Hydro-Québec and NMG collaborate on R&D for graphite anodes in Li-ion batteries

Hydro-Québec (HQ) and Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) are pleased to announce the signing of a license and research and development agreements with respect to the processing of graphite for use in lithium-ion batteries. This collaboration will hopefully enable NMG to commercialise battery material technologies developed by HQ over the past 30 years, helping to position Québec strategically in the lithium-ion battery market.

“Graphite-based anode material for lithium-ion batteries is a globally accepted mature technology whose large-scale commercialisation could potentially change transportation and energy storage methods,” said Karim Zaghib, General Director – Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage, at Hydro-Québec. « We are looking forward to work with NMG, right here in our province of Quebec, where easy access to energy and natural resources gives a competitive edge to, and consolidates, the North-American lithium-ion battery market supply chain.”

“We’re honoured to be working with one of the most prestigious battery material labs in the world and to act as a vector bringing these innovative technologies developed here in Québec to market,” said Éric Desaulniers, NMG’s President and CEO. “We already expect to create close to 180 regional jobs with our graphite mine and plant for the secondary processing of natural graphite. This announcement complements our initial project and demonstrates our intention to maximise the spinoffs from Québec graphite, and will probably lead to the creation of new high-quality jobs in this high-tech sector.”

The agreement provides for HQ to assist NMG in setting up a small-scale process in its demonstration plant in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, starting by the end of this year. The success of this small-scale process will lead NMG to eventually build an anode material fabrication plant with a capacity of up to 100,000 t per year. This anode material fabrication plant is in addition to and complements NMG’s mining project. NMG will support in part the needs for graphite of the anode material fabrication plant. To support these projected 100,000 t per year, NMG intends to enter into supply agreements with other graphite suppliers. Some high-level samples testing are already being conducted to determine the compatibility of graphite coming from another supplier, further sampling testing will be done.

The deal between HQ and NMG includes a license and a Research and development agreement respecting the processing of graphite for use in lithium-ion batteries. The agreements will enable NMG to use HQ’s patented technologies for the micronisation, spheronisation, purification and natural graphite coating to serve the lithium-ion battery market.

The partnership’s objectives are as follows:

  • HQ and NMG will develop a functional and cost-effective process to transform flake graphite into high-quality graphite products suitable for lithium-ion batteries.
  • HQ will assist NMG in its material qualification processes with leading lithium-ion battery manufacturers.
  • HQ will assist NMG in the small-scale industrialization of its process in its demonstration plant in Saint-Michel-des-Saints.
  • Any new intellectual property developed from this partnership will be jointly owned by HQ and NMG on a 50/50 basis.