What’s the thinnest substance ever made thats 100 times stronger than steel?
GEELONG would be the centre of the rising graphene revolution under a plan to build the country’s first commercial manufacturing plant of the super material.
The thinnest substance made, graphene is 100 times tougher than the strongest steel and highly flexible, but scientists have long struggled to tap into it’s rich possibilities.
Now the thin material is being converted into commercial products, with its use extended to printer powders, smartphones, batteries and sports equipment. A Sydney-based firm has unveiled plans to build Australia’s first pilot plant in North shore, tapping into the expertise of a Geelong engineering company.
Imagine Intelligent Materials has entered into a contract with Auseng for the factory, with plans to use two tonnes of graphene in its first year of operation for Australian manufacturers’ products.
“We anticipate a need for well over 100 tonnes of graphene per year for the next four years”
Imagine IM’s head of research and development, Phil Aitchison, said Auseng had the engineering skills and support services to build the country’s first commercial graphene facility.
“The pilot plant will be used to bed-down our proprietary production process and to supply Imagine IM’s domestic customers in 2016 and 2017,” he said.
“It will lay the foundation for our expansion, both domestically and internationally, where we anticipate a need for well over 100 tonnes of graphene per year within the next four years.”
The global graphene-based products market was estimated to be worth 1.5 million in 2015.
BCC Research predicts that would soar to 1.3 billion by 2023, with graphene likely to be used in faster computer chips and flexible touch screens.
Auseng managing director Ross George said the company was delighted to help develop the product locally.
“Auseng has a depth of experience of how to deliver highly innovative equipment utilising new technology,” he said.
“We hope this will be the beginning of Auseng working closely with Imagine IM to develop industrial equipment that will be able to be exported to the world.”