What is the diffrence beteween Synthetic vs natural graphite?
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Russian president demanded that exports of Russian gas to "unfriendly" countries be settled in rubles. The demand has raised concerns in Germany about possible supply disruptions and the impact on industry and households if utilities do not pay in robles. Europe gets about 40% of its gas from Russia. Last year, Europe imported about 155 billion cubic meters. Germany, Europe's largest economy, depends heavily on Russian gas.
The chief executive of Germany's E.ON said the German economy would face "significant damage, which should be avoided if possible" without Russian supplies. He also said it would take Germany three years to wean itself off Russian gas.
In the event of a supply disruption, Germany's gas network regulator would prioritize home heating over industrial use, so energy-hungry manufacturers such as steelmakers would be the first to suffer, he said.
The volatile international 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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Europe has been facing the gas shortage problem since the second half of 2021. The worsening situation in Russia and Ukraine has reduced Russian gas shipments to Europe, leading to a doubling of European gas prices. Energy shortages have sent electricity prices soaring. For these reasons, it is predicted that the price of the natural graphite will continue to increase.