Wholesale gas prices in the Netherlands and the UK have risen 20 percent recently amid concerns about Russian supplies.
The EU plans to cut its dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds this year and stop importing Russian fossil fuels by 2027. Russia exported about 155 billion cubic meters of gas to the EU in 2021.
The US recently said it would try to supply 15bn cubic meters of LNG to the EU this year. U.S. LNG plants are running at full capacity, and analysts say much of the extra gas the U.S. sends to Europe comes from what should have been exported elsewhere.
The German government called Russia "an unreliable energy supplier". Even though the German government claimed that they have been preparing for the situation for a long time that Russia may stop sending gas one day, experts say it is hard for the EU to replace all of Russia's gas exports any time soon.
The supply and prices of many natural graphite will continue to be influenced by international situations.
What is natural graphite?
Natural graphite is naturally formed graphite.
Natural graphite is an important industrial mineral, which has applications in almost every aspect of manufacturing, including electronics, atomic energy, hot metal processing, friction, coatings, aerospace, powder metallurgy, etc.
What is graphite?
Graphite is the crystalline form of the element carbon. It consists of stacked layers of graphene. Graphite is naturally occurring and is the most stable form of carbon under standard conditions.
Synthetic and natural graphite is widely consumed in pencils, lubricants, and electrodes. At high pressure and temperature, it turns into diamonds. It is a weak conductor of heat and electricity.
What are the types of natural graphite?
The main types of natural graphite, each found in different types of deposits, include:
Small flakes of crystalline graphite (or flake graphite) occur as isolated, flat, plate-like particles with hexagonal edges if unfractured. When damaged, edges may be irregular or angular;
Amorphous graphite: Extremely fine flake graphite is sometimes called amorphous;
Lumpy graphite (or veined graphite) occurs in fissure veins or cracks as lumpy plate-like symbionts of fibrous or needle-like crystalline aggregates, probably of hydrothermal origin.
Highly ordered pyrolytic graphite refers to graphite whose angular distribution between graphite sheets is less than 1°.
The term "graphite fiber" is sometimes used to refer to carbon fiber or carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers.
What is natural graphite used for?
Natural graphite is a refractory material, a melting point up to 3650℃, and is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Some applications of graphite include batteries, lubricants, refractories, coatings and paints, metallurgy, and moderating rods in nuclear power plants.
Anode for electric vehicle
Graphite is currently the basic element in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Global demand for battery-grade natural and spherical graphite for the cathode is growing rapidly and will increase exponentially from 2022. These batteries are mainly used in consumer electronics and electric cars.
In addition to the steel industry, graphite is an important raw material for lightweight materials such as carbon fiber, and reinforced plastics used in cars and aircraft parts.
Lubricants and grease
Graphite used as a dry solid lubricant has become one of the most important and traditional dry lubricants in the world. For example, it is used as a lubricant for forging tools, steel, titanium, stainless steel, special superalloy stamping parts, die forging, hot extrusion, and impact extrusion processes.
Graphite has excellent lubrication, demoulding, and demoulding properties. It has high hiding power and ensures excellent tool wettability. The use of very pure graphite and highly refined oil reduces engraving and tool wear and residuals.
Refractory materials for steel, the crucible, etc.
The conductivity of graphite is about 100 times that of ordinary non-metallic minerals. In steel production, graphite is used as a protective agent for ingot and as a lining for metallurgical furnaces.
Graphite is also used in aluminum production as an alloy component in the cast iron and semiconductor industries.
Graphite, in the form of thin sheets or expanded graphite, offers the possibility of developing metal-graphite composites. Depending on the amount and direction of graphite incorporated, it can be used as a radiator material for thermal management, as a passive damping element in factories and mechanical engineering, or as a bearing material for slowly rotating plain bearings. By combining materials, properties such as strength, thermal conductivity, damping coefficient, thermal expansion coefficient, and Young's modulus can be specifically matched to the intended application. Powder metallurgy production can be targeted to control carbide content and can achieve up to 90% of the volume of graphite without pores. Therefore, mechanical finishing can be carried out even at very high graphite content.
Graphite is used in making brake pads. The main purpose of using graphite powder is to achieve solid lubrication and friction stability, can be used as a friction agent, and can also be used as a brake pad adhesive.
Graphite has a long tradition of producing pencils. Since the 19th century, pencil leads have been fired from a mixture of graphite and clay. Clay gives pencils hardness and pallor, while graphite gives them qualities that can best be described as black and soft.
Natural graphite Price
The price is influenced by many factors including the supply and demand in the market, industry trends, economic activity, market sentiment, and unexpected events.
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Natural graphite Supplier
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According to Reuters, U.S. Treasury officials said they would discuss with G7 leaders pricing caps and tariffs on Russian oil as an alternative to the embargo, which would keep the market supplied, limit price spikes, and reduce Russian revenues.
The EU foreign ministers' meeting was held in Brussels. The meeting failed to agree on the sixth round of sanctions, including an oil embargo on Russia, because of objections from Hungary.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said at a press conference after the meeting, that the meeting failed to reach an agreement on the final adoption of the sixth round of sanctions, the permanent representatives of member states to the EU will continue to discuss. The foreign ministers faced similar difficulties trying to reach an agreement on an oil ban. He said Hungary's position was based on economic rather than political concerns.
Hungary is highly dependent on Russia for energy, getting more than 60 percent of its oil and 85 percent of its natural gas from Russia.
A few days ago, the European Commission submitted the sixth round of proposed sanctions against Russia, including a total ban on Russian oil imports by the end of this year. Hungary immediately objected and said it wanted substantial compensation from the EU to offset its loss from giving up Russian oil.
The natural graphite price is predicted to increase in the next few days, due to geopolitical factors.
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