First Graphene Limited is pleased to provide an update on its programme to develop novel graphene hybrid materials. In September 2019, the Company announced the signing of a worldwide, exclusive licence agreement with the University of Manchester for the manufacture of hybrid-graphene materials by electrochemical processing.
Two high value product groups can be synthesised using this approach. Firstly, metal oxide decorated materials with high capacitance for applications in supercapacitors and catalysis and secondly, pristine graphene products with tightly controlled specifications for applications in electrical and thermal conductivity. The manufacturing process to be employed builds on the Company’s existing electrochemical processing expertise which is scaled to 100 tonne/year capacity at FGR’s manufacturing site at Henderson, WA.
The licence agreement was quickly followed in October 2019; by the initiation of a UK government funded EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Council) project to transfer the technology from the University laboratories to First Graphene laboratories.
Since October, the Company has successfully transferred the technology to its laboratories in Manchester, UK and has also completed two successful pilot trials at its manufacturing facility in Henderson, WA. Specifically, the Company has demonstrated the following
• Synthesis of metal oxide decorated hybrid graphenes at litre scale in FGR laboratories.
• Synthesis of pristine (zero-oxygen) graphene materials at litre scale in FGR laboratories.
• Manufacture of metal oxide decorated hybrid graphenes at multi-kg scale.
• Manufacture of pristine (zero-oxygen) graphene materials at multi-kg scale.
The structure of the new materials has been confirmed by Raman analysis and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). A typical image of metal oxide decorated graphene is shown in Fig. 1 which shows the nanostructured metal oxides on the surface of an exfoliated graphene platelet.
Currently the FGR team, is testing the performance of these materials in energy storage and catalysis applications. Initial testing shows that prototype supercapacitor devices (coin cell) can be manufactured with these materials. Currently, additional testing is delayed due to restricted access to test facilities as a consequence of COVID-19 actions. Further updates will be provided.
In parallel to the experimental programme, the Company has been actively seeking end-users for novel supercapacitor products. The need for supercapacitors with higher performance from those currently available have been validated by end-users in the aerospace, marine, electric vehicle and utility storage sectors. The company is also actively seeking government funding to develop a new supply chain for game changing supercapacitor devices and have received letters of support from key players.
“We are really excited by the potential for these hybrid-graphene materials” said Craig McGuckin, Managing Director of First Graphene Ltd. “we have proven the chemistry does transfer at scale. We are disappointed that testing is being delayed due to current circumstances but will use this time to strengthen our end-user relationships.”