Perth-based Sparc Technologies (ASX: SPN) has moved closer to confirming the commercial suitability of its graphene-based additives for industrial applications following a series of positive anti-corrosion tests.
During three months to 30 June, tests using Sparc’s graphene additives in commercially-available coatings products produced an “exceptional” improvement in anti-corrosion performance and paved the way for the company to apply its technology in marine environments and global shipping applications.
Testing utilised smooth, cold-rolled steel panels with 150 microns of epoxy coating which were subjected to 1,344 hours of salt spray under controlled conditions approximating a C5 highly-corrosive environment (such as industrial areas with high humidity and coastal areas with high salinity).
The environment was intended to amplify observable differences in corrosion performance between the various samples.
Panels in the control group had no graphene added to the paint, while the panels with graphene exhibited up to 62% improvement in corrosion resistance.
In the context of Sparc’s targeted customer industries, this result represents a potential for substantial performance improvements.
Anti-corrosion test work continues with a six-month ISO12944 (the international standard for corrosion protection) cyclic ageing test program underway.
Test results and industry partner discussions are expected to progress throughout the next quarter.
PFAS adsorption agreement
In early June, Sparc entered into an agreement with Australian environmental remediation company JBS&G to allow for the immediate testing under field conditions of its functionalised graphene for the adsorption of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).
The testing was enabled through research and development undertaken at the University of Adelaide and will involve the development of a pilot plant for adsorption from contaminated water via graphene filtration.
The plant will be located at a site where JBS&G is currently undertaking remediation.
Testing of functionalised graphene for the adsorption and immobilisation of PFAS in soil will also be conducted as a separate project within the same agreement.
Sparc and JBS&G have agreed to commence a scoping study to determine the economic feasibility of using graphene-based adsorbent, as well as the options with regards to supply agreements for the sale of graphene-based adsorbent filter products.
New managing director
Sparc chief executive officer Mike Bartels was appointed to the role of managing director this month.
Mr Bartels joined the company in March to lead a strategic review focused on streamlining research and development activities and fast-tracking commercialisation opportunities.
He brings a depth of experience to the job through previous roles as global head of marketing, business development manager and sales director for paint, protective coatings and insulation products for major multinational coatings companies.
Sparc’s primary focus remains on commercialising graphene technologies and products developed from the research and development of graphene-based materials.
At the end of the quarter, Sparc had a reported $2.93 million cash at bank.