the belt

Building Community Capital

At ComCap19, I drank from a firehose of information about local investing, securities law, crowdfunding, and democratizing capital. And had a great time! by Evelyn Wright I just returned from spending four days in Detroit at one of the most inspiring and informative conferences I’ve attended in a long time: Community Capital 2019. This was the fourth gathering of this network of entrepreneurs, lawyers, financial professionals, economic development practitioners, and community organizers dedicated to democratizing and localizing finance and investment. I went because — after several months of researching the opportunities and challenges for cooperatives — I’ve seen that access to...
Mersen

Vertical Integration In Graphite Industry

by Debra Fiakas, CFA Grand View Research, another industry research group, estimates that the graphite market could reach $93 billion by 2025, boosted mostly by new demand for electric vehicle batteries as well as batteries for electronic devices and grid-storage systems.  According to Technavio, an industry research firm, the graphite industry is estimated to grow more than 5% annually through 2025, largely on new demand for highly purified graphite material used in lithium ion battery anodes. Among the immediate beneficiaries of this growth trend are the established graphite producers and those among the most recent entrants that have begun ringing up sales...
Epanko

Canadian and Tanzanian Graphite Connections

A list of graphite companies covered in this series can be found here. Like performance test results, customer relationships are critical stepping stones for graphite developers.  In June 2018, Northern Graphite (NGC: TSX-V) announced a memorandum of understanding with a European trading company to sell 100% of the output from Northern’s Bisset Creek resources in Ontario, Canada.  China-based manufacturers are the intended end-users.  Northern management is using the arrangement as leverage with prospective investors to finance mine infrastructure and processing equipment.  Capital costs are expected to exceed CA$145 million. Northern claims a proprietary purification technology the company intends to use to upgrade its graphite output.    Its Bissett Creek deposit...
Lithium Ion Battery Diagram

Graphite Developers Eye Large Growing Market

The post “Integrated Graphene Producers” featured several graphene producers with novel business models that marry captive graphite sources to the technology and knowhow to produce graphene.  These are not the only graphite producers.  Although not as elegant as graphene with its svelte single-atom profile, the market for graphite has its appeal as well. Graphite has been a staple in steel industry crucibles, foundry molds and automobile brake linings.  These days graphite has moved into another even more important place in cars  -  lithium ion batteries that make electric vehicles viable as replacements for gas guzzling cars and trucks. Spherical graphite is especially desirable because the graphite anodes hold...
albany graphite

Crystalline Graphite

ZEN Graphene Solutions (ZEN:  TSX-V) recently teamed up with the University of Manchester, seat of the two Nobel Prize-winning scientists who are credited with isolating graphene.  ZEN management hopes to work with Manchester on commercialization of graphene for a variety of applications, including concrete, composites, membranes, and sensors. ZEN’s Albany graphite project is located in southeastern Ontario.  In March 2019, the company completed tests on a production process to purify graphite concentrate from its mine.  The purified graphite was near 99.8% carbon per gram and will be used as a precursor material for ZEN’s graphene.   The company plans to use a chemical exfoliation process to convert...
GNOX

Graphene Oxides

Oxides Grafoid, Inc.  has been toiling since 2011 to solve the challenges of scaling graphene production.  The company recently launched a new product group of oxidized graphene material that is being marketed under the brand name GNOX.  The GNOX innovation follows three other product groups of gels, solvents and dispersed graphene material.  Grafoid touts its capacity to produce graphene of high purity and consistency. Privately-held Grafoid is a spin out of Focus Graphite (FMS:  TSX.V).  Focus Graphite still owns significant interest in Grafoid so investors could consider FMS shares as a proxy for a stake in Grafoid.  For all practical purposes the two companies are operated as one entity as they share...
Saint Jean Walker Graphite

Graphite to Graphene Enhanced Gel Batteries

Saint Jean Carbon, Inc. (SJL:  TSX-V) is adding value to its natural graphite resources by integrating forward into the graphene market.  The company owns graphite resources in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario, Canada with historic mining track records. The company is cultivating know-how cultivated for development of battery-grade graphite.  Saint Jean can already supply low volumes of finished and semi-prepared anode or cathode materials.  The company is developing a prototype for a graphene gel salt water battery that is expected to charge faster and perform longer than conventional batteries.  In January 2019, Saint Jean management announced plans to have the battery design ready for sale by...

Integrated Graphene Producers

Graphene is a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atom arranged in a honeycomb lattice.  It is an exceptional conductor of heat and electricity and its strength is unparalleled.  Although synthetic graphite can be used to produce graphene and it offers the benefit of consistency, natural graphite is far less expensive as a source material.  Synthetic graphite is made by combining petroleum coke with carbon black in a high heat process that burns up profits as it purifies the carbon. There are several methods for producing graphene.  Exfoliation of natural graphite is perhaps the most common alternative because it produces the least defects and leaves...

Producing Graphene Filaments

In March 2019, Graphene 3D Lab (GGG:  TSX-V) completed a private placement of 9.4 million units of its common stock and warrants at CA$0.06 per unit to raise CA$525,000 in new capital.  The proceeds will be used for working capital and the company begins commercial sales of its graphene conductive filament.  The filaments are designed for three-dimensional printing of electronic circuitry, sensor or radio frequency shielding. The company is under new management that just took the helm in November 2018.  Earlier new sales leadership in sales had been added to accelerate market penetration.  The team is quick to tell potential customers and investors about its products, but...
Graphene Nanoplatelets

Graphene Nanoplatlets

Applied Graphene Materials (AGM:  LSE) has developed a process for high-volume production of graphene nanoplatelets or ‘stacks of two-dimensional graphene sheets that can be used in coatings, composites and polymers.  The attributes of nanoplatelets are not as impressive as the single layer of carbon atoms that scientists work with on their laboratory benches.  However, nanoplatelets ‘play’ better than single atoms, dispersing more easily into other materials.  Applied’s management says the promise of graphene is better achieved by being practical in transferring its characteristics to other high value materials. Applied’s graphene nanoplatelets are used in a range of products:  paints, coatings, polymers, composites, thermal pastes, and lubricants.  In...
graphene

Making Graphene Powder

The largest producer of graphene material in Canada is NanoXplore, Inc. (GRA:  TSX-V) with its patented technology to produce graphene powders. The company has capacity to produce 25 metric tons per year in a facility that could be modified to 70 metric tons per year. Early on the company got a boost from Canada’s government with a CA$3.3 million project to reduce the footprint of electric-motor-driven systems using graphene-enhanced engineering plastics.  The project was aimed at support development and adoption of electric vehicles. At the beginning of 2019, NanoXplore raised US$31 million in new capital through a private placement of debt to a group of institutional...
Graphene Nanoplatelets

Producing Graphene Materials

Build up of the graphene materials industry has progressed a bit more slowly than originally expected a decade ago as scientists and engineers peered through their electron microscopes at single atoms of carbon and counted their many attributes.  At the time the potential to improve performance in end products like metal alloys and electronics seemed limitless.   Unfortunately, reality has not imitated early dreams.  Those companies that have brought graphene to the commercial market will attest to the challenges of jumping off the laboratory bench and into a factory. Even more frustrating is the sourcing of graphene to use in research, product development and...
graphene superconductor

Graphene-Based Materials

The previous post “Miracle Material” acknowledged the fallout of many of the companies that a decade ago had set out to commercialize that extraordinary form of carbon called graphene.  It is a single atom thick but is a couple hundred times stronger than steel, showing promise for an ultra-lightweight material that could unprecedented performance. Unfortunately, developers found out carbon atoms do not behave as well in a production process as they might on a scientist’s laboratory bench. There are several companies that with perseverance and tenacity have been successful in bringing graphene into our lives. Off the Bench Haydale Graphene Industries (HAYD:  LSE) offers a mix...
graphene

Graphene, Miracle Material

In 2010, when two physicists, Andre Greim and Konstantin Novoselov, won the Nobel Prize for Physics to recognize their work with carbon atoms, there were over 3,000 different companies with ongoing projects to develop commercial materials using their ‘graphene’ breakthrough.  With its hexagon structure of individual carbon atoms, graphene was expected to find applications in so many products, from semiconductors to turbine blades to car tires.  That is because this ‘miracle material’ is the strongest known to man.  Yes, even stronger than its carbon cousin the diamond.  Nine years later most of the throng has fallen by the wayside. Nonetheless, graphene is no bust.  At...

Skin In The Game

Specialty retailers are also joining the packaging revolution.  REN Clean Skincare is a good example of a retailer that is making environmentally-friendly packaging part of its offering.  The company kicked off the campaign with a splashing Earth Day celebration featuring its new partner, the Surfrider Foundation.  The campaign was aimed at making REN customers aware of the need to conserve water and keep beaches clean and plastic-free. The company is selling some of its skincare products in bottles made from plastic reclaimed from the ocean.  The bottle is part of REN’s Clean to Planet initiative to become a 100% zero waste company by 2021.  The bottle...
hasbro toy

Hasbro: Super Heroes Go ‘Green’

Captain Marvel will arrive in a plant-based box if toy manufacturer Hasbro, Inc. (HAS: NYSE)carries out its plans.  A year ago the toy maker pledged to use plant-based PET (polythylene terephthalate) or BioPET for at least 30% of the blister packs and plastic windows used to ship and display everyone’s favorite super heroes. This is not the first of Hasbro’s attempts at more responsible packaging.  By 2015, the company was using recycled and sustainably sourced paper for 90% of its packaging and in-box content.  Additionally, by 2016, Hasbro had already begun using recycled PET, eliminating the use of additional fossil fuels and removing plastic...