First Graphene (ASX: FGR) has kicked off production at its commercial graphene facility in Western Australia, which the company states is a “significant milestone” for the global graphene industry.
The company has been advancing its graphene production technology for three years. Until recently graphene has been uneconomic to produce in bulk, despite its advantageous features for numerous applications.
As one of the developer of one of the first commercial graphene productions facilities, First Graphene claims it is positioned at the “cutting edge of the graphene revolution”.
“This commissioning of the commercial graphene facility is a significant milestone for First Graphene as it progresses towards being a world leader in the production of high-quality graphene,” First Graphene managing director Craig McGuckin said.
“When combined with the research and development the company is undertaking with three leading Australian universities, it provides many exciting prospects,” Mr McGuckin added.
According to First Graphene, until now reliable supplies of bulk graphene products to industry have been limited and this has prevented widespread uptake.
The company reported that hurdle has now been jumped with its recently commissioned graphene production facility, which is scalable to meet the needs of increasing market demand.
First Graphene reported the graphene market is projected to grow more than 60% annually, however, at this stage the market remains in embryonic stages.
To assist with global market expansion, First Graphene is in negotiations with potential customers across Australia, Europe and the United Stages and is shipping trial parcels of its product for testing in a range of applications including battery, concrete, fire retardants, paints and coatings and polymers.
What is graphene?
For those unfamiliar with the material, graphene is basically an atomic layer of graphite. It is also the strongest material discovered to-date.
Graphene is usually created from graphite via mechanical exfoliation, which can be time-consuming and costly.
However, numerous companies around the world are investigating commercially viable methods of producing the material due to its multiple beneficial features.
Graphene is around 40 times stronger than a diamond, but despite this, the material remains flexible, thin and light. It is also transparent and a better conductor of electricity than graphite.
Background to First Graphene’s operations
First Graphene least premises in WA to develop the facility last year.
Final construction work on the facility was completed recently with graphene production beginning yesterday.
An initial batch of First Graphene’s material was shipped to a US building material customer for trial in its cement products in late November. The sale resulted in further enquiries.
To ensure its graphene retains consistent quality, the company installed a laboratory on the premises for ongoing testing.
The graphene is made from the company’s stockpile of high grade Sri Lankan graphite.
Shares in First Graphene finished the day at A$0.18 – up almost 40%.