Saint Jean Carbon (TSXV: SJL) is a company to watch in carbon sciences and battery technology. Last week, The Dales Report sat down with its chief technology officer, V-Bond Lee, to learn more about the impact it’s making in the industry.
Saint Jean, a company that has historically catered to the mining industry, is working on transitioning into a carbon sciences and battery technology company.
The Demand for Electric Vehicles
According to Lee, an engineer with more than three decades of experience in product development and management, the carbon industry is going through a big transition.
“It only in the last 20 years where electric vehicles were made possible because of advancements in technology,” he said. “We’ve made this acquisition to gain entry into this market.”
In May 2021, Saint Jean Carbon acquired Solid Ultrabattery, a Canadian start-up founded by respected battery industry expert Dr. Zhongwei Chen, Canada Research Chair in Advanced Materials for Clean Energy and professor at the University of Waterloo.
“We acquired this company because we see this as a potential high growth area. Right now, when we look at the market, I don’t see that the suppliers are going to supply all the batteries that are necessary for all the EV companies that are out there,” said Lee.
“Look at the current number of companies out there—GM, Ford, and Chrysler—they’re switching gears and changing their products to more electrified products. They are the ones that are driving a lot of the demand, but in addition to that, there are 50 to 60 start-ups in EVs that are also going to drive demand.
“We’re already taxing the minerals that are available. We’re looking at all the resources, and there are predictions that there’s going to be shortages in a very short time.”
Building Tech First, Relationships Second
Lee said the most important thing for Saint Jean to focus on right now, even bigger than establishing relationships with the companies driving demand, is its technology.
“Once you have a product that has good quality, it performs the way we expect, then the rest just falls into place,” he said.
He explained the growing trend in EV batteries: “The current batteries that are out there are liquid electrolyte, not solid state. The trend is that more and more batteries are moving toward solid state. It does away with the anode, and in some cases even a liquid cathode. The anode represents a savings because you no longer have this graphite anode, and the battery just uses a current collector. That’s a pretty big savings in mass itself.”
Solid Ultrabattery, the company Saint Jean recently acquired, has developed a method of producing a solid electrolyte separator, which separates the anode from the cathode. Lee said initial in-house test results have been very promising.
“After a thorough review of the data, we believe that this technology will become very successful in exceeding the performance of our leading competitors,” he said.
To dive deeper into the technology and learn more about Saint Jean’s approach, watch our interview above.