First Graphene (ASX: FGR) has shouldered into the maritime services sector after agreeing to develop graphene-based coatings and ropes with Engage Marine, which will eventually be sold to global industry participants.
Under the collaborative agreement, the parties will design, customising and commercialise graphene-based products.
First Graphene will explore using graphene as anti-fouling in coatings. The company will also undertake research into developing new graphene-based formulations such as spray on coatings with fire retardant and noise reduction properties.
These different coatings could be used to augment strength and durability to numerous ship parts including bulkhead doors, hulls, engine rooms and polypropylene ropes.
“Engage Marine represents another industry partner with [which] First Graphene will be developing an exciting range of products utilising First Graphene’s range of high quality graphene,” First Graphene managing director Craig McGuckin said.
What is graphene and its benefits?
For readers unfamiliar with the material, graphene is essentially an atomic layer of graphite. It is the strongest material discovered to-date, possessing more than 40 times the strength of a diamond.
Despite its strength, graphene is also flexible, thin and light. It is also transparent and a better electricity conductor than graphite.
Usually, graphene is generated from mechanical exfoliation of graphite, but this method is time-consuming and costly.
First Graphene claims it has developed a commercially viable process of creating graphene.
According to the company, graphene can offer several benefits to applications in the marine industry, specifically, as an anti-fouling agent in paints and coatings.
The company claims when graphene is incorporated into anti-fouling paints and coatings, it can enhance performance and extend the time between applications to every five years instead of the current three-year standard.
“Both companies see significant potential benefits in utilising the unique properties of graphene to improve the operational efficiency and environmental impact of several marine applications,” Engage Marine chief executive officer Mark Malone said.
First Graphene operations
After working on its graphene technology the last three years, First Graphene kicked-off production at its Western Australia-based commercial graphene facility in late February this year.
At the time, the company purported it had developed one of the first commercial graphene production facilities in the world.
First Graphene aims to be one of the original suppliers of bulk graphene products to industry and its facility is scalable to meet mounting market demand.
Although in its embryonic stages, the company forecasts the graphene market will grow more than 60% each year.