Graphex Technologies LLC has finalized a joint-venture agreement with Emerald Energy Solutions to build a 150,000-sq.ft graphite processing plant in Warren, Michigan. The plant – starting up in Q3 2023 – will have an initial capacity of 10,000 metric tons per annum (TPA) of coated spherical graphite, for use in lithium-ion battery anodes.
The battery anode material, spherical graphite, is processed from a flaked form of graphite (crystalline carbon) into an ultra-high-purity (>99.95% C) material with particle sizes from 10 to 25 microns.
The $75-million plant will operate 24 hours a day and employ about 125 workers, supervisors, and managers.
Lithium-ion batteries are the fuel source in use for battery packs that power nearly all electric vehicles in service and planned from North American and global automakers.
Graphex projects that “the global proliferation of EVs over the next decade” will propel the demand for processing capacity for minerals such as graphite, and the Michigan plant’s output may be doubled “relatively quickly to meet increased demand,” according to the partners’ statement on the proposal earlier this year.
“The formation of Graphex Michigan I is a key next step in bringing critical mineral supply chains into the U.S. and a strategic milestone in our global expansion and diversification roadmap,” according to Graphex CEO John DeMaio, who cited the importance of localized graphite supply “by mitigating external geopolitical risks, and by developing next-gen processing and materials here in the U.S.
Emerald Energy Solutions is a Detroit-area designer and developer of manufacturing and processing facilities that already owns and operates the selected site, and it will be responsible for acquisition, design, permitting and regulatory approvals, construction, inspections, and mechanical operation of the new plant.