October 5, 2022

Sparc and QUT to Develop Process to Produce Hard Carbon Anode Materials Using Low-Cost, Sustainably Sourced Green Bio-Waste

Sparc and QUT will develop a process for producing hard carbon anode material using low-cost green bio-waste from sustainable sources.

Sparc Technologies Limited (ASX: SPN) (Sparc or the Company) announces that it has entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

The Strategic Partnership Agreement is a framework agreement that will support a long-term partnership and commitment between the parties, granting Sparc the first right of refusal to commercialize technologies developed from projects that Sparc undertakes with QUT.

It also provides a long-term cooperation framework in which Sparc and QUT agree to work together to identify and undertake new projects.

mike bartelChief Executive Officer of Sparc, said:

Sparc is delighted to join QUT in a strategic partnership, starting with a project in the area of ​​battery anodes with the development of a new hard carbon production process.

“Using sustainable and readily available bio-waste will provide Sparc with a strong environmental value proposition over conventional hard carbon sources. promising as an alternative to lithium ion batteries.

“In addition to increased safety for industrial-scale energy storage, the fact that the materials used in sodium ion batteries are accessible and unchallenged as is the case with lithium ion batteries is of a great importance.”

“The Sustainable Hard Carbon Anode project complements the existing knowledge and skills that Sparc has developed through its expertise in graphene and extending this to renewable energy technologies is a natural complement to Sparc’s photocatalytic green hydrogen project. Sparc.”

Professor Sagadevan MundreeQUT Center for Agriculture and Director of Bioeconomy commented:

QUT is very pleased to enter into a strategic partnership with Sparc.

“This relationship is an excellent example of the University’s strong commitment to collaboratively engage with industry partners who seek to gain commercial advantage by being at the forefront of technology.”

Teacher. Deepak DubalQUT Lead researcher School of Chemistry and Physics commented:

We welcome Sparc as a partner, with the first project associated with anode material producing sustainably sourced bio-waste.

“We hope this will open the door to many more exciting R&D opportunities between us.”

Durable Hard Carbon Anode Project

Alongside the signing of the strategic partnership agreement, Sparc has launched a project with QUT that will develop a new process for producing hard carbon using low-cost green bio-waste from sustainable sources targeting the battery industry at sodium ions.

The hard carbon materials will be characterized and tested in a sodium ion cell format at QUT’s world-class facilities for battery development and testing, including the National Battery Testing Center and the Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF). Sparc has also engaged an experienced battery technology consultant to advise on the project and assist with commercialization.

A high performance, low cost, sustainably sourced anode material for sodium ion batteries fills a need for growing alternative battery technology. Existing hard carbon materials typically come from carbonaceous precursors such as pitch (a by-product of the oil and gas industry) that undergo prolonged heating at high temperatures.

This is an energy-intensive process which, combined with a high-emitting raw material, has significant environmental impacts. Additionally, as China is the world’s largest supplier of hard carbon materials, this technology aims to provide an alternative Western source of supply, thereby reducing sovereign risk for cell manufacturers.

The themes of sustainability and the localization of supply chains have gained prominence across industries and are particularly important in batteries where China currently dominates the production of key raw materials and cells.

An example of this is Northvolt’s recent partnership with Stora Enso to develop sustainable batteries using wood-based products from northern forests, with the aim of maintaining the local supply chain.

In performing due diligence on this project, Sparc reviewed a number of battery technologies. Sparc believes that sodium ion batteries have strong market potential, particularly in industrial storage and at grid scale, and that this project fits well with Sparc’s existing expertise. The well-known and documented advantages of sodium ion batteries over lithium ion batteries are contained in Table 1 and can be summarized as follows:

  • Lower cost and greater availability of raw materials.
  • Safety and ease of transport.
  • Manufacturing techniques similar to lithium-ion and therefore can use the same production facilities.

Wood Mackenzie expects sodium ion batteries to take some of LFP’s share of electric passenger vehicles and energy storage, reaching 20 GWh by 2030 in its base case.

CATL launched its first-generation sodium ion battery in 2021. In its press release, the company noted, “CATL invites upstream suppliers and downstream customers, as well as research institutions to jointly accelerate the promotion and the development of sodium ion batteries”.

Reliance Industries, Umicore, EDF and Solvay are other major players involved in the development of sodium ion batteries and their components, which strongly confirms the significant potential of the technology.

One of the main attractions of sodium ion battery technology for Sparc is the ability to leverage its knowledge of graphene materials and production processes. Importantly, compared to lithium-ion technology, sodium-ion batteries are a much less crowded space providing opportunities for Sparc to make an impact.

Material terms of the partnership agreement

The Strategic Partnership Agreement is binding, takes effect immediately and is not subject to any material condition precedent.

The initial term of the agreement is three years and the main objective is to develop functional materials using graphene and carbon and related manufacturing process technologies, for a range of applications including coatings, composites , the cement and energy industries.

There is no cash payment obligation between the parties. Although Sparc believes that the strategic partnership agreement has the potential to create long-term value for the company, Sparc does not expect the strategic partnership agreement to have direct financial impacts on the company in the future. short term.

Strong points:

  • Signature of a strategic partnership agreement with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
  • Sparc and QUT will develop a process for producing hard carbon using low-cost green bio-waste from sustainable sources
  • Goal to produce materials for next-generation sodium ion batteries that have significant potential for grid-scale storage and mobile applications
  • Sustainable Hard Carbon Anode Project Complements Sparc’s Existing Graphene and Renewable Energy Business

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