The leading economies have imposed strict guidelines on the carbon footprints of vehicles, among other stringent measures. For example, the UK is set to ban all gasoline-powered cars by 2035, while Germany has planned to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 95% by 2050. 

The upcoming decades will be witnessing an electric vehicle revolution due to the associated lower greenhouse gas emissions. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that the annual sales of passenger-electric vehicles are likely to increase five-fold from 1.7 million units in 2020 to 8.5 million units by 2025, with a projected yearly figure of 54 million in 2040. It would amount to roughly 60% share of the global car production.

However, electric vehicles are facing a big challenge today. A recent global survey conducted by Deloitte reveals that one of the biggest concerns the consumers have is the driving range per charge and the vehicle price. Current electric vehicles use large batteries that have long charging times. Moreover, to obtain a longer drive distance, vehicles include more batteries. These batteries increase vehicle's overall weight and energy consumption and make them unaffordable. Although the prices of lithium-ion battery packs have substantially dropped by roughly 90% over the last decade, the limited energy efficiency of batteries increases the operational cost of electric vehicles.

The existing technological challenges and the exponential increase in the demand for battery-powered electric vehicles spotlight the need for energy-efficient battery anode materials and the untapped market potential for Li-ion batteries. Highly energy-efficient batteries would result in fewer batteries needed to power an electric vehicle, thus reducing the overall weight. A vehicle's weight directly impacts its specific fuel consumption: a weight reduction of 10% can save up to 3-7% of fuel. This fact serves as a further motivation highlighting the pressing need for energy-efficient renewable solutions.

Graphex Technologies' spherical graphite directly addresses the efficiency aspects. It produces high-purity, uniform spherical graphite possessing a stable quality that reduces the surface reaction of electrodes. Therefore, a low irreversible capacity loss is maintained that results in prolonged battery life. Due to the dense packing of its sub-micron-sized (6-9 micron) spherical graphite, a high tap density is achieved. It results in high charging and high energy density – thus addressing two persisting challenges of modern-day Li-ion batteries.

The Li-ion battery in an electric vehicle uses roughly 70 kg of spherical graphite. This figure amounts to an increase in the annual requirement of spherical graphite from 0.1 million tons in 2020 to 0.6 million tons in 2025 and almost 3.8 million tons by 2040 in the electric vehicle market alone.

Apart from electric vehicles, Li-ion batteries are used to store renewable energies in efficient advanced solar panels, photovoltaic power stations, and wind farms. Batteries consume 1 kg of spherical graphite per kilowatt of energy. Within the next five years, the projected required annual battery energy storage will be 62 GWh. It would generate a yearly demand of more than 62 million tons of spherical graphite.

Graphex Technologies' current annual production capacity of spherical graphite is around 0.01 million tons, accounting for almost 5% of China's output. These gigantic figures highlight the immense need and potential of spherical graphite in the upcoming decades in China, which is the largest electric vehicle producer presently and globally. One of the biggest strengths making Graphex Technologies a world leader in graphene solutions is its strategic location next to the world's largest high-quality flake graphite source.

Moreover, owning 25 patents for innovative and state-of-the-art processing technology, Graphex Technologies is fully capable of delivering and maintaining its niche in graphene-based, eco-sensitive renewable energy solutions in the Asian and global market. Considering the growing demand for graphene-based solutions, Graphex Technologies has recently expanded its international footprint by launching a strategic alliance in North America. It has also has entered into a Letter of Intent with an exclusive negotiating periodto acquire a majority stake in Shenzhen KYSS Technology Co., Limited (“KYSS”), a China-based producer of graphene lithium-ion

Through its eco-design division, innovative graphene-based solutions also facilitate sustainable energy initiatives that include the efficient design of public and private community projects, urban landscapes, and natural ecologies. The company’s initiative-concept of recharge parks is the first of its kind in the world. These energy-efficient recharge parks will offer charging stations for electric cars and mobile devices.

References 

  1. Climate Action Plan 2050, German Federal Ministry. Available at: https://www.bmu.de/fileadmin/Daten_BMU/Pools/Broschueren/klimaschutzplan_2050_en_bf.pdf
  2. https://www.graphexgroup.com/about-us
  3. https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2021-03-02/earthasia-international-holdings-ltd-etihy-announces-corporate-update
  4. https://www.morningstar.com/news/accesswire/627277msn/earthasia-international-adds-visionary-leader-and-executive-as-chief-strategy-officer-as-company-refines-its-focus-on-renewable-energy
  5. Modaresi et al., Global Carbon Benefits of Material Substitution in Passenger Cars until 2050 and the Impact on the Steel and Aluminum Industries, Environmental Science and Technology, 48, 10776-10784 (2014).
  6. https://about.bnef.com/electric-vehicle-outlook/
  7. Deloitte Insights, Electric vehicles Setting a course for 2030. Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/insights/us/articles/22869-electric-vehicles/DI_Electric-Vehicles.pdf
  8. https://www.automotiveworld.com/articles/electric-vehicles-the-now-the-near-future-and-the-never-again/
  9. https://european-aluminium.eu/media/1326/aluminium-in-cars-unlocking-the-lightweighting-potential.pdf

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