What is the diffrence beteween Synthetic vs natural graphite?
Recently, the world's largest investment management corporation, BlackRock, in a market research report said that currently, they prefer U.S. and Japanese equities to European equities because of the energy problem stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"Russia's invasion of Ukraine caused terrible injuries, a surge in commodity prices, and food and energy security issues," BlackRock, "It is stifling the economic growth and fulling inflation driven by supply problems. Europe is most affected among those developed markets, as it is trying to wean itself off Russian energy."
The volatile international political situations will continue to affect the markets and prices of many commodities like the natural graphite.
Synthetic vs natural graphite
Synthetic graphite is intriguing for investors because of its presence in lucrative industries with rising demand. However, before diving into the space, it’s essential to understand the nuances of synthetic graphite and some of the misconceptions surrounding it.
Firstly, the graphite market covers a range of different types of graphite, both synthetic and natural, that are used in their applications and do not compete. Synthetic and natural graphite have no relationship, except they’re called graphite in the broader marketplace.
Synthetic graphite is purer in terms of carbon content and tends to behave more predictably, so it has found a niche in solar energy storage and arc furnaces. Synthetic graphite can be significantly more expensive than natural graphite, as the process is pretty energy-intensive. The cost can be double or triple the standard price for natural graphite.
Restrictively high prices and specific use cases for synthetic graphite mean that it doesn’t often compete with natural graphite in most markets.
Types and uses of synthetic graphite
Synthetic graphite typically comes in two forms: electrodes and graphite blocks. The form of graphite directly determines which industries it will be used.
Electrodes are primarily created using petroleum coke as a precursor and are almost exclusively used in electric-arc furnaces. These furnaces are used for melting steel and iron and producing ferroalloys.
Graphite blocks — or isotropic graphite — are primarily used for energy storage in the solar industry. These blocks are made using the same petroleum coke process as electrodes but differ slightly in the coke structure.
Secondary synthetic graphite
Producing synthetic graphite also creates a by-product called secondary synthetic graphite — typically yielded as a powder. It’s considered a low-cost graphite material, and some forms of it can compete with natural graphite in applications like brake linings and lubricants.
Primary synthetic graphite
Primary synthetic graphite is not a by-product like its secondary counterpart. It is typically manufactured in powder form and used for high-end lithium-ion batteries. However, it is more expensive to produce and can cost the same amount as manufacturing an electrode.
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At present, international supply chains were shocked, and logistics and transportation efficiency decreases. Geopolitical conflicts further aggravate uncertainties about the European and American economic recovery and the global commodity supply. For this reason, I assume the price of the natural graphite would not decrease significantly in the short term.