Graphene is a nano-material directly derived from graphite. Not a week goes by that an article reports an additional use adding to the list of its already myriad applications deriving from its unique property combinations. Graphene is impermeable; it adds strength and increases conductivity, which makes a wonder material. However, the very same discoveries announced week after week are inevitably tied to a university or research institute. This, of course is highly desirable and necessary; however, from the investment side it still leaves more questions than answers. Graphene is not mined; it is created out of a mined product. This means that having access to graphite, no matter how pure and easy to extract still fails to address the graphene investor’s curiosity.
The proverbial $64,000 question for investors will be addressed when somebody finally announces the development and launch of a scalable production of graphene, using an efficient and environmentally safe method. In fact, a number of listed and private firms have joined the race to develop scalable and regular quantities of graphene, including some of the potential end users such as Samsung, but they are still distant from the goal of scalability. Grafoid Inc., a division of Focus Graphite (‘Focus’, OTCQX: FCSMF; TSXV: FMS; FSE: FKC) may well be on the shortest path to launching fully scalable graphene to the market.
Focus Metals Inc. operates a high purity large flake graphite deposit in Lac Knife, Quebec, which it can use to derive the final graphene material. Focus’s CEO, Gary Economo, said that Grafoid has already passed a pilot scalability test and the Company is already able to produce raw graphene by the kilo. Over the next six months, Grafoid will be setting up manufacturing facilities in Canada and the United States at first concentrating on the addressing the needs of the materials industry, mixing graphene with existing polymers to achieve much stronger and resistant plastics, ideally suited for the construction, engineering and aerospace applications. Grafoid is also working on direct graphene applications for batteries and superconductors. Grafoid will also announce, very shortly, the development of thin conductive papers and fine powders for SD printing.
The graphene paper is among the most promising products, offering unparalleled mechanical strength, exceptional electrical conductivity and even bio-degradation properties. Graphene ‘paper sheets’ are ideal to give mass production reality to rollup mobile phone displays, wearable electronics, ultrathin video screens in shapes as varied as the imagination; graphene paper can also be layered to add strength to polymers and metals for structural applications and 3D printing. Airbus (EADS) predicts that within the next few decades a prototype aircraft will literally be ‘printed’ in three dimensions using graphene paper from a hangar sized printer. Finally, investors will be interested to know that Grafoid holds graphene patents and licenses and it too works with a number of academic institutions and large corporations to develop graphene.