Nouveau Monde Graphite: sustainable graphite pilot projects kicks off in Canada

A new project in Canada will build a pilot facility to demonstrate a carbon-neutral production strategy for battery-grade graphite materials. Nouveau Monde Graphite (Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Québec, Canada) has signed an agreement with Olin Corp. (Clayton, Missouri, United States) to construct two commercial-scale graphite-purification furnaces within Olin’s existing facility in Bécancour, Québec, which also enables the project to leverage the area’s extensive hydropower infrastructure, reports.

Nouveau Monde Graphite has developed a proprietary thermochemical process, which employs Olin’s chlorine-based products, and enables graphite purity levels exceeding 99.95%, explains Eric Desaulniers, founder, president and CEO of Nouveau Monde Graphite. The process has been tested at laboratory scale, and also at commercial levels using adapted third-party equipment. According to Desaulniers, the access to hydropower is the key differentiator for the project, which will harness this clean energy source to power the world’s first all-electric graphite-extraction operation at an open-pit mine, enabling a vertically integrated, low-carbon operation from graphite ore to battery-grade anode material.

Commissioning of the purification furnaces is scheduled for mid-2021, with an initial nameplate capacity of 1,500 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) of battery-grade graphite. Following an initial optimization phase, the company expects to reach full commercial production on 200,000 m 2 of land adjacent to Olin’s property. “Nouveau Monde targets, with its modular approach, 40,000 m.t./yr production of anode material for the initial phase, with the option to reach 100,000 m.t./yr of conversion capacity as demand increases in the battery and specialty markets,” says Desaulniers, emphasizing that the company’s commercial plant will be carbon-neutral and will repurpose co-products from its operation, further validating the end products’ sustainability.

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