Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) has secured its first production order and commercial application of its “graphene nanoplatelets”. The deal with Century Composites will see the company supply the graphene to strengthen a range of high performance fishing rods.
John Mabbitt, chief executive of Applied Graphene Materials, said the next supply deal was likely to be next year for for a paint with improved resistance corrosion. The firm’s graphene has been proven to significantly improve resistance moisture penetration.
He said: “Graphene is not going to sell itself itself. You have to demonstrate to people what it can do in certain circumstances. We are providing a materials solution that improves properties or cost, competing against other materials.”
“There are between 25 to 40 companies around globally supplying graphene. They are a similar size and at a similar stage to us.”
AGM’s patented process for producing graphene differs from most methods, which rely on splitting layers of graphite using chemical, mechanical techniques or putting energy into it. Instead, AGM’s process involves catalytically cracking alcohol and then reassembling the carbon atoms into the benzene rings which form the basis of the graphene.
“Not all graphene is equal. The way its manufactured has a massive influence on it’s properties,” said Mabbitt.
He added that it would be at least another five years before grades of graphene would be available. “Graphene is at such an early stage, the level of uniformity required for specifications and test methods to give grades of graphene doesn’t exist yet. But it will come once things settle down and become more structured.”
Mabbitt said: “There is a lot of academic research into graphene, but we are turning those ideas into reality and commercialising it. Graphene will enhance what carbon fibre will do, but it won’t be sufficiently load bearing to replace it. Its adoption will be quicker than carbon fibre’s, because its improving what’s already in use.”