Energy Metals: Powering The Future
For most of us the sight of a hybrid vehicle driving down the street, a student peering over a laptop or texting on their iPhone is a common sight. More and more plug-in cars and SUVs like Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) are hitting the roads.
It is easy to think the source of energy to run these marvels coming from an electric outlet in our home or garage. The reality is quite the opposite. Each of these marvels run on one-of-several types of batteries. The source of materials that represent the heart of batteries are known as energy metals. Elements like graphite, cobalt, nickel and lithium. To get an idea of just how important energy metals are to the future of the global economy, let’s first look at a few measures.
Electric Vehicles And Graphite
Demand for graphite is estimated to increase fast thanks to the electric vehicle market. For example, there is 54kg of graphite in the battery anode of each Tesla Model S. This type of long-life time requirement requires a high level of purity and consistency that is difficult to achieve with natural graphite.
The well-respected consulting firm Avicenne Energy forecasts the demand for artificial carbon graphite will grow 15% annually through 2025 from less than 40,000 to 140,000 tons. In a global economy expected to grow 2%-3%, this represents an attention-getting projection.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence forecasts that the overall market for natural and synthetic graphic will at least triple in size from 80,000 tons to at least 250,000 tones by 2020.
According to Future Market Insights, the global graphite market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.70% between 2017 and 2027. The estimate notes that natural and synthetic graphite’s role in electric vehicles, refractories, and more, as a key driver for the growth.
“Traditional” Electronics Battery Markets: Still Growing Above Average
If you thought that traditional consumer electronic products like mobile phones, laptop computers, and TVs had reach a peak, the research staff at Avicenne Energy would disagree. They are projecting a 6% annual growth through 2025, bringing total annual sales to more than 55 billion units.
Next to electric vehicles this may appear a bit dull. Nevertheless, it represents a pace 2- 3 times faster than the rest of the world. That is still pretty impressive.
Increasing Energy Efficiency & Power
When viewed in terms of the growth in the number of consumer products consuming lithium and other energy metals, the growth is impressive. However, when viewed by the amount of energy created, it is an even more impressive growth of 17% annually going from 60 million (mgh) to 190 million (mgh) by 2025.
All this translates into consistent and growing needs for lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel and other related energy metals. How can anyone make long term forecasts like these with confidence? After all we are dealing with technology and that usually means changes can happen almost overnight. To understand why, let’s take a look at the following.
Long Innovation Period
The research and development and thus time to market in this industry is very long. It takes between 10 & 20 years to commercialize a new material in the battery industry.
Sony launched the first Li-ion battery in 1991 with LCO cathode, graphite, and LiPF6 electrolyte & polyolefin membrane. It was 20 years ago.
LTO was invented by Matsushita in 1993 (22 years ago) Lithium iron phosphate was invented in 1995 (20 years ago).
Great Lakes Graphite Inc. (to be renamed NovoCarbon Corp.) (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK)
In the face of ever-growing demand, NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) looks to be a key supplier. The NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) name change is still subject to shareholder approval before being finalized.
The dba NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) was chosen to reflect an important change in their business over the past four years. NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) operates as a clean technology minerals processing company supplying customers with innovative, high quality value-added products.
Today, there is no significant graphite production in North America. Most domestic consumption is imported from China. This has resulted in a wide variance in quality and delivery scheduling of Asia-sourced production. The current inefficiencies within the market creates a major opportunity for NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK).
Over the past four years NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) has assembled a graphite supply chain to provide customers with absolute assurance of timeliness and product quality. The supply chain begins in mining-friendly jurisdictions like Brazil where multiple sources have the capacity of over 120,000 tons annually. Sources contracted in Madagascar, Guinea, West Africa, Canada and Australia beginning in 2019 and beyond create an additional 50,000 annual tones of supply.
This means in the years ahead, NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) can assure customers quality supplies controlling such variables as purity, particle size and shape.
Key manufacturing partnerships add to core capabilities. This includes Shamokin Carbons, which can provide more than 150,000 annual tons of micronization services. When it comes to thermal purification and related production services, Ashland Advanced Materials provides over 4,000 annual tons of capacity.
On the technology side, NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) has key partnerships with Chasm Advanced Materials, Inc. and Delphi Scientific, LLC. Both companies have joint partnerships with NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) in product development.
All this and NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) will be one of the only domestic suppliers serving this growing customer base. This creates a winning combination for customers.
A Look At The Sizable End Product Markets
Lead Acid Battery: Battery anode material for the light vehicle market. NovoCarbon is in the final stage of qualification with the largest North American manufacturer of lead acid batteries. 2018 sales potential: 500+ tons.
Redox Flow Battery: NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) has received qualification from an Australian stationary storage manufacturer and is finalizing the purchase order while at the same time, is in the qualification process with several others. 2018 sales potential: 100-300 tons.
Lithium-ion Battery: Material for battery anodes. NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) has qualified its product with a large EV manufacturer in North America. Sales potential for 2018 will be limited only by production capacity.
Advanced Carbon Products & Massachusetts-Based Battery Materials Lab
NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) is actively working with their major strategic partner, Chasm Advanced Materials, developing next generation battery anode materials that utilize graphic and carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have extraordinary thermal conductivity that make them ideal for creating smaller far more efficient energy.
The joint partnership is working on establishing a Battery Materials Lab at Chasm Advanced Materials’ Canton, Massachusetts-based facility. Once the Battery Materials Lab is completed, the joint partnership will file an application for certification by the State of Massachusetts.
“It is anticipated that burgeoning growth in battery and energy storage application will drive significant demand for the materials analysis, consulting, and product development services that will be provides through the Lab.”
NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) maintains a market cap of $5.30 million, as of June 2018. Furthermore, the company maintains a share structure consisting of 132.66 million shares outstanding and a float of 106.88 million shares, as of June 2018.
As we stated earlier, there is no significant lithium-ion battery anode material produced in the US. The US market is comprised of small slow-moving family businesses. Domestic sourced materials are becoming increasingly important to manufacturers. This confirms the wisdom of NovoCarbon Corp.’s (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) business direction.
The executive team headed by CEO Paul Gorman, CMO Paul Ferguson and CFO Rob Suttie bring decades of senior level experience to NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK). Michael Coscia, Sr. VP of Sales and Director has over 30 years’ experience in the chemicals and minerals industries. His contribution covers a wide range including sales, marketing, technology and product development.
Chief Science Officer Dr. Borovsky earned his Ph.D. in applied electrochemistry from the Institute of Electrochemistry, Academy of Sciences in Moscow. For more than 20 years he has specialized in the use of carbon materials for energy-related applications.
On May 16, 2018, the company announced the critical decisions that open their business to the public. Here are the highlights:
Trading of the company’s shares on the TSX Venture Exchange began on May 17, 2018. The Company has signed a Definitive Agreement to sell its Lochaber Graphite Property in Quebec to Saint Jean Carbon. The Company is currently rebranding as NovoCarbon and formed a US subsidiary under that brand. Each of these steps enables the company to focus on its plan to achieve maximum growth.
On June 13, 2018, NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) announced that it has reached a lawsuit settlement with Ontario Graphite, Ltd. Under the terms of the settlement, NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) will issue Ontario Graphite, Ltd. 7 million common shares of GLK and all other related lawsuits across both parties will be dismissed.
Overall, we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what energy metals like graphite and lithium are capable of on a greater scale. Electric vehicles continue to gain steam, global acceptance, and adoption. As our reliance on fossil fuels is expected in decline in the coming decades, energy storage technologies powered by energy metals will reign supreme. NovoCarbon Corp. (OTCQB: GLKIF) (TSXV: GLK) is one such company that is taking the necessary steps to position itself as a major benefactor of this phenomenon.
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