Graphex Technologies, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Graphex Group Limited, has entered into an exclusive non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) to form a joint venture with Michigan-based Emerald Energy Solutions LLC (“EES”) for constructing and operating a graphite processing facility. The joint venture is considering several Michigan sites as well as other sites for the facility. Final decision and site selection is expected in March and is subject to agreements being reached with state and local governments and agencies. Graphex expects that a facility could be operational before the end of Q2 2023 with an initial capacity to deliver 10,000 metric tons per annum (TPA) of coated spherical graphite used in EV battery anodes and may increase the capacity to 20,000 TPA relatively quickly to meet increased demand.
Processed spherical graphite is the predominant anode material used in most lithium-ion batteries for EVs and renewable energy storage. The processing and supply of coated spherical graphite is expected to significantly increase every year to satisfy the skyrocketing demand for EVs. With EVs expected to make up 45% of all vehicles sold in the United States by 2035, the advantages for anode material processing within the U.S. alone are significant. Domestic facilities with the expertise and proven capability to produce high-quality anode materials at scale will create localized stable supply and reduce potential logistical and geopolitical interruptions.
Graphex, a global leader in the industry, has been proficient in commercial graphite processing since 2013 and is currently producing over 10,000 metric tons of spherical graphite annually. Its operation is highly scalable and repeatable. Graphex expects to leverage its experience and expertise in the processing of high-quality graphite anode material globally and to open the Michigan facility quickly. Graphex possesses patents and utility models covering various technological, design, and processing applications in addition to trade secrets and technological expertise. Graphex’s senior executives include individuals with proven sophisticated experience and knowledge in production methodology for producing spherical graphite and coating.
“The establishment of a US-based facility represents one of many steps in Graphex’s expansion plans,” said John DeMaio, President of the Graphene Division of Graphex. “While localizing this integral element of the EV supply chain certainly creates commercial opportunity, we are equally pleased to be able to import technological expertise and create well-paying jobs in the U.S. as we support the energy transition at a foundational level. We also could not be more pleased than to partner with EES in this venture. Their long-term local presence, skill, experience, and stellar reputation for specialized construction and power installations can bring this facility from plans to plant quickly and economically. We have choices, and we would like to choose Michigan — and the opportunity to work with EES is a key driver in that decision.”
EES is led by lifelong Michiganders and maintains a large team of local professionals experienced in handling all aspects of the design, construction, regulatory, supply sourcing, legal, and financial affairs for building first class manufacturing and processing facilities in the Detroit metropolitan area as well as other states. Its affiliated entity currently operates Emerald Business Park, a 23-acre industrial park in Warren, MI featuring a 12-megawatt power substation and 400,000 rentable square feet. The complex was recently upcycled into several manufacturing and first-class processing facilities, accommodating specialized processing equipment and critical environmental climate controls for a highly regulated industry.
“Global EV growth creates unprecedented demand for battery materials and graphite continues to be a key material in future battery chemistries. Detroit is positioning itself to be a global leader not only in traditional automobile manufacturing, but also the leader in EV manufacturing,” said David Halabu, Managing Partner of EES. “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. No better place than the Motor City to see the electrical vehicle future come to reality.”
Under the MOU, the EES team will primarily be responsible for site assessment and selection, inspections, acquisitions, design, regulatory approval, construction, and mechanical operation of the facility, and will also provide office and administrative support for the joint venture. In addition, EES will have primary responsibility for providing and/or obtaining the requisite funding and capital to purchase, construct, and operate the facility. EES will manage all governmental and regulatory concerns. Graphex will provide the patents, trade secrets, technological knowhow, and expertise necessary to construct and operate the facility. Appropriate Graphex personnel will be involved in all stages of development and operation of graphite processing and pitch coating. Graphex will arrange for the supply of the necessary graphite material to be processed at the facility.