The Company’s manufacturing accomplishment was achieved under the direction of Dr. Joseph Doninger, Focus’ Director of Manufacturing and Technology, and follows the Company’s original May 27, 2014 announcement of the development of its premium standard (medium) and fine battery grades, and; its subsequent August 8, 2016 announcement of the successful purification of Lac Knife’s fine grade material to 99.99% purity which is shown in the following Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) photomicrograph of a flake of purified Lac Knife graphite.
SEM of Purified Lac Knife Flake Graphite
Focus Graphite’s new Superfine Grade graphite product development was first presented to the 34th International Battery Symposium (IBS) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by Dr. Doninger on March 21, 2017.
- Market introduction of Focus’ first Superfine coated spherical graphite
- Enlarges Company’s potential customer base
- Expands Focus Graphite’s value-added product range
Focus Graphite’s development and introduction of a Superfine Grade to the battery market represents a milestone in the Company’s ongoing efforts to continuously improve its products to meet industry demands and are intended for use in various lithium-ion battery applications. The 1st cycle Galvanostatic curves in Figure 1 show that the new Superfine grade of spherical graphite has a very high reversible capacity of 360 mAh/g and low first cycle loss of only 1.19%.
INITIAL GALVANOSTATIC CHARGE-DISCHARGE CURVES FOR SUPERFINE GRADE OF COATED SPG D50 = 11.9μm
Dr. Doninger said the main benefit of the Superfine Grade is based upon the physical reality of the graphite’s performance within the anode of a lithium ion battery.
“As the particle size decreases, the time it takes for the lithium-ion to transfer into the graphite structure during charging and out during discharging, thereby improving charging rates,” he said. An SEM photomicrograph of the Superfine Grade of the Lac Knife spherical graphite is shown below.
SEM of Superfine Grade of Lac Knife Spherical Graphite
The particle size distribution curves for the new Superfine Grade of spherical graphite are compared with the Standard and Fine Grade curves in Fig. 2 and show that Focus now offers a wide range of particle sizes to meet the demands of the battery industry.
PARTICLE SIZE DISTRIBUTIONS OF SUPERFINE, FINE AND STANDARD GRADES OF LAC KNIFE SPG
Dr. Doninger noted that the high Reversible Capacity of 360 mAh/g, low Irreversible Capacity Loss of 1.19% and low surface area of 0.89 m2/g for the new Superfine Grade of spherical graphite compare very favorably with the Lac Knife’s Standard and Fine grades introduced in 2014 as shown in Table 1.
COMPARISON OF THE ELECTROCHEMICAL PERFORMANCE OF THREE GRADES OF LAC KNIFE SPHERICAL GRAPHITE (SPG)
The Company knows of no other junior graphite developer today with a deposit capable of competitively converting their fine flake component to battery grade production.
Focus Graphite President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Economo said the Company’s ongoing R&D and materials testing aims to position Focus as a commercially competitive and important source of new graphite products for next generation energy storage and production.
Focus is currently engaged in battery testing with more than 20 potential end-users and seven universities and government laboratories.
“The key to growth of our value-added products stems from our technology vision of investing in those in-house process developments that meet future demands of the battery manufacturing industry,” Mr. Economo said.
“In this regard, and as evidenced by the periodic publications of data in support of our progress, Focus remains committed to achieving its long-held goal of unlocking shareholder value from that technology vision,” Mr. Economo said.
As a technology graphite developer, Focus is deeply engaged in R&D and development of graphite concentrate and value added products for a low carbon economy.
Focus has established a recent history of technological successes by designing processes leading to superior performing coated spherical graphite for use in battery anodes and high performing expanded graphite for use in Li-Ion battery cathodes.
The Company’s proprietary, low temperature process, developed by a Focus Graphite technical team headed by Dr. Doninger, is believed to be more efficient than very high temperature thermal purification and is suitable for the removal of specific types of impurities found in the Lac Knife graphite deposit.
Focus’ low temperature process versus conventional very high temperature purification processes obviates the use of large amounts of energy – one of the largest single cost components of graphite purification.
Focus Graphite has acquired an intimate understanding of both the future needs of the battery manufacturing sector and trends in that sector as a long-standing Board Member of Chicago-based NAATBatt International (the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries).
Holding the ability to purify Lac Knife’s fine flakes expands the company’s potential to sell substantially more of the graphite extracted from Lac Knife into high-value, high-tech applications instead of approximately 30 percent being sold for lower value industrial applications.
The path from graphite product development to the battery manufacturers’ testing labs is a lengthy, multi-step process.
Staged R&D testing is a prerequisite to the sale, or offtake, of any manufactured graphite for use in lithium-ion, alkaline and lead-acid batteries in the automobile, consumer, medical equipment, tools, hand-held industrial devices and aviation manufacturing industries or with military equipment suppliers.
Dr. Joseph Doninger, Focus Graphite’s Director of Technology and Manufacturing is the Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects – has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release. Dr. Doninger is an internationally recognized graphite processing expert and himself, the inventor of a number of patents and an author of over 27 technical papers and presentations related to graphite processing and the use of graphite in energy storage systems. Dr. Doninger is a co-editor on the NATO Science Series book titled “New Carbon Based Materials for Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems”. Dr. Doninger is also an Honorary Professor at the Department of Chemistry from the Kiev National University of Technologies and Design.
About Focus Graphite
Focus Graphite Inc. is an advanced exploration and mining company with an objective of producing graphite concentrate at its wholly-owned Lac Knife flake graphite deposit located 27 km south of Fermont, Québec. In a second stage, to meet Quebec stakeholder interests of transformation within the province and to add shareholder value, Focus is evaluating the feasibility of producing value added graphite products including battery-grade spherical graphite.
Focus Graphite is a technology-oriented graphite mining development company with a vision for building long-term, sustainable shareholder value. Focus also holds a significant equity position in graphene applications developer Grafoid Inc.
For more information about Focus Graphite, please visit www.focusgraphite.com.
Forward Looking Statement
This News Release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. All information contained herein that is not clearly historical in nature may constitute forward-looking information. Generally, such forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved”. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: (i) volatile stock price; (ii) the general global markets and economic conditions; (iii) the possibility of write-downs and impairments; (iv) the risk associated with exploration, development and operations of mineral deposits; (v) the risk associated with establishing title to mineral properties and assets; (vi) the risks associated with entering into joint ventures; (vii) fluctuations in commodity prices; (viii) the risks associated with uninsurable risks arising during the course of exploration, development and production; (ix) competition faced by the Company in securing experienced personnel and financing; (x) access to adequate infrastructure to support mining, processing, development and exploration activities; (xi) the risks associated with changes in the mining regulatory regime governing the Company; (xii) the risks associated with the various environmental regulations the Company is subject to; (xiii) risks related to regulatory and permitting delays; (xiv) risks related to potential conflicts of interest; (xv) the reliance on key personnel; (xvi) liquidity risks; and (xvii) the risk of potential dilution through the issue of common shares.
Forward-looking information is based on assumptions management believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made, including but not limited to, continued exploration activities, no material adverse change in metal prices, exploration and development plans proceeding in accordance with plans and such plans achieving their stated expected outcomes, receipt of required regulatory approvals, and such other assumptions and factors as set out herein. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information. Such forward-looking information has been provided for the purpose of assisting investors in understanding the Company’s business, operations and exploration plans and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is made as of the date of this News Release, and the Company does not undertake to update such forward-looking information except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
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