IDTechEx experts delve into the world of graphene commercialisation

IDTechEx experts delve into the world of graphene commercialisation
© iStock/theasis

At first, the industry was an over-hyped field, full of over-promising, under-delivery, and utter confusion, but now having achieved significant milestones, graphene commercialisation has an exciting future.

IDTechEx talk graphene commercialisation and how they’ve been following the industry as analysts for the past seven years. The results of their ongoing research can be seen explored further here: www.IDTechEx.com/graphene.

Practical graphene commercialisation

Using a diverse range of methods, the graphene community spent multiple years to covert itself into a viable proposition:

  • Companies started to converge on specific applications, getting away from the early lack of focus and opportunity overdose
  • Companies installed notable capacity so that they could talk real business beyond just performance demonstration
  • Main players started to cut prices and reduce production costs to give graphene a more realistic price position
  • The end-users also learnt more about graphene, beginning to appreciate what it could or could not, and beginning to identify where each graphene type made sense
  • The companies slowly launched qualification processes.

Today, some significant qualification processes have converted or are converting. As such, the market is turning a page and real applications are finally arriving.

Our graphene commercialisation-focused events (conference and exhibition) in the US and Europe have been at the heat of the industry throughout this time. Our next or 13th event will take place in Berlin on 10-11 April 2019. This is likely to be a particularly exciting event since it takes place as the market is showing the first signs of real commercial success.

Graphene commercialisation and industry overview

As is now customary, our analysts (IDTechEx) will kick off the conference by giving attendees a detailed overview of the graphene market. Here, you will learn about the latest progress, innovation, and market outlook/forecasts.

Scale up and commercial success

You will hear from BASF, the chemical giant, as an end user. BASF will offer a candid perspective on the benefits and challenges of graphene use in composites. This is a key discussion as it is often difficult to make judgement in the absence of complete and/or comparative datasets.

You will then hear from the Sixth Element, a successful Chinese graphene producer. They first announced their results on ZnO/graphene anti-corrosion paints at our US conference in 2015. Since then anti-corrosion coating has emerged as a highly promising graphene application. Sixth Element also develops thermal heat spreaders. This product is utilised inside a leading Chinese mobile phone, thus marking a major success for graphene.

Other companies such as NanoXplore, First Graphene Limited, Avanzare, Abalonyx and Ocsial will all be present to provide an insight into the world of graphene commercialisation.

The Graphene Council will also outline their motivation and efforts on the so-called verified graphene producer programme which seeks to bring more transparency and trust into the graphene market which has in the past been marred by some efforts to sell other forms of carbon under a graphene label.

Innovations and application progress (thermal interface materials, energy storage, sensors, etc)

Innovation on graphene continues apace. At our show you will hear from ITT/BiDimensional. They have recently raised notable funds and are seeking to scale and commercialise their unique water jet milling liquid phase exfoliation process. This process promises to increase the production yield of liquid phase whilst also cutting down production time.

Sixonia GmbH will also speak. This spin-out company has developed an electrochemical exfoliation process that gives them good control of graphene properties including number of layers, lateral size and in-situ surface functionalisation.

Graphmatech will discuss their progress on their graphene-based thermal interface materials (TIMs). TIMs are used in connecting electronic devices to heat sinks or heat spreaders in all manners of applications including datacentres, consumer electronic devices, base stations, automotive electronics, etc. Graphene is highly promising here because it is an excellent conductor of heat and is light weight.

Skeleton Technologies will present their work on commercial production of supercapacitors. They report breakthrough ultracapacitor performance which they attribute to their nanoporous electrode based on a curved graphene technology. ZapGo will also outline their work on hybrid capacitors for fast charging. The electrode here includes nanocarbons such as graphene.

Graphene commercialisation: sheets and membranes

Mitsubishi Electric will report their results on using graphene as an infrared sensing material. This is promising proposition for film-type CVD graphene. Indeed, the results show that graphene photodetectors can outperform other technology options in the MWIR or LWIR range. As such this is a promising direction of development because it is in an area in which the incumbent technology struggles.

Samsung will outline its view of graphene and 2D materials as semiconductors for electronic devices. Graphene’s limited bandgap had dimmed its prospects as an electronic material. However, the emerging world of 2D materials has rekindled interest. This is because 2D materials offer many possibilities since they allow the formation of two-dimensional conductors, semiconductors, and insulators.

CNM Technologies will discuss their latest programme on their unique carbon nanomembranes. This is a 2D nanocarbon but is not strictly graphene. It is essentially a molecularly thin plastic. It has excellent and unique properties as a filter for water or other chemical gases/liquids.

Atomic Mechanics will showcase their development in the use of thin film CVD grown graphene as versatile force and pressure sensors. This is for a range of sensor and user interface applications with both consumer and industrial use cases in mind.

BioMed X GmbH reports on the potential and progress of graphene transistors as point-of-care bio-sensing devices. This area also holds promise as graphene, given its 2D nature with abundant surface area, is a highly sensitive sensing platform.

Graphene & 2D Materials is the most commercially-focused conference and exhibition on the topic. Here companies unveil their latest technologies and launch products. It is where technologists announce their latest commercially-relevant results, and where suppliers and end users network.

This event is part of the IDTechEx Show! which brings together more than 2500 business attendees and 200 exhibitors to focus on emerging technologies such as graphene and 2D materials, advanced energy storage technologies, 3D printing, printed and flexible electronics, wearables and e-textiles, IoT and electric vehicles. Our attendees will have access to all these parallel conferences and the joint exhibition floor.

To find out more about IDTechEx research on graphene, contact research@IDTechEx.com.

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