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Nano-enhanced Boots Successfully Passed Safety Tests

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, October 14, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2019
First Graphene, in collaboration with Steel Blue, has successfully completed safety tests for graphene-enhanced boots which will be used in various industrial sectors. This is the first time that graphene has been used successfully in thermoplastic polyurethane masterbatch, which presents considerable benefits including improved wear and chemical resistance, enhanced heat transfer, and reduced permeability.

This is the first time that graphene has successfully been incorporated into a thermoplastic polyurethane masterbatch and offers considerable advantages, including even greater wear and chemical resistance, better thermal heat transfer and reduced permeability.

Steel Blue is a major global manufacturer of work boots, with a reputation for innovative design to improve comfort, durability and safety. The adoption of graphene to boost these features still further is a continuation of this philosophy, as Chief Executive Officer, Garry Johnson, explains, “Steel Blue is committed to developing innovative solutions for our customers. We’re excited by these recent developments with First Graphene and look forward to delivering these solutions to our market.”

The prototype boots have been manufactured using First Graphene’s PureGRAPH 10 graphene powder. Unlike competing formulations, this is available in high production volumes with non-aggregated, uniform sized graphene nanoplatelets; this ensures that it disperses evenly in thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) masterbatches.

The prototype boots incorporate PureGRAPH-infused TPU soles and polyurethane foam innersoles and will now undergo extensive laboratory testing, followed by field trials. Craig McGuckin, Managing Director for First Graphene said, “The development work with Steel Blue provides yet another example of how we’re working with customers to commercialise the development of graphene, to transform the properties of materials used in many different applications, from elastomers and composites, to concrete and specialised industrial coatings.”

Tags:  coatings  composites  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Garry Johnson  Graphene  graphene enhanced polymer  Steel Blue 

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First Graphene to develop graphene-based energy storage materials for supercapacitors

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, September 24, 2019
First Graphene has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the University of Manchester to develop graphene-hybrid materials for use in supercapacitors. The licencing agreement is for patented technology for the manufacture of metal oxide decorated graphene materials, using a proprietary electrochemical process.

The graphene-hybrid materials will have the potential to create a new generation of supercapacitors, for use in applications ranging from electric vehicles to elevators and cranes. Supercapacitors offer high power-density energy storage, with the possibility of multiple charge/discharge cycles and short charging times. The market for supercapacitor devices is forecast to grow at 20% per year to approximately USD 2.1 billion by 2022. Growth may, however, be limited by the availability of suitable
materials.

Supercapacitors typically use microporous carbon nanomaterials, which have a gravimetric capacitance between 50 and 150 Farads/g. Research carried out by the University of Manchester shows that high capacitance materials incorporating graphene are capable of reaching up to 500 Farads/g. This will significantly increase the operational performance of supercapacitors in a wide range of applications, as well as increasing the available supply of materials.

Published research1 by Prof. Robert Dryfe and Prof. Ian Kinloch of The University of Manchester reveals how high capacity, microporous materials can be manufactured by the electrochemical processing of graphite raw materials. These use transition metal ions to create metal oxide decorated graphene materials, which have an extremely high gravimetric capacitance, to 500 Farads/g.

Prof. Dryfe has secured funding from the UK EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Council) for further optimisation of metal oxide/graphene materials. Following successful completion of this study, FGR is planning to build a pilot-scale production unit at its laboratories within the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC). It is anticipated that this will be the first step in volume production in the UK, to enable the introduction of these materials to supercapacitor device manufacturers.

Andy Goodwin, Chief Technology Officer of First Graphene Ltd says: “This investment is a direct result of our presence at the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre. It emphasises the importance of effective external relationships with university research partners. The programme is also aligned with the UK government’s industrial strategy grand challenges and we’ll be pursuing further support for the development of our business within the UK.”

James Baker, Chief Executive of Graphene@Manchester, added: “We are really pleased with this further development of our partnership with First Graphene. The University’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre is playing a key role in supporting the acceleration of graphene products and applications through the development of a critical supply chain of material supply and in the development of applications for industry. This latest announcement marks a significant step in our Graphene City developments, which looks to create a unique innovation ecosystem here in the Manchester city-region, the home of graphene.”

Tags:  Andy Goodwin  Energy Storage  First Graphene  Graphene  Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre  Ian Kinloch  James Baker  nanomaterials  Robert Dryfe  supercapacitors  University of Manchester 

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First Graphene announce PureGRAPH Incorporated into Steel Blue Safety Boots

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Wednesday, August 28, 2019
First Graphene is pleased to advise that in conjunction with Steel Blue have manufactured prototype sets of safety boots incorporating PureGRAPH®10.

The boots were made last week at Steel Blue’s Malaga WA factory and incorporated PureGRAPH® into the safety capped boot TPU soles and polyurethane foam innersole.

Full boots and the sole samples will be exposed to extensive laboratory tests which are expected to exceed current industry standards for safety footwear. Following laboratory testing it is anticipated extensive field trials, will be conducted, lasting approximately six months.

The incorporation of PureGRAPH® into a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is a major advance for FGR. Previously, the successful dispersion of graphene into a TPU masterbatch has been a major graphene industry issue. Extensive research by FGR has resulted in a manufacturing method which has overcome what was previously seen as a real issue.

While existing TPU’s already possess high abrasion resistance and tensile strength it is anticipated the incorporation of PureGRAPH® will improve mechanical properties while providing additional benefits in thermal heat transfer, chemical resistance and reduced permeability. 

FGR will be conducting extensive laboratory tests on the PureGRAPH® infused TPU and polyurethane foam inner sole in Australia and Manchester. Steel Blue safety boot properties are being enhanced by PureGRAPH® in the Metatarsal Guard (Steel Blue’s Met-Guard), which is specially designed to protect the metatarsal area of the foot that extends from the toes. This is a popular choice for mining workers, factory hands and drillers, who often need the extra protection the Met-Guard affords. 

The incorporation of PureGRAPH® in the Met-Guard will improve both flexibility and strength of the product.

“The development work with Steel Blue provides yet another example of FGR working on real industrial applications” said Craig McGuckin, Managing Director First Graphene Ltd. “Like FGR, Steel Blue is an Australian company and the world leader in its field of safety boots systems. These developments continue to enhance that reputation.”

Garry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Steel Blue said “Steel Blue is committed to developing innovative solutions for our customers. We’re excited by these recent developments with FGR and look forward to delivering these solutions to our market.’’

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Garry Johnson  Graphene  PureGRAPH®  Ross Fitzgerald  Steel Blue 

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First Graphene receives R&D refund

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, April 2, 2019
First Graphene is pleased to advise it has received a Research and Development refund of over $680,000.

The refund will supplement the Company’s working capital as it advances its graphene commercialisation strategies.

First Graphene is a leading supplier of high-quality, bulk graphene products and is a Tier 1 partner at the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC), Manchester, UK.

Tags:  Bulk Graphene Pricing Report  First Graphene  Graphene  Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre 

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First Graphene to Participate in Global Graphene Industrial Events

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Friday, April 5, 2019
Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2019

First Graphene, is pleased to announce it will be attending key industry events in April and May, including the IDTechEx Show in Berlin on 10th and 11th April 2019 and the American Graphene Summit in Washington DC on 21st and 22nd May 2019. Attendance of these conferences is integral to the marketing campaign elevating the Company’s presence and underlining its ability to supply industry with high quality PureGRAPH™ in tonnage volumes. 

First Graphene will showcase their industry-leading range of PureGRAPH™ graphene products and demonstrate the progress made with industrial-scale customers in composite and elastomer applications. 

IDTechEx Show, 10-11 April 2019, Berlin 

Dr Andy Goodwin (Chief Technology Officer) and Paul Ladislaus (Senior Process Engineer) will attend the exhibition. Andy Goodwin will also give a presentation at the conference titled “Delivering the Graphene Revolution”.

First Graphene will provide an update on the characterisation of PureGRAPH™ which confirms the excellent quality of these low defect, high aspect ratio, few layer graphene products and how these technical features enhance the properties of polymer composites. The latest examples of commercially adopted applications will be reviewed together with an update on the regulatory status of the PureGRAPH™ product range. The Company will also display table top examples of graphene adoption in industrial applications. 

The IDTechEx Show covers a number of high-growth emerging technologies, providing insight on the applications and latest technical and market progress of each. 

Craig McGuckin, Managing Director First Graphene Ltd commented “Attending these events is part of our ongoing programme to introduce First Graphene to target markets and in the case of the Graphene Summit to support the global growth of the graphene
industry”.

Tags:  Andy Goodwin  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  Neil Armstrong  Paul Ladislaus 

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First Graphene Presents at Graphene Automotive 2019 in Detroit

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, March 7, 2019
First Graphene's  Chief Technology Officer, Dr Andy Goodwin made a presentation at the Graphene Automotive 2019 conference and exhibition in Detroit on 4th and 5th March 2019. Andy was also invited to chair Day 1 of the conference. 

First Graphene provided an update on the measures that have been implemented to ensure the batch to batch quality of PureGRAPH™ products manufactured at Henderson, Western Australia. The Company also presented the latest information on the fundamental properties of PureGRAPH™ products underlining these are righty called graphene materials and also contained an update of progress in key applications. 

The new fundamental data indicates PureGRAPH™ is a low-defect, high aspect ratio graphene product with low metal and silicon contaminations levels. PureGRAPH™ has been shown by microscopy to contain high levels of Few Layer Graphene platelets. Raman analysis indicates the average platelet thickness is < 10 layers. 

One of the impediments to a more rapid commercialisation of graphene has been the inconsistency of quality material available for purchase. While many organisations state they can produce graphene, buyers have had issues with quality. Recognising this issue, FGR has gone to considerable lengths to ensure a high-quality product fit for delivery to industry.

"We continue to implement testing and monitoring tools that ensure the quality of PureGRAPH™ products for our customers” said Craig McGuckin, Managing Director First Graphene Ltd. “we will also continue to publish the more fundamental information on our products as this information becomes available from our ongoing collaborations with leading universities”. 

Tags:  Andy Goodwin  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  graphene platelets 

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Graphene Commercialization Conference in Berlin

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, February 21, 2019

Like many advanced materials, there is a significant learning curve to advance promising lab results into real commercial products. This includes a learning experience from the manufacturer, for cost-effective high-volume production, and a learning experience for the end-user, to establish the value and utilization of this novel material.   

IDTechEx have been following the graphene market throughout this learning experience, and the 13th edition of their commercially focussed B2B graphene conference, Graphene & 2D Materials, will be held from 10 - 11 April 2019 in Berlin, Germany. 

Once again, The Graphene Council will be there to help educate stakeholders on the value that graphene enhanced materials deliver, as well as to publicly announce the launch of the Verified Graphene Producer program. 



During the previous 12 conferences, the attendees have heard from all the main market players and end-users, with key market announcements made and technical insights provided. As the market reaches a turning point, this becomes more significant as the headlines have greater global impact.   

This combined conference and exhibition stands at a crucial point in the history of the graphene market. As laid out in a previous article, attendees will hear many relevant talks including those from: BASF, Sixth Element, NanoXplore, Avanzare, Sixonia Tech, Mitsubishi Electric, Samsung, First Graphene, and many more.   

Below are some selected indicators that the hype is turning to commercial reality for graphene. This includes the breaking of the scale vs orders dilemma, notable use-cases as a heat spreader, polymer additive, corrosion resistant coating, or enhanced battery electrode, and the upturn in investment and acquisitions. The specific news and outcomes for these indicators have all been seen at this world leading conference series and will continue to be added into the 2019 events.

2D materials are a diverse family, the event will include presentations on graphene nanoplatelets, graphene oxide (GO), reduced graphene oxide (rGO), and CVD graphene films. This includes perspectives and advancements multiple sections of the current and future supply chain: 

Material manufacturing: Attendees will hear from both established manufacturers looking to scale-up proceedings and new entries. For example, this includes NanoXplore and their 10,000 tpa plant announcement and Sixonia Tech a German university spin-out company working on electrochemical exfoliation. 

Intermediary formation: suspensions, polymer masterbatches and more are the most useful form of graphene-based products for many end-users. Attendees will hear more about this important step throughout the presentations. For example, Avanzare will discuss masterbatches for the polymer composite industry and Sixth Element provide suspensions to form heat spreaders and coatings. 

Integration and end-use application: How the materials are used, and the potential applications are very diverse. The conference will cover this in many applications from the use in energy storage, to polymer additives, electronic devices, thermal interface materials, and more all in discussion. 

Material sourcing and market opportunities: Many graphite mining companies are moving downstream and investing heavily to make this market a success. First Graphene are one such example of a vertically integrated company that will be presenting. Similarly, large materials companies are partnering or positioning themselves to utilise graphene products. Delegates will hear detailed analysis and perspectives of this industry from numerous speakers including from the likes of BASF.

For more information, please visit. 

Tags:  Avanzare  BASF  CVD  First Graphene  Graphene  Mitsubishi Electric  NanoXplore  rGO  Samsung  Sixonia Tech  Sixth Element 

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UPDATED ARTICLE: First Graphene's PureGRAPH™ is Demonstrated In A Real-World Application In The Mining Industry

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2018

On 26 October 2018 we reported that the advanced materials company, First Graphene Ltd (“FGR”) (ASX: FGR) released an update on the use of its PureGRAPH™ products in the mining services sector.

FGR has now followed up with a confirmed purchase order for 2,000 kg of their PureGRAPH™ material to be delivered during 2019, for use in the Armour-GRAPH™ product range in a mining equipment application. 

The purchase order for 2,000kg of PureGRAPH™ range products from newGen for delivery during 2019, represents a significant development not only for FGR, but also for the broader graphene market. It demonstrates the initial market appetite for high quality bulk graphene products of the type in which FGR specialises. Up until now the graphene sector has been supplying mostly samples for evaluation. This order represents a step change in the business as it starts to scale up for larger size orders.

Pleasingly, the premium price to be received pursuant to the order debunks the myth that graphene is expensive. The productivity benefits and material performance improvements experienced when PureGRAPHTM is added to materials more than compensate for the cost of the graphene, and it underpins the pricing strategy employed by First Graphene.

As previously reported (see article below) FGR is working closely with newGen Group to provide performance enhancement to their existing products with the addition of PureGRAPH™ graphene products. newGen Group has recently introduced a branded Amour-GRAPH™ product range of wear liners for bucket wheel, pipe spools and conveyor heavy equipment applications.


In a recent development, the Company was pleased to confirm further progress in its R&D collaboration with newGen Group. newGen is supplying a wear lining system for dryer chute applications to a large Australian cement producer in their Perth facility. It is a leading supplier of cement and lime to the Western Australia’s mining, agriculture and construction industries.

Each 50m2 liner will contain 10 to 12kg of PureGRAPH™ and is a further significant step in the adoption of First Graphene products into large industrial applications. PureGRAPH™ has been demonstrated to provide up to 37% improved tensile strength and improve abrasion resistance by 100% to 500% in high performance polyurethanes.

newGen has now issued a purchase order for 2,000kg (2 tonnes) of PureGRAPHTM to be drawn down as it wins tenders during 2019. There is one final regulatory approval required before the first sale is effected, being the registration of graphene by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) in Australia.

Similarly, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) needs to be completed for sales in the European Union. These registration processes are currently underway and they are not expected to provide any meaningful delays.

The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) registration process is required for all chemicals used in industry in Australia. Within the European Union REACH registration is required if an organisation plans to sell greater than one tonne of a chemical within the EU or United Kingdom. First Graphene Ltd has already joined the consortium which is registering graphene as a new chemical. The consortium consists of three graphene organisations, one from China, one from Canada and one European producer.

Managing Director, Craig McGuckin, stated: “We said that we were the world’s leading graphene company, and we are now proving it with this sales order – the start of many. We do not believe there is another company which could deliver both the volume and the consistent quality this order requires. We are now entering an exciting growth phase as industries all around the world are starting to look at ways in which they can use graphene to improve their products and lower their operating costs”.

newGen Managing Director, Ben Walker stated: “My Company has had considerable interest generated for our new Armour-GRAPH™ range since we started developing PureGRAPH enhanced products with First Graphene. The graphene enhanced resin was added seamlessly into our mixing procedure. It is not labour intensive or complicated with regard to our standard operating practices.”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE - 26 OCT 2018

FGR is working closely with a number of companies to demonstrate performance enhancement of their products through the addition of its PureGRAPH™ graphene products. In this case, the wear-life of mining equipment can be extended with the inclusion of PureGRAPH™ graphene into protective polymer linings.

The rapid progress made with these polymer linings was enabled by the high consistency of PureGRAPH™ products and the ease of dispersion into the polymer resin. The know-how being acquired is readily transferable to a vast range of other polymer products, in many industries. The suitability of the PureGRAPH™ is particularly pleasing as it confirms this is a commercially superior product.

It is expected that, as manufacturing companies start to witness the improvements that graphene can offer, there will be an acceleration of demand for supplies of PureGRAPH™. First Graphene is well-positioned to satisfy the demand as it enters an exciting growth phase.

  • PureGRAPH™ graphene has been successfully incorporated into a high volume application in the mining sector. 
  • A full scale mining reclaimer bucket was cast for an on-site trial with a multi-national mining company 
  • Test work has confirmed PureGRAPH™ readily disperses into the polymer resin used 
  • Further bucket linings will be cast and sold for use in northern Australia with a multi-national mining group 
  • PureGRAPH™ enhanced polymer liners for a range of associated applications will also be trialled 
  • This success with a graphene-enhanced bucket lining will open an important growth curve for graphene enhanced rubbers and composites
  • There are 12 buckets on the wheel for the machine these buckets are destined for, each with a capacity is 2.2 m3. The reclaimer has a nominal machine capacity is 12,000 tph and maximum capacity is 14,500 tph in bauxite.

 

newGen 

 

As announced in June 2018 FGR is working with newGen Group on equipment used in the mining industry to improve polyurethane liners to protect them from excessive abrasion and increase their useful life. 

 

Since then FGR and newGen have conducted various tests using PureGRAPH™ in polyurethane to determine the best suited PureGRAPH™ product and the optimum quantity to be added. These tests have demonstrated that the PureGRAPH™ product provides significantly increased flexural strength to the base polyurethane product. 

 

newGen have now cast a liner for a Sandvik reclaimer bucket using PureGRAPH™ 20 and are now working with FGR on the use of a PureGRAPH™ enhance polyurethane in other high volume mining applications in the iron ore industry where newGen are preferred supplier.

 

FGR Managing Director, Craig McGuckin, stated: “Achieving the creation of this bucket liner for a multi-national end user is a credit to Ben’s foresight and the team at FGR.” 

 

newGen’s Ben Walker stated: “We are pleased to be at the forefront of graphene use in mining materials. It has been excellent to work with the calibre of people at First Graphene in this march towards supplying our valued clients with ground breaking, high performance materials.”

 

About First Graphene Ltd (ASX: FGR) 

First Graphene has established a commercial graphene production facility for the bulk scale manufacture of graphene at competitive prices. The Company continues to develop graphene related intellectual property from which it intends to generate licence and royalty payments. 

 

The Company has collaboration arrangements with four universities and is at the cutting edge of graphene and 2D related material developments. Most recently First Graphene has become a Tier 1 participant in the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) of the University of Manchester. First Graphene is working with numerous industry partners for the commercialisation of graphene and is building a sales book with these industry partners. 

 

PureGRAPH™ Range of Products 

The PureGRAPH™ range of products were released by FGR in September 2018, in conjunction with a detailed Product Information Sheet. PureGRAPH™ graphene powders are available with lateral platelet sizes of 20μm, 10μm and 5μm. The products are characterised by their low defect level and high aspect ratio. 

 

About Graphene 

Graphene, the well-publicised and now famous two-dimensional carbon allotrope, is as versatile a material as any discovered on Earth. Its amazing properties as the lightest and strongest material, compared with its ability to conduct heat and electricity better than anything else, means it can be integrated into a huge number of applications. Initially this will mean graphene is used to help improve the performance and efficiency of current materials and substances, but in the future, it will also be developed in conjunction with other two-dimensional (2D) crystals to create some even more amazing compounds to suit an even wider range of applications. 

 

One area of research which is being very highly studied is energy storage. Currently, scientists are working on enhancing the capabilities of lithium ion batteries (by incorporating graphene as an anode) to offer much higher storage capacities with much better longevity and charge rate. Also, graphene is being studied and developed to be used in the manufacture of supercapacitors which can be charged very quickly, yet also be able to store a large amount of electricity. 

 

For further information, please contact 

Craig McGuckin

Managing Director  

First Graphene Limited  

+ 611300 660 448

Tags:  FGR  First Graphene  graphene enhanced polymer  Mining  newGen  Polymer 

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2D Fluidics Pty Ltd created to launch the Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD)

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Friday, June 22, 2018

 

Advanced materials company, First Graphene Limited (“FGR” or “the Company”) (ASX: FGR) is pleased to announce the launch of its 50%-owned associate company, 2D Fluidics Pty Ltd, in collaboration with Flinders University’s newly named Flinders Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology

 

The initial objective of 2D Fluidics will be the commercialisation of the Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD), invented by the Flinders Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology’s Professor Colin Raston. The VFD enables new approaches to producing a wide range of materials such as graphene and sliced carbon nanotubes, with the bonus of not needing to use harsh or toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process (which is required for conventional graphene and shortened carbon nanotube production). 

 

This clean processing breakthrough will also greatly reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of manufacturing these new high quality super-strength carbon materials. The key intellectual property used by 2D Fluidics comprises two patents around the production of carbon nanomaterials, assigned by Flinders University. 

 

2D Fluidics will use the VFD to prepare these materials for commercial sales, which will be used in the plastics industry for applications requiring new composite materials, and by the electronics industry for circuits, supercapacitors and batteries, and for research laboratories around the world.

 

2D Fluidics will also manufacture the VFD, which is expected to become an in-demand state-of-the-art research and teaching tool for thousands of universities worldwide, and should be a strong revenue source for the new company. 

 

Managing Director, Craig McGuckin said “First Graphene is very pleased to be partnering Professor Raston and his team in 2D Fluidics, which promises to open an exciting growth path in the world of advanced materials production. Access to this remarkably versatile invention will complement FGRs position as the leading graphene company at the forefront of the graphene revolution.” 

 

Professor Colin Raston AO FAA, Professor of Clean Technology, Flinders Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology, Flinders University said “The VFD is a game changer for many applications across the sciences, engineering and medicine, and the commercialisation of the device will have a big impact in the research and teaching arena,” Nano-carbon materials can replace metals in many products, as a new paradigm in manufacturing, and the commercial availability of such materials by 2D Fluidics will make a big impact. It also has exciting possibilities in industry for low cost production where the processing is under continuous flow, which addresses scaling up - often a bottleneck issue in translating processes into industry.

Tags:  2D Fluidics  batteries  Carbon Nanotubes  circuits  Composites  electronics  First Graphene  Graphene  Plastics  research laboratories  supercapacitors  Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD) 

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First Graphene and Swinburne University Developing New battery Technology Using Graphene

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Advanced materials company, First Graphene Limited (“FGR” ) has announced an update on its work with the Swinburne University of Technology (SUT) on the development of a new energy storage technology using graphene, referring to their new product as the "BEST™ Battery".

 

While it is generally accepted that lithium-ion batteries are the state-of-the-art energy storage device available for consumer products today, they are not without their issues. In particular, there are examples where they have been the cause of fires in some instances. There is a vast number of companies and research institutions working to provide safer, more reliable and longer life batteries which utilise materials other than lithium-ion. Some of these involve the use of graphene. 

 

First Graphene, through its research and licencing agreements with Swinburne University of Technology, is pursuing a significantly different path to the development of the next generation of energy storage devices. Rather than trying to improve existing chemical battery technology, it is pioneering the field of advanced supercapacitors which have the potential to change the future for energy storage forever, particularly in handheld and consumer products.

 

Using the advanced qualities of graphene, First Graphene is developing the BEST™ Battery. This energy storage device promises to be chargeable in a fraction of the time and it will be fit for purpose for at least 10 times the life of existing batteries. It will be significantly safer and more environmentally friendly. All these improvements are made possible because the science relies on physics rather than chemical reactions, and on the remarkable properties of graphene materials. 

 

The table below provides an interesting comparison of key operating parameters of the BEST™ Battery alongside existing lithium-ion batteries and existing supercapacitors available in the market. What is particularly noteworthy is the 10x increase in the energy density expected for the BEST™ Battery, when compared with supercapacitors currently on sale in the market place, and the much lower cost per Wh. These features will provide great commercial advantages.

 

Table 1: Comparison between BEST™ Target development and existing Li Ion AA Batteries and an existing commercial Supercapacitor.

 

While the exact details of the design and construction of the BEST™ Battery must remain confidential for reasons of commercial security, First Graphene have disclosed the process of manufacturing the battery involves the use of lasers to create nanopores in graphene-based materials which achieve energy densities more than 10x as great as the pre-existing technology. Practical matters being addressed include the scaling up to the size of the battery from simple laboratory demonstrations of the effectiveness of the science, to devices which will be effective substitutes for batteries used in a wide range of hand held consumer products.

 

Recent Progress 

 

The first few months of the BEST™ Battery development project entailed the recruitment of additional, highly qualified research scientists and the acquisition of specialised equipment needed to prepare and manufacture the components of the BEST™ Battery.

 

Work has commenced on the improvement of many design aspects in order to optimise the configuration of the battery, with the ultimate objective being to develop a product suitable for mass scale production. At the same time, the methodology of making the battery is being subjected to continuous experimentation to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the materials and processes used in the device. In addition, the pilot production line for building the BEST™ Battery prototype has been set up, which enables the manufacturing of the BEST™ Battery to meet industrial standards. 

 

Swinburne recently reported that a single layer of the BEST™ Battery prototype that made by the pilot production line was able to sustain an LED globe for a period of 15-20 minutes with only a few seconds of initial charge. This is a very significant outcome, auguring well for the ultimate product which is intended to comprise much more than 100 stacked layers of graphene sheets. 

 

The Ragone plot below tracks the continuing improvements in the performance of the BEST™ Battery.

 


 

Figure 1: Ragone Plot demonstrating the progress of the BEST™ Battery development toward its goal

 

Graphene-Based Flexible Smart Watch 

 

The research being undertaken also involves the development of flexible batteries for smart watches which can be incorporated into the watchband itself. These will be light-weight and flexible, they will be able to be recharged in 1-2 minutes, and they will be fit for purpose for many tens of thousands of cycles. Information will be displayed not only on the watch face, but also on the band itself.

Figure 2: Graphene Watch – Flexible Smart Watch concept

 

Target Markets 

 

While it is intended that the BEST™ Battery development program will eventually provide suitable substitutes for many devices which currently used flat pack and cylindrical batteries, it will also provide batteries for new, innovative purposes. The thin profile of the Battery, and its flexibility, will make it suitable for use in clothing. It could also be integrated into smart watch bands, as an example, rather than having a solid block configuration. It is already showing excellent ability to convert kinetic energy into stored energy due to the speed at which it can charge i.e. simple movement of shaking can recharge the Battery. 

 

Commenting on these progress, FGR’s Managing Director Craig McGuckin said:

 

“The demonstration of full scale commerciality of the BEST™ Battery will take time, but so far the results have been very encouraging. The science has been proved at laboratory scale and now we are advancing many aspects of materials used and design processes leading to the development and optimisation of production methodology. We are very pleased that Swinburne University of Technology has advised us that the pilot production line is a world first. We are confident that the advantages offered by our technology will bring revolutionary changes to how we use batteries in the future, with added safety, efficiencies and flexibilities. The BEST™ Battery will be a serious game changer”.

 

 

Tags:  Battery  First Graphene  Li-ion  Supercapacitor  Swinburne University 

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