Last week, the provincial government awarded local company, Eagle Graphite, $290K to develop clean energy vehicle battery technology. This funding has been awarded through the Advanced Research and Commercialization (ARC) Program for the CEV sector which is part of the provincial CleanBC plan.
Speaking to this announcement Minister Michelle Mungall said “Under our CleanBC plan, we are building a low-carbon economy that will reduce climate pollution and create good jobs across our province… To get there faster, we are supporting innovative companies like Eagle Graphite to develop made-in-B.C. technology that will put us on the path to a cleaner, better future… The Eagle Graphite project has the potential to bring new jobs and economic growth to the Kootenays, while positioning this region on the leading edge of clean technology.”
Eagle Graphite is based in the Slocan Valley where their graphite quarry, Black Crystal, is located. This quarry is one of only two natural flake graphite production sites in North America. The location is ideal because the local communities have a long history of mining, supplying a skilled labour force for the project. And, the hydroelectric power in the area is an abundant resource for the quarry thanks to the dams on the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers. The Black Crystal quarry boasts of having a low impact on the environment thanks to the process it uses to separate graphite from the extracted material. The water used in this process is recycled to minimize the project’s consumption and the by-products of sand and gravel are then sold to local buyers. This is a perfect example of the circular economy in action!
The battery technology that Eagle Graphite plans to develop refers specifically to silicon/graphite batter anodes which will play a part in lithium-ion battery technology advancement. CEO and President of Eagle Graphite, James Deith, says that they are very excited to have the support of the ARC program for this project. In statement about the transition to a clean energy economy he said “Although transition to a sustainable energy economy is still in its infancy, this will be the change that defines our time. Investments made today will determine who prospers in the new economy and who will fall victim to obsolescence. Hats off to the Government of British Columbia for recognizing that for the sake of ourselves and future generations, we must take a leadership role in developing and commercializing cleaner energy technologies.” The project is expected to begin this July after funding agreements have been finalized.