Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group (MCHG) will increase the production capacity of natural graphite anode material from 2,000 tons/year to 12,000 tons/year at its Chinese subsidiary Qingdao Anode Kasei and affiliated company Qingdao Lingda Kasei. The production line is scheduled to start operation in the first half of fiscal 2023.
MCHG has also begun to consider the production and sale of anode materials in European countries and the United States.
The market for Li-ion batteries for automobile applications is expected to grow about 30% annually on average. Pari passu, demand is increasing for high-quality and eco-friendly anode materials, a key component of the batteries, available for automotive applications.
Anode materials are currently generally made from artificial or natural graphite. MCHG offers advantages in its natural graphite anode products that emit less GHGs during the production process and have an excellent life cycle assessment.
Additionally, using its originally developed technology (patented), MCHG has newly developed and provided a higher-grade product that prevents batteries from swelling and adversely affecting battery life, and surpasses artificial graphite-based materials in performance.
Meanwhile, the movement to manufacture batteries locally for automobile applications in North America and Europe is becoming active with auto makers and battery cell makers implementing supply chain strategies. To meet the demand, MCHG has begun to consider securing the procurement of natural graphite-based materials, as well as production and sales in the United States and European countries through collaboration with international companies that own Natural Graphite operations and resources.
As the first step of the initiative, MCHG signed two memorandums of understanding this May toward a commercial arrangement with Syrah Resources Ltd. (Syrah; Victoria, Australia), the world’s largest integrated producer of flake graphite with production in Mozambique and integrated active anode material production in USA, and Mineral Commodities Ltd. (MRC; Western Australia, Australia), which owns an operating graphite mine in Norway and a graphite project in Australia.
MCHG will perform further technical assessments to identify whether MCHG’s Anode material production technology is optimized with the source graphite materials, and will then negotiate the details toward future collaboration.