23/06/2021 - 17:28

Quantum enters thermal storage energy partnership

23/06/2021 - 17:28

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Quantum Graphite has entered a transformational joint venture agreement with The Sunlands Company to manufacture thermal energy storage battery cells, or “TES”, utilising graphite sourced from its Uley 2 deposit on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Sunlands will contribute processing technologies and flake specifications for the final product, with the 50-50 partnership aiming to break into the burgeoning renewable power generation market.

Wind power generation. Credit: File.

Quantum Graphite has entered a transformational joint venture agreement with The Sunlands Company to manufacture thermal energy storage battery cells, or “TES”, utilising graphite sourced from its Uley 2 deposit on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Sunlands will contribute processing technologies and flake specifications for the final product, with the 50-50 partnership aiming to break into the burgeoning renewable power generation market.

Variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are growing in significance each year.

According to a recent research study conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency, or “IRENA”, about 10 per cent of power in global energy systems in 2018 was derived from variable renewable energy, or “VRE”.

Compliance with Paris Agreement emission targets by leading world economies means the figure will rise to 35 per cent by 2030 and to 60 per cent of global power generation by 2050, according to IRENA.

With the increasing reliance on VRE generation, addressing overall energy system stability is becoming critical.

Enter TES.

TES is the temporary storage of energy that can be used for power generation at a later stage. It can be used to balance fluctuating energy demand associated with VRE generation.

For example, solar and wind generation is uneven across daily and seasonal timescales.

Temporary storage from TES brings flexibility and stability to the overall energy system.

Quantum Graphite Director David Trimboli said:“The JV positions Quantum as a potentially significant player in the grid connected energy storage sector. The drive to increase renewables generation within grid networks and ultimately decarbonise networks underpins the massive growth forecasted in the energy storage market. This is a global market and our participation in the manufacture of the most critical component of Sunlands Co’s TES cells transforms our business from a local supplier and processor of critical minerals to a participant in global energy markets.”

IRENA forecasts electricity generation from TES to increase by up to 30 times by 2030.

The high-purity natural flake graphite from Uley 2 is critical for Sunlands’ downstream processing and utilisation technologies to develop TES, according to the partners.

Quantum sees the Uley 2 project as the next stage of development of the century-old Uley mine, one of the highest high-grade natural flake graphite deposits in the world.

Uley 2 already boasts some 6.3 million tonnes in resources at 11.1 per cent total graphite content, with reserves of 4Mt at 11.89 per cent.

The company is looking to grow the resources and reserves to the south and east of the Uley 2 pit via a two-stage drilling campaign based on geophysical surveys and structural data from 2014 drilling that delineated the existing Uley 2 reserves and resources.

Intriguingly, management says the geophysical data coincides well with visual observation of graphite quality.

A 2019 feasibility study envisaged an eight-year first-phase mining operation based on Uley 2 reserves alone, with a graphitic carbon grade of 11.89 per cent per annum at 84 per cent recovery.

Capital costs came in at about A$80m for the 500,000 tonne per annum operation, with $207 million total undiscounted cash flow forecast for the life of mine.

Subsequent stages of mining are planned for the existing resources and areas Quantum is drilling.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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