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Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (TSXV:ZEN) and Ballard Power Systems Inc. (TSX:BLD,NASDAQ:BLDP) announced the successful completion of Phase 4 performance testing of high-purity Albany graphite in components of a Ballard fuel cell stack.

Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (TSXV:ZEN) and Ballard Power Systems Inc. (TSX:BLD,NASDAQ:BLDP) announced the successful completion of Phase 4 performance testing of high-purity Albany graphite in components of a Ballard fuel cell stack.
As quoted in the press release:

This Phase 4 testing program was designed to show viability of Zenyatta’s Albany graphite compared to synthetic graphite in realistic fuel cell operating conditions.
Zenyatta natural graphite material was prototyped, tested and compared for key mechanical and electrical properties against Ballard’s baselinesynthetic graphite in a commercial product platform. Importantly, the properties of Zenyatta’s Albany graphite material were all within the specifications needed for high performance of Ballard products in a number of commercial fuel cell applications. The components made from Albany graphite were equivalent to the existing synthetic graphite made components. This is another significant step in the process of qualifying Zenyatta’s Albany graphite for existing fuel cell markets in transportation and stationary energy storage.
From an environmental and cost advantage, the Ballard report also concluded:

  1. Zenyatta graphite provides a clean carbon option for fuel cell components (i.e. plates and membrane electrode assembly).
  2. If Zenyatta’s hydrothermal graphite can also be low cost compared to existing synthetic graphite, it will facilitate fuel cell cost reduction and market penetration.

Synthetic graphite is not only used in major components of fuel cells, but also many other applications such as the manufacture of anodes for lithium-ion batteries and the fabrication of high-purity graphite powder into complex industrial parts. It is a large and high value global market (~US$15 Billion) that is growing rapidly but the cost to produce synthetic graphite is high and its production also has significant environmental impacts. Finding alternative graphite with a cost and environmental advantage is important as the global green movement against pollution intensifies. Zenyatta has shown an estimated operating cost of ~US$2 per kilogram for purified Albany graphite in the preliminary economic assessment and can also potentially show a significant environmental advantage over synthetic graphite.

Bharat Chahar, vice president, market development at Zenyatta, commented:

This is the fourth round of successful test results which continue to prove the suitability of Albany graphite in an exciting and high growth cleantech application like fuel cells. We are extremely pleased with the progress and Ballard’s involvement in testing the viability of Albany graphite in this application. It is very important to note that the material being tested by Ballard was ‘run-of-the-lab’ Albany graphite material produced with no special processing or customization for these tests.

Click here to read the full Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (TSXV:ZEN) and Ballard Power Systems Inc. (TSX:BLD,NASDAQ:BLDP) press release.

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