What is anode?

An anode in a conventional lithium-ion battery (LIB) is generally termed as the negative electrode and one of the main components of LIBs.

When a LIB is discharged to power electric vehicle (EV), mobile phone, power tool etc., the lithium-ions are extracted from the anode, travel through the electrolyte and the separator and inserted into the positive electrode called cathode. The electric current in the form electrons flow through the external wire and the stored electrical energy is used to do the work.

During the reverse charging process, the lithium ions are inserted back into the anode from the cathode and stored as a form of electrical energy until required.

Graphite As Battery Anode

To date graphite has been applied as the predominant Active Anode Material (AAM) or Battery Anode Material (BAM) comprising around 95 weight % of the anode in LIBs since their commercialisation in 1990s. In LIBs, mainly two types of graphite materials are utilised: Natural Graphite (NG) and Artificial Graphite (AG) or Synthetic Graphite (SG).

AAM produced using NG generally termed as the Coated Spherical Purified Graphite (CSPG) with intrinsically large crystal structure offers several advantages including, higher specific capacity, lower cost raw material and “significantly low energy” and cost-competitive production process over its SG counterpart. Lower emissions with reduced carbon footprint and the relatively low cost of overall production process for NG based AAM will be the key aspects in scrutinising the CSPG as the favourable anode material over the SG anode material for LIB market.

Magnis Battery-Ready AAM

Magnis has demonstrated the production of a high performance, Lithium-ion battery grade CSPG-based AAM utilizing its Nachu graphite feedstock in Tanzania and with the help of its technology partner, C4V. C4V’s innovative, environmentally sustainable, and scalable downstream processing technology to produce CSPG AAM bypasses any harsh chemical and energy-intensive thermal purification usually employed in traditional CSPG production process.

Anode Market

BMI forecast a significant deficit in the supply of anode materials for the Li-ion battery industry from 2025 onwards based on:

  • Expected growth rates in Li-ion batteries; and
  • Lack of supply of raw materials including natural flake graphite
  • The global battery market is growing rapidly with both tier 1 players and start up gigafactories all requiring significant quantities of active anode materials
  • NG based anode market share is anticipated to increase from 35% in 2022 to 49% by 2040 taking over SG and other LIB anode chemistries

To meet demand for anode materials, an estimated 971 natural flake graphite mines will need to be built by 2035.

Anode Active Material Manufacturing Plant 

Magnis plans an (AAM) production facility to deliver sustainable, cost-competitive, high-quality, and high-performance Coated Spherical Graphite (CSPG) anode products in the marketplace for the ever-growing US and European Lithium-ion battery market. The proposed AAM processing facility will strengthen Magnis’ vision of vertically integrating its strategic assets across the lithium-ion battery value chain, as well as meeting the growing supply deficit of critical materials for the broader Lithium-ion battery market. Several locations within the United States are currently being investigated.