Zenyatta Ventures Teaming Up with Ballard Power Using Albany Graphite for Fuel Cells

Don Hains, P. Geo. stated,
Zenyatta Graphite - Don Hains, P. Geo. stated, "The BET results indicate very high quality natural graphite matching high purity synthetic graphite in terms of surface area. Also, the average pore diameter for the Zenyatta material shows the unit cells are the same as determined for pure natural graphite."

Lithium Ion Batteries have a need for high quality graphite
Lithium Ion Batteries have a need for high quality graphite

THUNDER BAY – MINING – Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (“Zenyatta” or “Company”) (TSXV: ZEN) have announced the initiation of a project with Ballard Power Systems Inc. (“Ballard”) (TSX: BLD; Nasdaq: BLDP) utilizing high purity Albany graphite in the membrane electrode assembly (“MEA”) of a fuel cell.  MEA is a critical component of the Proton Exchange Membrane (“PEM”) fuel cell that must meet exacting performance standards for the fuel cell to work properly.

Primary objectives of this work are:

• Incorporate Albany graphite in the gas diffusion layer (“GDL”) components of a fuel cell; • Evaluate the Albany graphite material in Ballard manufacturing processes;

• Evaluate performance of Albany graphite in anode  & cathode GDL designs and compare against existing available commercial materials;

In a news release dated 12 August 2015, Zenyatta announced testing results by Ballard that samples of Albany graphite demonstrated high thermal and corrosion resistance properties.  A first step screening process on Albany graphite material confirmed its suitability for use in the bipolar plate (“BPP”) and gas diffusion layer (“GDL”) for fuel cells. High thermal stability and corrosion resistance is critical in the performance of these components in fuel cells.

The current project phase will advance our collaboration to the next level through evaluation of the Albany graphite material in sub-components of fuel cells, including performance and manufacturability in established Ballard processes.

Ballard will develop prototype components for both cathode and anode GDLs incorporating Zenyatta material and evaluate the layer function for optimal water management and gas diffusion properties. Ballard will provide a detailed technical report including evaluation and analysis of the material compared against commercial designs.

Dr. Bharat Chahar, VP, Market Development, Zenyatta, commented “This is the next major step in qualifying Zenyatta graphite in a high growth and high value application.  We are extremely pleased to be working with a world fuel cell leader like Ballard on use of our graphite for this cleantech market.”

For further information please refer to the news release dated 12 August 2015 titled “Zenyatta Ventures and Ballard Power Collaborate on Fuel Cell Technology Related to Energy Storage; Testing by Ballard on Albany Graphite Exhibited High Thermal and Corrosion Resistance Properties”.

Ballard Power Systems Ballard is a recognized leader in reliable and robust fuel cell development and manufacturing. Ballard’s world class production and test facilities are used to manufacture and deliver fuel cell stacks for a range of applications where cost and reliable function is critical. Ballard regularly carries out development activities focused on material evaluations with facilities that are set up to efficiently evaluate various fuel cell components, including membranes and catalysts. In the last 20 years Ballard has developed procedures and stress tests that compare materials to field conditions that lead their internal product research. Ballard’s extensive knowledge and expertise will be used to prove the suitability of Zenyatta’s Albany graphite for fuel cell applications, such as back-up power and material handling.

Fuel Cell Markets Markets for fuel cells using hydrogen as fuel are growing rapidly and high performance graphite is a significant component of these fuel cells.  The fuel cell is an energy conversion device and will produce electrical energy as long as the fuel and the oxidant are fed to the electrodes. There are many types of fuel cells used in various end-use applications including transportation, industrial equipment, stationary power generation, back-up power, aerospace and defense. Various fuel cell technologies have been developed to convert many different fuels to electricity at high efficiencies.  While fuel cells were first developed in 1960’s for niche applications such as generation of power for space vehicles, a large amount of R&D has been conducted over the last fifty years and resulted in much wider use of this technology.  It is now considered a “green technology” for use in many applications.  Since the fuel cells can be designed to use different forms of fuel, this is one of the leading technologies for sustainable generation of power in small to medium sized industrial applications. More information on the hydrogen fuel cells and their end-use markets is available on Zenyatta’s web site.

Dr. Bharat Chahar, P.E., VP Market Development for Zenyatta, is a Qualified Person for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101 and has reviewed, prepared and supervised the preparation of the technical information in this news release. This proposed testing does not represent a statistically large sample size.  Furthermore, any positive results do not mean that Zenyatta can extract and process Albany graphite for high purity graphite applications on an economic basis.  Without a formal independent feasibility study, there is no assurance that the operation will be economic.