Low-CO2 Nouveau Monde graphite affirmed
Study shows low global warming potential of Quebec graphite Metal Tech News - July 18, 2022
Last updated 7/19/2022 at 2:04pm
The carbon dioxide emissions of electric vehicles are not measured by exhaust from the tailpipes, but from the greenhouse gasses associated with building and charging these zero-emission vehicles. Understanding this, Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc. has gone to great lengths to minimize the CO2 footprint of the battery-grade graphite anode material it will produce in Quebec.
An independent life cycle assessment verifies that the Canadian company's production of coated spherical purified graphite, the single largest ingredient of the lithium-ion batteries powering EVs, will have a CO2 footprint that is a fraction of the same materials produced in China and elsewhere.
"Clean technologies are very mineral- and energy-intensive. Yet, we have now demonstrated that batteries can be assembled with environmentally-responsible materials," said Nouveau Monde Graphite President and CEO Eric Desaulniers.
Nouveau Monde's operations in Quebec will involve both a graphite mine and manufacturing facility that will upgrade the concentrates produced into battery-grade anode material. When it comes to CO2 emissions, both these operations will benefit from being powered by the plentiful hydroelectricity available in Quebec.
To fully leverage the available hydropower, the company has partnered with Caterpillar Inc. to develop and produce a fleet of all-electric Cat mining equipment for its graphite mine. In addition to pushing down the carbon footprint of digging up graphite at Nouveau Monde's Matawinie mine, this landmark collaboration is helping to advance the development of battery-electric heavy equipment for the mining sector at large.
"From responsible mining to eco-friendly advanced manufacturing, NMG is committed to providing the marketplace with a transparent, reliable and scalable supply of high-purity graphite materials," said Nouveau Monde Graphite Chair Arne Frandsen.
CT Consultant's recently completed assessment shows that graphite materials to be produced by Nouveau Monde will contribute only a fraction of the CO2 emissions as similar materials coming out of China, which accounted for 82% of the world's mined graphite and nearly 100% of the battery-grade anode material produced during 2021.
Nouveau Monde's Quebec operations have a global warming potential of 1.23 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of advanced graphite material produced. The global warming potential of similar material produced in China is 14.1 kg of CO2 per kg, or roughly 11 times higher than Nouveau Monde.
Other graphite mines and advanced materials plants being developed in North America and Europe far outperform China when it comes to CO2 emissions but still have significantly higher global warming potential than Nouveau Monde's Quebec operations.
Almost certainly referring to Syrah Resources Ltd.'s operations, CT Consultant's study shows that a graphite mine in Mozambique and a manufacturing facility in the U.S. has a global warming potential of 6.1 kilograms of CO2 per kg of coated spherical purified graphite. This is less than half the CO2 emissions when compared to China, but nearly five times that calculated for Nouveau Monde's Quebec mine and processing plant.
A Sweden operation also included in the assessment has a global warming potential of 3.1 kilograms of CO2 per kg of advanced graphite material. While very good, still more than double that of Nouveau Monde.
"Our commitment to all-electric operations and responsible production is reaffirmed with these results that position both Québec's hydropower grid and NMG's proprietary technologies as catalysts for low-footprint manufacturing," said Desaulniers.
Nouveau Monde's trailblazing CO2-reduction efforts likely also serve as a leading indicator for lowering the carbon footprint at mining and mineral processing operations as companies continue to adopt new technologies.
The Quebec graphite producer, however, does not intend to rest on its laurels.
"We are committed to seeking opportunities to enhance the properties of our battery materials, optimize technological solutions, reduce our footprint, improve our products' life cycle, and develop recycling processes to help power global decarbonization," the Nouveau Monde CEO added.
An overview of Nouveau Monde's planned mine and coated spherical graphite anode materials plant in Quebec can be read at A feasible Nouveau Monde Graphite plan in the July 6, 2022 edition of Metal Tech News.