Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (“Zenyatta” or “Company”) (TSXV: ZEN) is pleased to disclose that a first step screening has occurred on Albany graphite with positive results for use in multiple components for fuel cells. As a second step the Company now plans to work further with a global leader in fuel cell technology to build actual components from high purity Albany graphite. This research into fuel cell innovation is supported by technical and advisory services, and a financial contribution from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).
The initial screening by a global leader, which is under a confidentiality agreement, was conducted for purity, particle size, corrosion resistance and other desirable properties for use in fuel cells. These tests showed Zenyatta’s graphite material to be suitable for use in hydrogen fuel cells with further advanced testing planned. Testing results were obtained from a lab-scale sample provided by SGS Canada Inc. (‘SGS’) solely for the purpose of providing early evaluation on the suitability and effectiveness of Albany graphite in various applications.
Highlights: • Early testing shows Albany graphite to be suitable for hydrogen fuel cell components • Company plans to build and test fuel cell components in the near future • Collaboration with a major fuel cell provider was assisted by funding provided by Government of Canada
Dr. Bharat Chahar, VP of Market Development for Zenyatta stated, “Purity and particle size of the material provided by SGS processing was already in the range needed for fuel cell applications, therefore no further milling or purification was needed. Due to simple mineralogy, high crystallinity and desirable particle size distribution, Zenyatta graphite has shown first screening specification ranges needed for the hydrogen fuel cell components. While further tests are ongoing to verify other performance characteristics, this initial feedback on results is extremely encouraging and quite promising for our upcoming advanced testing.”
Based on research and dialogue with end-users, at this point in time, Zenyatta expects to have a targeted market application segmentation which includes 20-25% for high purity graphite in Fuel Cell products, 25-30% in Lithium-ion batteries and 25-30% in powder metallurgy. Powder metallurgy and the remaining 15-30% target applications will be discussed in upcoming news releases.
Zenyatta commenced a market development program several months ago to initiate validation of Albany graphite in high purity graphite applications. Since the start of this program, the Company has had detailed conversations with more than 35 graphite end-users, academic labs and third party testing facilities in Europe, North America and Asia under confidentiality agreements. Many of these organizations requested a specified amount of purified Albany graphite produced at the SGS Lakefield site during the development of a process flow sheet pursuant to a preliminary economic assessment (‘PEA’) which is currently being completed. The samples produced at SGS are experimental in nature and may differ slightly from batch to batch and may also differ from the final product in the future. However these samples are representative of the product that could be processed and provide a good initial assessment and guidance for the potential of Albany graphite for various applications.
The goal of these initial samples was to screen Albany graphite for suitable applications while gathering feedback from the end-users and testing facilities to improve the overall properties for high value applications. The Company is now starting to receive feedback from several end-users and independent labs, some of which received repeat samples. Information from this initial test program will be used to further define the Company’s product and market strategy and set the stage for next steps in development. Zenyatta plans to provide its stakeholders with brief periodic updates on the progress as meaningful information becomes available. This is the second in a series of updates on the market and business developments.
A battery is an energy storage device and will stop producing electrical energy when the chemical reactants are consumed or it needs to be recharged. The fuel cell is an energy conversion device and will produce electrical energy as long as the fuel and the oxidant are fed to the electrodes. There are many types of fuel cells used in various end-use applications including transportation, industrial equipment, stationary power generation, back-up power, aerospace and defense. Various fuel cell technologies have been developed to convert many different fuels to electricity at high efficiencies. While fuel cells were first developed in 1960’s for niche applications such as generation of power for space vehicles, a large amount of R&D has been conducted over the last fifty years and resulted in much wider use of this technology. It is now considered a “green technology” for use in many applications. Since the fuel cells can be designed to use different forms of fuel, this is one of the leading technologies for sustainable generation of power in small to medium sized industrial applications.
Fuel Cell Market and Hydrogen Fuel Cells The Fuel Cell market is relatively large and shows high growth potential. Proton Exchange Membrane or Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells converting hydrogen and oxygen to electricity and water command a near majority market share in the Fuel Cell market. Since hydrogen can be produced from various sources, and the hydrogen fuel cells only produce water and electricity, this technology has the best potential for finding wide-spread usage in many sectors, including transportation. Honda and Toyota are already making Fuel cell powered test vehicles available in limited markets. Fuel cell companies are continuously improving technologies to provide a more cost effective catalyst, which in turn helps them to commercialize and launch products in the market. Significant efforts are also being made to develop hydrogen storage & distribution infrastructure. Due to all these efforts, the fuel cell market is likely to experience a tremendous increase in demand in the years to come.
High efficiency conversion – Fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electricity without the combustion process. Fuel cells can achieve high efficiencies in energy conversion terms, especially where the waste heat from the cell is utilised for cogeneration. High power density – A high power density allows fuel cells to be relatively compact sources of electric power, which is beneficial in applications with space constraints. In a fuel cell system, the fuel cell itself is nearly dwarfed by other components of the system such as the fuel reformer and power inverter. Quiet operation – Fuel cells, due to their nature of operation, are extremely quiet in operation. This allows fuel cells to be used in residential or built-up areas where the noise pollution is undesirable.
Graphite for this market has to meet many challenging performance characteristics before it can be used in a Fuel Cell. The traditional graphite material used in bipolar plates is usually purified using expensive hydrofluoric (‘HF’) chemical or thermal processes. Zenyatta continues to develop an innovative purification system on its unique graphite material that does not require use of these traditional and environmentally damaging processes.
Graphite is used in the bipolar plate as an electrically and thermally conductive additive. Bipolar plates, which are a major component of fuel cells, are made from high purity graphite. These plates need to be impermeable to gases, have good electrical conductivity, high strength, low weight, good resistance to corrosion and should be easy to manufacture in large quantities. Graphite must be high-grade (> 99.9% C) with low impurities with a viable, low cost purification process. Smaller amounts of graphite or carbon materials can be used in the gas diffusion layers and the membrane electrode assembly of fuel cells, as a catalyst support, as coatings for the bi-polar plates, and in solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) components. Gas diffusion layers use high purity, fine graphite powders for controlled porosity and low electrical resistance. Dr. Bharat Chahar, P.E., VP Market Development for Zenyatta, is a Qualified Person for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101 and has reviewed the technical information in this news release. This testing does not represent a statistically large sample size. Furthermore, these positive results do not mean that Zenyatta can extract and process Albany graphite for high purity graphite applications on an economic basis. Without a formal independent feasibility study, there is no assurance that the operation will be economic. To find out more on Zenyatta Ventures Ltd., please visit website www.zenyatta.ca or contact the Company at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. 807-346-1660.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This news release may contain forward looking information and Zenyatta cautions readers that forward looking information is based on certain assumptions and risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations of Zenyatta included in this news release. This news release is no assurance that the Company will be able to successfully scale-up the process used in generating these samples or show economics of producing graphite from the Albany deposit. Economics of producing the Albany graphite will be completed separately under a PEA that is in progress. This news release includes certain “forward-looking statements”, which often, but not always, can be identified by the use of words such as “believes”, “anticipates”, “expects”, “estimates”, “may”, “could”, “would”, “will”, or “plan”. These statements are based on information currently available to Zenyatta and Zenyatta provides no assurance that actual results will meet management’s or market expectations. Forward-looking statements include estimates and statements with respect to Zenyatta’s future plans, objectives or goals, to the effect that Zenyatta or management expects a stated condition or result to occur, including the expected timing for release of sample analyses and a preliminary economic assessment, the expected uses for graphite in the future, and the future uses of the graphite from Zenyatta’s Albany deposit. Since forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results relating to, among other things, results of exploration, metallurgical processing, project development, market development, reclamation and capital costs of Zenyatta’s mineral properties, and Zenyatta’s financial condition and prospects, could differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements for many reasons such as, but are not limited to: failure to identify mineral resources; failure to convert estimated mineral resources to reserves; the inability to complete a prefeasibility study; the preliminary nature of metallurgical test results; the inability to enter into offtake agreements with qualified purchasers; delays in obtaining or failures to obtain required governmental, environmental or other project approvals; political risks; uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future; changes in equity markets, inflation, changes in exchange rates; fluctuations in commodity prices; delays in the development of projects; capital and operating costs varying significantly from estimates and the other risks involved in the mineral exploration and development industry; and those risks set out in Zenyatta’s public documents filed on SEDAR. This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of Zenyatta’s forward-looking statements. These and other factors should be considered carefully and readers should not place undue reliance on Zenyatta’s forward-looking statements. Although Zenyatta believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking information in this news release are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on such information, which only applies as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. Zenyatta disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, other than as required by law.