Tirupati Graphite plc, the fully integrated, revenue generating, specialist graphite producer and graphene developer with operations in Madagascar and India, has successfully completed trials and tests for the manufacture of battery grade spherical graphite (SPG), used in the anode of lithium-ion batteries (LiB), in tandem with a globally recognised German manufacturer of spheroidisation and micronisation equipment, achieving significant results in the end SPG product.

        Shishir Poddar, executive chairman & CEO of Tirupati Graphite.

Shishir Poddar, executive chairman & CEO of Tirupati Graphite, says, “With EV markets evolving faster than ever before and an increased focus on reducing emissions from mobility, coupled with the daily evolving geo-political situations, it is an extremely important and opportune time for us to concentrate our efforts in fast tracking the development of commercial capacities for spherical graphite manufacturing. Our green credentials with zero-waste purification technology give us the ability to manufacture and supply our SPG products to EV makers as a preferred source, and we are very well positioned to benefit as an eco-friendly ex-China source of this critical material.

“Global leaders are driving the exponential growth worldwide in EV adoption in order to achieve targets under the Paris Agreement, amongst other accords. While the United Kingdom has launched a green industrial revolution; the US government’s vehicle fleet is expected to be replaced by EVs assembled in the US, an initiative led by President Joe Biden.  Change is also afoot in the Netherlands where significant purchase subsidies brought in earlier this year are forecast to multiply sales in 2021, with December 2020 achieving the country’s largest number of EV sales to date. India is advancing its plan to achieve an 100% shift to EVs by 2030 alongside many other countries. The impact is now visible in increasing EV sales worldwide,” he says.

“We feel privileged to contribute to the global rally for electric mobility and we are excited to be able to expedite our SGP developments in order to meet increasing demand, and in doing so, we are well positioned to take advantage of the EV boom. I look forward to updating our shareholders as we evolve further, working to become a frontrunner in the global SPG market for batteries and EVs.”

The company has been working in partnership with a world recognised German manufacturer of micronisation and spheroidisation equipment, to develop commercial scale equipment to manufacture SPG. Using flake graphite produced at its primary Madagascar operations and further purified in India to >99,95% utilising the company’s novel zero-hydrofluoric acid non-pyrometallurgical zero-waste eco-friendly purification technology for the development, a series of tests and optimisations were successfully completed resulting in the development of a three-step manufacturing process of battery-grade spherical graphite.

Significant achievements in the trials included a yield of up to 68,4% and average of 45,8% spherical graphite from feedstock, which compares with generally reported about 35% yield using Chinese equipment; and tapped density of up to 962g/l and average of 933g/l which is in the higher side of the required range.

The company has commissioned the development of the first in a series of 3 000 tpa commercial scale SPG production plants with a target to maximise yield percentage and tapped density at the higher end of the results achieved in trials. The development process will generate bulk samples, which will be provided to potential customers for critical qualification steps to become a supplier. 

Notably, the company is already in discussions with prospective buyers including auto majors expediting their EV roll-out strategies. With automakers focussing on developing green supply chains for electric vehicles, Tirupati is well positioned to be a preferred supplier for SPG accredited to its sustainable and green in-house developed technologies in each area of the business.

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