First Graphene (ASX: FGR) is showcasing its technology and products to the world through a series of presentations to investors in Hong Kong, London and New York – paving the way to begin selling its graphene material globally.
In late January, First Graphene secured Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals approval to legally sell up to 10 tonnes per annum of graphene materials into UK and European markets.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the equivalent process involves registering its PureGRAPH product with the National Industrial Chemical Notification and Assessment Scheme, with First Graphene lodging its application to secure this mid-last month.
First Graphene anticipates it will be given the greenlight to start selling its PureGRAPH in Australia by the end of May.
According to the company, its existing 100 tonnes per annum graphene plant is “just the beginning”, with the plant’s modular design capable of being expanded at “relatively short notice” in response to sales orders.
Once demand for its graphene material picks up, First Graphene anticipates growing its production capacity up to 1,000tpa.
Graphene’s path to market
Often touted by scientists as an amazing new nanomaterial, graphene improves the performance of the material it has been added.
As a new and disruptive technology, First Graphene said its path to commercialisation has not been “unusual”.
The company’s facility in the WA suburb of Henderson is believed to be the largest bulk high-quality graphene production plant in the world.
After honing its production design, First Graphene launched its PureGRAPH product range late last year.
To meet growing demand, First Graphene has stockpiled enough high-grade vein graphite to meet up to four years’ production at 100tpa.
As demand takes off, First Graphene will secure its graphite from its 100%-owned Sri Lankan mines with the two mines possessing the potential to supply a further 200tpa of graphite.
A primary sector First Graphene is targeting initially is industrial markets with low barriers to entry and shorter regulatory qualification time lines.
In the new energy storage space, First Graphene anticipates its products will play an important role in the longer term, with these new technologies requiring further development and testing to progress to incorporating the company’s materials.
Short-term, First Graphene is focused on growing its PureGRAPH sales to fibre composite and polymer markets.
“PureGRAPH 20 has been shown to work very well in these products with dramatic effect in many cases,” the company stated.
When incorporated in fibreglass, testing has shown including 1% PureGRAPH 20 resulted in a 30% reduction in productions costs, and cut weight by the same amount while retaining strength.
Additionally, one customer noted a 20% increase in plant capacity due to faster production cycles and “significantly reduced” water permeability.
“These improvements suggest that PureGRAPH could be the most important development in the manufacturing of fibreglass products in more than 40 years – raising the possibility of glass fibre competing with carbon fibre composites in some industrial sectors,” the company stated.
First Graphene forecasts the industrial composite market will be worth US$130 billion per annum by 2024.
Other potential uses for First Graphene’s PureGRAPH include incorporation in polyurethane liners for mining equipment, safety boots, marine, sports and leisure, roofing and wind turbine blades.
Before the current year is out, First Graphene expects it will be selling up to 20tpa of its product into these newer markets, with breakeven cash flow anticipated to have been achieved by December.