Urbix Inc., the US-based graphite processor, has announced the first stage of its global expansion program by establishing a UK entity. Urbix UK, Ltd. aims to accelerate deployment of local facilities to supply UK and European based automakers and battery industries with Urbix’s advanced materials for anodes. The company aims to supply 30 per cent of EVs in the US, UK and Europe by 2030.
The company will work with UK battery partners to test and validate its CSPG (Coated Spherical Purified Graphite). Early results and feedback from automakers indicated that Urbix’s drop-in graphite replacement is meeting and surpassing current customer specifications. This has substantial downstream benefits, contributing to EV batteries that are more efficient, possess a longer life cycle and achieve a greater energy density at a lower cost.
Urbix, one of the few companies processing graphite outside of China, has developed a proprietary process to produce high-quality CSPG for electric vehicles at a fraction of the cost, energy, time and space. Their modular facilities can be located within a small footprint anywhere in the world and in response to demand; helping automakers remain competitive in the race for electrification. Its expansion to the UK demonstrates its commitment to scaling rapidly around the world to provide automakers with locally processed graphite for electric vehicles.
Nico Cuevas, CEO and Co-founder of Urbix, said: “Companies driving the global energy transition need a reliable supply of high-performing and environmentally-friendly graphite to meet projected demand for electric vehicles. The momentum in the UK and Europe is building every day and establishing Urbix’s presence here is critical to increasing supply chain capacity outside of China. We are looking forward to growing our presence and becoming a part of the UK’s well-established and growing battery ecosystem.”
According to the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the UK needs three to six gigafactories capable of 90GWh of battery capacity by 2030 in order to support the current size of the UK’s car industry. Graphite is the largest material by mass in electric vehicle batteries and is almost entirely processed in China. Lack of diversity in the supply chain is leaving manufacturers exposed to fluctuations in price and shortages expected as early as this year. To meet electric vehicle demand, Benchmark Minerals Intelligence predicts European (including UK) demand for graphite will reach 916,000 tonnes annually (for EVs, Energy Storage Systems and portables).
Urbix’s CSPG graphite is processed using just 10 per cent of the energy, 6 per cent of the acid, 7 per cent of the time and double the yield compared to existing processes. Urbix’s method benefits from a highly resilient supply chain as it is compatible with raw graphite from multiple global locations meaning it is not dependent on a single source of graphite and does not need to source from China. The company is currently commissioning its 1,000-tonne capacity pilot line and expects to be at 32,000 tonnes per year full-scale production by 2024.