Focus Graphite Unveils Its Highly Conductive Ultrafine And Expanded Graphites For Battery Cathodes Creating A Complete Line Of Value-Added Lac Knife Graphite Products For Lithium-Ion And Alkaline Batteries

OTTAWA, Oct. 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Focus Graphite Inc. (TSX-V:FMS) (OTCQX:FCSMF) (FSE:FKC) is pleased to report that ongoing independent testing of its new ultrafine grades of flake graphite and expanded, natural flake graphite from its Lac Knife, Québec Project demonstrate up to 10 times the electrical conductivity over standard grades of synthetic and natural graphite used in Li-Ion and Alkaline battery cathode applications.
Fig. 1
Comparison of the SEMs of Purified and Expanded Lac Knife Graphite
Fig. 2
Comparison of the Resistivities of Lac Knife and Commercial Graphites in Lithium Ion Cathode Mix ( LiNiMnCoO2 )
Fig. 3
Effect of the Particle Size of Lac Knife Purified Flake Graphite on the Resitivity of Alkaline Cathode Mix ( MnO2 )
Fig. 4
Comparison of the Resistivity of Lac Knife Flake Graphite and Commercial Graphites in Alkaline Cathode Mix (MnO2)

Focus Graphite is the sole owner of the Lac Knife high purity graphite project located just south of Fermont, in the Cote Nord District of Québec. The Company's aim is to produce value added coated spherical graphite and expanded graphite products for anodes and cathodes used in a range of battery applications.

Focus Graphite's new superfine grades of flake graphite and the ultrafine grades of expanded graphite were first presented  at the 34 th International Battery Symposium (IBS) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by Dr. Joseph Doninger, Focus' Director of Technology and Manufacturing on March 21, 2017. (The complete technical presentation entitled " Advances in the Performance of Lac Knife Natural Flake and Expanded Graphite in Electrochemical Power Sources " can be accessed by following the link)

Dr. Doninger's presentation also included the introduction of the Company's Superfine Coated Spherical Graphite product to add to its standard and fine grades developed previously and an update on long-term battery cycle testing.

The Company's latest achievements are an extension to Dr. Doninger's developmental efforts first reported on March 31, 2016 at the 33 rd International Battery Seminar. That initial publication of expanded graphite test results demonstrated that the expanded Lac Knife flake graphite produced nearly doubled the electrical conductivity of the cathode mix when compared with the standard competing grades of synthetic and flake graphites.

Expanded graphite is a form of processed natural crystalline flake, featuring dramatically improved electrical conductivity in cathode mixes. Delaminated expanded flake is also preferable to conventional air-milled flake and/or premium quality synthetic graphites when higher conductivity properties are desired.

Figure 1, below, compares the Scanning Electron Photomicrographs (SEMs of purified Lac Knife flake graphite with Focus' new grade of Lac Knife expanded graphite.

Fig. 1 Comparison of the SEMs of Purified and Expanded Lac Knife Graphite

The SEM of the cross section of the purified flake graphite shows that the graphite is comprised of many layers of finer sized flakes.  Focus Graphite used a process to intercalate the flake graphite with acids followed by applying heat to expand the graphite like an "accordion" or "fourth of July worm" which is described in detail in the March 2016 Battery Seminar Presentation. The end result of which is shown in the SEM of expanded graphite where the many layers of the original flake graphite are now separated into extremely thin, almost translucent flakes of graphite which are much more conductive than either standard flake or synthetic graphites.

In electrochemical power sources, such as batteries, the cathode provides the means for the electrons generated in the anode that travel to the powered device to return to the cathode of the cell and complete the circuit. Generally either finely sized synthetic or purified flake graphites are added to the cathode to improve the conductivity of the cathode mixes.

In order to evaluate the effect of adding conductive additives to cathode mixes, it is customary to determine the effect that the conductive additive has on the resistivity of the cathode mix which is described in detail in the March 2016 Battery Seminar Presentation and is shown in Figure 2.

Fig. 2 Comparison of the Resistivities of Lac Knife and Commercial Graphites in Lithium Ion Cathode Mix ( LiNiMnCoO 2

Figure 2 shows that replacing commercial grades of synthetic and flake graphites with the Lac Knife expanded graphite in the cathode of a Lithium Ion battery greatly reduces the resistivity of the cathode mix in which Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (LiNiMnCoO2) is the active material thereby greatly increasing the conductivity of the cathode mix.

As shown, if a target of 1 ohm-inches is set for the resistivity of the cathode mix, the amount of expanded graphite that needs to be added to the mix is only 1% as compared with 2.5 to 3.5% for the commercially used standard synthetic and flake graphites. This is important because more of the active material can now be added to the cathode mix thereby providing the opportunity to either increase the capacity or extend the life of the Lithium Ion battery. Conversely, at a concentration of 2 wt % graphite, Focus Graphite's new ultrafine grade of expanded graphite increases the conductivity of the cathode mix by a factor of 7 to 10 times when compared with standard synthetic and flake graphites.

The same principle can be applied to an alkaline battery where the cathode active material is manganese dioxide and generally not designed to be rechargeable as is shown in Figure 3 below:

Fig. 3 Effect of the Particle Size of Lac Knife Purified Flake Graphite on the Resitivity of Alkaline Cathode Mix ( MnO 2 )

Figure 3 compares the resistivity of the two new ultrafine grades of Lac Knife purified flake graphite with the original coarser grades. As shown in the cathode mixes with 3.5% and 4% graphite added to the mix, the resistivity of the cathode mixes made with the two new ultrafine grades are less than half that obtained using  the original coarser grades. This, of course, means that the conductivities of the cathode mixes are also more than doubled.

Figure 4 below shows that the ultrafine grades of the Lac Knife purified flake graphite produce cathode mixes with lower resistivities at the 6% graphite addition level and, hence have higher conductivities than were obtained with current commercial grades of flake and synthetic graphites.

Fig. 4 Comparison of the Resistivity of Lac Knife Flake Graphite and Commercial Graphites in Alkaline Cathode Mix (MnO 2)

It also should be noted that the excellent conductive properties of both the Lac Knife expanded graphite and ultrafine grades of the flake graphite now provides the battery manufacturer with both the opportunity and flexibility to optimize the performance of the cathode and take full advantage of the output of the anode of both alkaline and lithium ion batteries.

A U.S. based independent battery testing conducted the scientific investigations and testing. The identity of that facility has been withheld for commercially competitive reasons.

The Company intends to continue its long-term cycling testing to 1000 cycles, develop new grades spherical graphite for use in high power applications; develop silicon modified graphite for high capacity applications, and; continue its development of Lac Knife expanded graphite for use in battery cathodes.

Qualified Person

Dr. Joseph Doninger, Focus Graphite's Director of Technology and Manufacturing is the Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects - has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release. Dr. Doninger is an internationally recognized graphite processing expert and himself, the inventor of a number of patents and an author of over 27 technical papers and presentations related to graphite processing and the use of graphite in energy storage systems. Dr. Doninger is a co-editor on the NATO Science Series book titled "New Carbon Based Materials for Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems". Dr. Doninger is also an Honorary Professor at the Department of Chemistry from the Kiev National University of Technologies and Design.

About Focus Graphite

Focus Graphite Inc. is an advanced exploration and mining company with an objective of producing graphite concentrate at its wholly owned Lac Knife flake graphite deposit located 27 km south of Fermont, Québec. In a second stage, to meet Quebec stakeholder interests of transformation within the province and to add shareholder value, Focus is evaluating the feasibility of producing value added graphite products including battery-grade spherical graphite.

Focus Graphite is a technology-oriented graphite mining development company with a vision for building long-term, sustainable shareholder value. Focus also holds a significant equity position in graphene applications developer Grafoid Inc.

For more information about Focus Graphite, please visit www.focusgraphite.com.

Forward Looking Statement

This News Release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. All information contained herein that is not clearly historical in nature may constitute forward-looking information. Generally, such forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to: (i) volatile stock price; (ii) the general global markets and economic conditions; (iii) the possibility of write-downs and impairments; (iv) the risk associated with exploration, development and operations of mineral deposits; (v) the risk associated with establishing title to mineral properties and assets; (vi) the risks associated with entering into joint ventures; (vii) fluctuations in commodity prices; (viii) the risks associated with uninsurable risks arising during the course of exploration, development and production; (ix) competition faced by the Company in securing experienced personnel and financing; (x) access to adequate infrastructure to support mining, processing, development and exploration activities; (xi) the risks associated with changes in the mining regulatory regime governing the Company; (xii) the risks associated with the various environmental regulations the Company is subject to; (xiii) risks related to regulatory and permitting delays; (xiv) risks related to potential conflicts of interest; (xv) the reliance on key personnel; (xvi) liquidity risks; and (xvii) the risk of potential dilution through the issue of common shares.

Forward-looking information is based on assumptions management believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made, including but not limited to, continued exploration activities, no material adverse change in metal prices, exploration and development plans proceeding in accordance with plans and such plans achieving their stated expected outcomes, receipt of required regulatory approvals, and such other assumptions and factors as set out herein. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information. Such forward-looking information has been provided for the purpose of assisting investors in understanding the Company's business, operations and exploration plans and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is made as of the date of this News Release, and the Company does not undertake to update such forward-looking information except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

Neither the 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 accuracy of this release.

Contact

Focus Graphite Inc.Mr. Gary EconomoPresident and Chief Executive Officer+1 613-241-4040 geconomo@focusgraphite.com www.focusgraphite.com¿¿

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