Lithium-ion batteries have a very high energy density which enables them to store large amounts of electricity. The battery anodes require 10-20 times more flake graphite than lithium carbonate. The average hybrid electric car uses more than 10kg of graphite in its battery, a fully electric car uses up to 70kg and an electric bus uses more than 250kg. High end technological applications such as lithium-ion batteries require large flake, high purity (high carbon content) graphite. This is why flake graphite commands a premium pricing.
Fuel cells are energy conversion devices that convert fuel such as hydrogen into electrical energy. Within the fuel cell, the proton exchange membrane requires large quantities of graphite. Fuel cells of all sizes are currently emerging in the electronics and utility sectors where they can provide emergency power.
Tesla showcasing the growing demand for Lithium-ion batteries
The increasing demand for graphite is highlighted by Tesla, who is currently building a Gigafactory in Nevada. The Gigafactory is expected to reach full capacity in 2020. Their planned production rate for electric cars is 500,000 per year. The Gigafactory will produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013.
For more information see the Tesla website
Hexagon is targeting these applications, but is also able to diversify its product offering into high-growth industrial applications, for example the partial displacement of synthetic graphite with McIntosh high purity graphite to enhance the electric performance characteristic in electric arc furnaces (EAF).