A sample of Zenyatta’s high purity graphite powder.
A sample of Zenyatta’s high purity graphite powder.

Zenyatta Ventures Ltd says that it has made progress on its project to determine possible uses for the graphite powder produced from its mine in Albany, Canada.

 Experts believe that graphene could be used for a range of innovative cleantech applications, including low-cost solar cells, super computers and rapid charge batteries. However, one obstacle to its widespread use is the high manufacturing cost for high-quality graphene.  A lower-cost approach is to use high-purity natural graphite.

The goals of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Collaborative Research and Development (NSERC CRD) project, run by Dr Aicheng Chen, Professor of Chemistry at Lakehead University are: to characterize the physical and chemical properties of Zenyatta’s Albany graphite, to understand its electrochemical behaviours, to modify the graphite for practical applications and to develop advanced carbon nanomaterials such as graphene from the Albany graphite. 

 Since the beginning of the project  Dr. Chen and his research group report significant advances in the characterization the material graphite and the development of new materials from it for practical applications.  Initial results indicate that high quality graphene oxides can be produced from Albany graphite at a laboratory scale, which can in turn be converted to graphene via a simple reduction process.  Preliminary graphene yields of approximately 98% from Zenyatta’s Albany graphite emerge from these tests.

Potential opportunities

‘From an analytical perspective, the Albany graphite meets all the stringent requirements for a high-quality product, encompassing high-purity, crystallinity, thermal stability, and high surface area,’ said Dr. Chen. ‘Interestingly, the crystallinity found in Zenyatta’s Albany graphite was greater than that of commercially available graphite samples which were also tested for comparative purposes. These initial studies indicate that there are great potential opportunities for the utilization of this product in multiple practical applications. For example, these graphite derivatives will be explored for their medical, energy and environmental technology applications.’

This story uses material from Zenyattawith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.