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Graphene and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in the UK

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

Emerging technologies such as graphene are being investigated by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in the UK for their potential to improve decommissioning of nuclear sites.

The Challenge

To identify how graphene, an emerging technology, could improve delivery of NDA’s mission.

The Solution

Review the properties of graphene including the latest developments and areas for potential deployment.

Technology Review : Graphene – a form of carbon consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice with unique chemical and physical properties.

Expected Benefits: Raising awareness of new emerging technology across the NDA Group and supply chain.

The NDA published a report on its findings and research over the period of 2016 - 2018: "Graphene and its use in nuclear decommissioning", produced in collaboration with NSG Environmental, the University of Manchester and the National Physical Laboratory

Highlights:

Graphene’s chemical and physical properties are unique:

- one of the thinnest but also strongest materials

- conducts heat better than all other materials

- conducts electricity

- is optically transparent but so dense that it is impermeable to gases

Developments in graphene-based technology have been rapid in a number of areas, including advanced electronics, water filtration and high-strength materials. NDA identified graphene as an emerging technology that could be useful to improve delivery of its mission.

NDA carried out a technology review to compare the properties and potential uses of graphene against the challenges facing the UK in decommissioning its earliest nuclear sites. The opportunities identified included:

  • Advanced materials: Graphene-doped materials could help to immobilise nuclear wastes.
  • Composites incorporating graphene could be used in the construction of stronger buildings or containers for storing nuclear materials.
  • Cleaning up liquid wastes: Graphene-based materials could absorb or filter radioactive elements, helping to clean up spills or existing radioactive wastes.
  • Sensors: Graphene in sensors could improve the detection of radiation or monitor for the signs of corrosion in containers.
  • Batteries: Graphene could produce smaller, longer-lasting batteries that would enable robots to operate for longer in contaminated facilities.

NDA also assessed the potential limitations in graphene’s use to provide a balanced assessment.

The issues identified included:
- cost
- scale-up
- environmental concerns
- lack of standardization
- knowledge regarding radiation tolerance

The report was shared with technical experts across the NDA group, published online and summarised in the Nuclear Institute’s journal: Nuclear Futures. As the technology moves on from early-stage research, NDA and its businesses are continuing to monitor developments, such as the recently opened Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC), with the aim of supporting graphene-based technologies and accelerating their uptake within the nuclear decommissioning sector.

NDA is progressing further projects investigating the potential of other emerging technologies. Engagement continues with academia and industry to identify innovations that could improve delivery of the mission.

Tags:  Andre Geim  Batteries  Graphene  Graphite  Konstantin Novoselov  Sensors  University of Manchester 

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Talga Anode Outperforms Commercial Li-ion Cells In Electric Vehicle Endurance Test

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, March 28, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 28, 2019
Talga Resources, is pleased to announce further results from development of its active graphite anode product for lithium-ion batteries, Talnode™-C.

Talnode-C is currently undergoing full-cell qualification with a range of technical and commercial partners as it progresses through validation processes. In new tests conducted by IV Electrics, formerly known as Italian Volt and manufacturer of the “Lacama” electric motorcycle, Li-ion batteries fabricated with Talnode-C anodes were subjected to benchtop tests designed to replicate extreme real world conditions and ensure high performance of the Lacama battery pack.

One of these tests is named ‘Stelvio’, after the famously steep road through the Italian Alps and simulates driving up a mountain at high speed. This cyclic test checks the ability of a battery to efficiently collect fast charge regenerative current (from braking) after a high-power discharge (acceleration) in low temperature conditions. Results in running time represents battery cell performance before limits in voltage drop or cell temperature force the end of the test.

Results show that Talnode-C containing battery cells outperform the endurance of market leading commercial cells by up to 36%. Furthermore, the tests confirm the fast charge, high power, and low temperature properties of Talnode-C anodes translate well to the full cell-level.

In effect this means that a battery pack manufactured with Talnode-C may need less thermal management and materials, reducing cost and weight, while increasing energy density (and therefore driving range) and safety of the battery pack.

Talga Managing Director, Mr Mark Thompson: “We are delighted that Talga’s Li-ion battery anode material has proven itself again in tests for a premium electric vehicle manufacturer such as IV Electrics and their high performance Lacama. We look forward to further development of our premium range of Li-ion battery products utilising Talga anode material technology and the unique intrinsic properties of our Swedish mineral resources.”

Talga staff will be presenting recently published performance results of TalnodeTM products at the International Battery Seminar in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on 28 March Australian time.

Tags:  Graphene  Graphite  IV Electrics  Li-ion batteries  Mark Thompson  Talga Resources 

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Gratomic Submits Mining License Application

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, March 4, 2019

Gratomic Inc. today announced that it has submitted a full mining license application to the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy.

The company has submitted its application for Mining License 215 (M L215). The License area falls within the proximity of the Aukam Processing Plant and the Graphite bearing shear zone for a total of 5002 hectares (5002 ha). The mining license was the last step required for the company to go into full production. The license submission is timed strategically with the construction of Gratomic's onsite processing plant located at the Aukam Graphite Mine in Namibia and in conjunction with the recently announced long-term Graphene supply agreement with Vittoria Tires and Gratomic's partner Perpetuus Advanced Materials.

Gratomic’s CO-CEO Arno Brand stated, “This marks a significant milestone in the company’s  path to commercializing its Aukam Graphite mine, through this submission of our mining license we are now able to start producing graphite from our Aukam Graphite mine at full capacity”

Tags:  Arno Brand  Graphene  Graphite  Gratomic  Perpetuus Advanced Materials  Vittoria 

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James Briggs to launch graphene enhanced Hycote range using AGM's material

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, February 28, 2019

James Briggs have successfully completed their Graphene products first production batch, which is a significant milestone on the path to commercial realisation.

Extensive testing has demonstrated repeated and outstanding improvements in anti-corrosion performance for their automotive aerosol primer. JBL plan to launch the new range of graphene enhanced anti-corrosion aerosols under their Hycote brand.


Graphene is a single atom layer of graphite. Its ability to form hexagonal lattice structure gives it exceptional properties in terms of strength, electricity and heat conduction.

These single atom lattice structures can stack to form layers. In coatings this lattice structure gives excellent barrier properties and in the case of our specially formulated primer, this results in excellent salt spray resistance and therefore give superior anti-corrosive performance when compared to a similar product without graphene.

Applied Graphene Materials is the supplier off graphene to James Briggs for this product. 

Tags:  Applied Graphene Materials  Graphene  Graphite  James Briggs 

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Talga Resources: From Raw Material to Functionalized Graphene for Cutting Edge Applications

Posted By Dexter Johnson, IEEE Spectrum, Tuesday, August 15, 2017

 

There are many different ways in which a graphene supplier can find its way into the marketplace. They might start off as research contractors in the field and discover a process for producing graphene that they believe has a competitive edge.

Another route is to start off in the mining of graphite—the material from which graphene is synthesized—and look into new avenues for exploiting their product.

One company that has followed this path is Australia-based Talga Resources, which mines its high quality graphite deposits in Northern Sweden and processes that ore into graphene that should be suitable for a wide range of potential applications.

Talga recently joined the growing list of The Graphene Council’s corporate partners at which time we took the opportunity to speak to Talga’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Thompson, to ask him more about the direction of the company and their perspective on the issues facing the growing graphene marketplace.

 Q: Do you consider Talga Resources a mining company or an advanced materials company? Why one and not the other?

We see ourselves as an advanced materials company. This is because the majority of our output is functionalized and formulated graphene additive products produced in-house, and utilizes our own 100% owned technology in the product not just raw products.

Has this perception changed over time? Yes, the separation occurred first as we started developing our own processing technology in 2014 and moved to product development in 2016. Mining is now just one of our competitive advantages in owning our complete supply chain. We also have a range of valuable non-carbon mineral assets that can be developed such as cobalt and copper that are also part of the technology metals and clean-tech supply chain.

Q: What kind of graphene are you producing, i.e. how is manufactured and what applications is best suited for? 

We electrochemically exfoliate our graphite ore directly into pristine graphene nanoplatelets and a few layers graphene, not graphene oxide.  We do in-house functionalization then to create dispersion and product performance, such as conductivity or adhesion. But it is a tunable process so we can produce a range of graphene particle morphologies.

We are using these morphologies successfully in a variety of coatings, batteries, composites and concrete products. Obviously these are large volume current markets where our economics and scale can provide the material solution, as compared to CVD type applications. 

Q: Are you functionalizing the graphene in any way?

Yes, we do in-house chemical functionalization.

Q: How far up the value chain to ultimately expect to be moving in the graphene market, i.e. do you foresee you producing actual devices from graphene or will you continue to supply others with graphene to make products?

We can supply raw or basic value-added products directly, but tend away from retailing and towards formulated solutions and product systems, that can be master batches or incorporated into a current product process line. 

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge in the graphene market at large and how does that translate into challenges for your business?

Time. The biggest challenge is accelerating the testing of products with large companies to convince the rest of industry to make the change to incorporate a new material. Down the road will be process controls for quality and consistency, and the perennial problem of lack of investor and business knowledge of how graphene really works in an application.

Q: You are an Australian-based company with mining operations in Sweden. Are you producing the graphene in Europe or Australia?

All graphene is produced in Europe, with bulk raw materials made at our test process facility in Rudolstadt, Germany and the UK subsidiary based in Cambridge responsible for product development.

Q: What sort of advantages does having operations on two continents provide you and what are the challenges?

The advantage of having our downstream and upstream processes separated is that they can be more flexible and faster to develop.  The challenge is that they are spread out but they will be consolidated more once the first commercial plant is built in Sweden.

Q: What sort of efforts are needed for the graphene market as a whole to improve uptake by the various application markets that are impacted by it, i.e. standardization, dissemination of information, industry advocacy?

I believe graphene producers should do less raw supply and more value-added or advanced prototype products.  With current market relevance and pricing it will improve uptake faster than regulation, standards and info. Proof of performance at scales bigger than the lab will lead faster to commercial outcomes than providing raw materials to end users without skills to incorporate it.

Q: How do you see the graphene business evolving over the next five years and what do you aim at making Talga Resources role in that business? 

The graphene business will undergo a great deal of failures and M & A activity while commercialization grows in the background with a few key companies. Most will migrate from raw material and basic dispersions to more formulated value-added additives targeting specific products in collaboration with industry. This will be on current market products, not futuristic aspirational products. Talga is already ahead on this path and aims to be a very profitable and global leader in graphene enabled products well within 5 years.

Tags:  graphene production  graphite 

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