Leading Edge Materials Corp. (TSXV: LEM) (Nasdaq First North: LEMSE ) (OTCQB: LEMIF), Vancouver, Canada, announces the participation of its subsidiary Woxna Graphite AB in the newly launched research project “Graphite and graphene as battery electrodes” which is part of the Vinnova funded competence centre Batteries Sweden (“BASE”). Vinnova is the Swedish government agency that administers state funding for research and development.
The Project will research the utilization of natural graphite for battery applications through determination of functionality of the natural graphite in batteries, the addition of silicon to the graphite particles, long-term stability and characterization and optimization of the surface chemistry. The latter will look at innovative technologies for tailoring of the surface chemistry by for example surface coatings, covalent functionalization and artificial Solid Electrolyte Interphases.
BASE was created as an alliance for ultrahigh performance batteries with a long-term vision to address the energy storage challenges associated with the transition to a fossil-free society by developing new types of lightweight, inexpensive, sustainable and safe ultra-high-energy storage batteries. The competence centre, coordinated by the Ångström Laboratory and the renowned battery scientist Professor Kristina Edström at Uppsala University, was granted SEK 34,000,000 in funding by the Swedish governmental innovation agency Vinnova. The partners of BASE are leading Swedish academic institutions and industrial companies spanning the battery value chain; Uppsala University, Chalmers University of Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, ABB, Volvo, Altris, Comsol, Graphmatech, Insplorion, Northvolt, SAFT, Scania, Stena Recycling, Volvo Cars and Woxna Graphite.
Filip Kozlowski, CEO, states “Being part of this project is a great opportunity for Woxna Graphite to contribute to the long-term vision of the Batteries Sweden alliance. Being able to supply natural graphite from Sweden could enable sustainable high-performance battery materials of the future. One of the focus areas, surface modification of spherical purified natural graphite is a key area of innovation to enable improved performance and cycle life for lithium-ion battery anodes.”
Woxna Graphite AB is the owner of one of the western world’s few permitted and fully built graphite mines, located in central Sweden near the town of Edsbyn. The Woxna graphite mine and production facility is comprised of four graphite deposits each with a mining lease, an open pit mine, a processing plant and tailings dam, located close to the town of Edsbyn, Sweden. Due to market conditions for traditional graphite markets the operation has been kept on a production-ready basis. Ongoing development is directed towards test work focused on the possible production and modification of high purity graphite using thermal purification technologies for emerging high growth high value markets, one such example being the lithium-ion battery industry. Other potential high-value end-markets being investigated are purified micronized graphite for metallurgical and electroconductive additives and purified large flake graphite as a precursor for the production of expandable graphite suitable as a feed for graphite foils and fuel cell bipolar plates. The purification and modification of natural graphite is very energy intensive and having access to low cost low carbon footprint hydropower offers the potential to become a market leader in terms of sustainability.