Tokyo Tech Identifies Key Reasons for the Ease & High-Yield Conversion of Zenyatta’s Albany Graphite to Graphene
Thunder Bay, Ontario
19 October 2017
Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (“Zenyatta” or “Company”) (TSXV: ZEN) announces testing results from the Tokyo Institute of Technology (‘Tokyo Tech’) in Japan have identified key reasons for the ease and high-yield conversion of Albany graphite to graphene.
One of the greatest challenges for commercializing graphene in various applications, since its discovery at the University of Manchester, is how to produce high-quality material, on a large scale at low cost, in a consistent manner.
Dr. Yoshihiko Arao, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Tokyo Tech, stated “Zenyatta’s high-purity graphite material was tested by our scientific team on mechanical conversion to graphene and discovered it converted much easier and with higher yields of graphene than our reference material. We have tested many types of natural graphite but found Zenyatta’s graphite material to have better exfoliation performance and produce better graphene particles than the reference material. We believe that this is an extraordinary, unique material and we would like to carry out further collaborative work with Zenyatta on graphene applications.”
Research by Dr. Arao and Professor Dr. Masatoshi Kubouchi at Tokyo Tech has shown the following significant test results:
1. D-Spacing measurements of Zenyatta carbon material is relatively larger compared to three (3) other commercially available high purity graphite samples. D-spacing is unique to all crystals and described as the distance between two (graphene) atomic layers or interlayer spacing. The Albany graphite also exhibited some turbostratic structure or natural irregular stacking.
Importantly, these factors have contributed to the ease of conversion and greater yield of high quality graphene from Albany graphite. This can be attributed to the unusual geologic mode of formation (igneous hydrothermal process) which accounts for the superior purity, crystallinity and overall quality of the graphite found in this unique deposit.
2. Graphene exfoliated from Albany graphite showed the highest aspect ratio with an average thickness of 1.43 nanometres or 1-4 graphene layers. Also, the optical absorbance of the Zenyatta graphene dispersion was 2-10 times better than the other 3 tested reference samples which demonstrate concentrated graphene dispersion can be obtained.
This further confirms the reason for success on graphene development initiatives, especially in composites, from other collaborators in UK, Canada, USA and Israel. We have established that Zenyatta’s graphite converts (exfoliates) easily to graphene, producing mono-layer to tri-layer material, has excellent dispersion properties and is highly suitable for many graphene and graphene-oxide applications.
Aubrey Eveleigh, President and CEO for Zenyatta stated, “The obstacle to widespread use of graphene since discovery is the high manufacturing cost. A lower-cost and disruptive approach is to use high-purity natural graphite, like Albany material, as the starting point to get easier and higher yields of graphene in an environmentally friendly manner. We are eager to start another phase of testing at a world class facility like Tokyo Tech using our high-purity graphite material for various innovative graphene applications.”
Tokyo Tech is the top national university for science and technology in Japan with a history spanning more than 130 years. It is the largest institution for higher education dedicated to science and technology, and is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in Japan and the world. Tokyo Tech continues to develop global leaders in the fields of science and technology, and contributes to the betterment of society through its research, focusing on solutions to global issues. The Institute's long-term goal is to become the world's leading science and technology university. Characterization of Zenyatta’s natural graphite was completed at Tokyo Tech using a conversion of mechanical, liquid phase exfoliation, followed by testing methods comprised of SEM observation, X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and optical absorbance analysis.
Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. continues to develop its large and unique Albany graphite deposit in Ontario, Canada. The Company’s highly crystalline graphite deposit is situated 30 km north of the Trans-Canada Highway, power line and natural gas pipeline near the communities of Constance Lake First Nation and Hearst. A rail line is located 30 km away with an all-weather road approximately 10 km from the graphite deposit. The world trend is to develop products for technological applications that need extraordinary performance using ultra-high purity graphite powder and graphene at an affordable cost. High-purity and highly crystalline carbon material is gaining prominence in the cleantech sector at a time when Zenyatta discovered an extremely rare igneous hosted, fluid derived graphite deposit. Albany graphite can be upgraded with the optimum particle size without the use of aggressive acids (hydrofluoric) or high temperature thermal treatment therefore having an environmental advantage over other types of upgraded high-purity graphite material.
Aubrey Eveleigh, P.Geo., President and CEO 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. To find out more on Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. or graphene and its end-use markets, please visit the website www.zenyatta.ca or contact the Company at zenyatta%23ca|info or Tel. 807-346-1660.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: Neither 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 adequacy or accuracy of this release. This news release may contain forward looking information and Zenyatta cautions readers that forward looking information is based on certain assumptions and risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations of Zenyatta included in this news release. This news release includes certain "forward-looking statements”, which often, but not always, can be identified by the use of words such as "believes", "anticipates", "expects", "estimates", "may", "could", "would", "will", or "plan". These statements are based on information currently available to Zenyatta and Zenyatta provides no assurance that actual results will meet management's expectations. This testing does not represent a statistically large sample size. Furthermore, these 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. Forward-looking statements include estimates and statements with respect to Zenyatta’s future plans, objectives or goals, to the effect that Zenyatta or management expects a stated condition or result to occur, including the expected timing for release of a pre-feasibility or feasibility studies, the expected uses for graphite in the future, and the future uses of the graphite from Zenyatta’s Albany deposit. Since forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results relating to, among other things, results of metallurgical processing, ongoing exploration, project development, reclamation and capital costs of Zenyatta’s mineral properties, and Zenyatta’s financial condition and prospects, could differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements for many reasons such as, but are not limited to: failure to convert estimated mineral resources to reserves; the preliminary nature of metallurgical test results; the inability to identify target markets and satisfy the product criteria for such markets; the inability to complete a prefeasibility study; the inability to enter into offtake agreements with qualified purchasers; delays in obtaining or failures to obtain required governmental, environmental or other project approvals; political risks; uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future; changes in equity markets, inflation, changes in exchange rates; fluctuations in commodity prices; delays in the development of projects; capital and operating costs varying significantly from estimates and the other risks involved in the mineral exploration and development industry; and those risks set out in Zenyatta’s public documents filed on SEDAR. This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of Zenyatta’s forward-looking statements. These and other factors should be considered carefully and readers should not place undue reliance on Zenyatta’s forward-looking statements. Although Zenyatta believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking information in this news release are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on such information, which only applies as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. Zenyatta disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, other than as required by law.