HomeFutures and CommoditiesChina's restrictions on graphite will speed up the adoption of alternative solutions,...

China’s restrictions on graphite will speed up the adoption of alternative solutions, according to Reuters.

The Future of Graphite in Electric Vehicle Batteries

China’s Graphite Export Curbs Drive Search for Alternatives

China’s recent decision to limit the export of graphite, a crucial material for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, has prompted industry experts and analysts to expedite their efforts in developing alternative sources and materials. While this move will undoubtedly take time, it will ultimately accelerate the progress towards finding sustainable solutions, according to industry executives.

China’s Dominance and the Need for Alternative Sources

As the world’s largest producer and exporter of graphite, China currently refines over 90% of the global supply. Their control over this vital material, used extensively in EV battery anodes, has prompted concerns about supply chain vulnerabilities and trade disputes. In response, other countries are now prioritizing research to diversify their sources and reduce reliance on China.

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Graphex Group’s Plans to Supply the US Automakers

Graphex Group’s graphene division, led by President John DeMaio, sees China’s export curbs as an opportunity to emphasize the need for improved graphite supply in the United States. To address this, Graphex plans to establish a graphite processing facility in Warren, Michigan, by the end of 2024. Their aim is to become a leading refiner in the West, ensuring a consistent supply of at least 10,000 metric tons per year for US automakers.

The Rise of Synthetic Graphite

In the quest to challenge China’s dominance, new investments are being made in the United States and Europe to develop synthetic graphite. While experts predict that synthetic graphite could make up nearly two-thirds of the EV battery anode market by 2025, it remains an uphill battle. Despite the challenges, companies like Vianode, a startup based in Oslo, are starting small-scale production in Norway and have plans to expand to full-scale production in Europe and the US by 2030.

Exploring Silicon as an Alternative Anode Ingredient

Another avenue being explored is the use of silicon as an anode ingredient, which can enable EVs to cover longer distances before requiring a recharge. While the current limit for silicon in batteries is around 10% due to expansion issues, companies like US startup GDI are developing 100% silicon anodes. This technology has caught the attention of many automakers who are keen to explore the next generation of battery materials.

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Potential Impact on Prices and Supply Chain

China’s export curbs could potentially lead to lower exports and increased prices, as seen with previous restrictions on other metals. This regulation may result in the scarcity of graphite, leading to higher production costs for EVs. Automakers, already operating on thin profit margins, are closely monitoring the situation and looking to secure supplies from outside China to mitigate potential shortages.


The restrictions on graphite exports from China have ignited a global search for alternative sources and materials for EV batteries. This shift towards diversification and innovation in the graphite industry will not only reduce dependence on China but also drive advancements in sustainable materials for the future of electric vehicles.

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