Materials Science

First Graphene facility commences production in Australia

Advanced materials company, First Graphene Limited has commenced production in Henderson, Western Australia. The 960m2 premises provide the company with a dedicated facility in which to expand its graphene production and packaging, which will provide industry the ability to source graphene in bulk.

Graphene has the potential to dramatically improve a wide range of materials used in manufacturing, to the betterment of industry and consumers. The Graphene Council has previously identified the three largest impediments to graphene as a lack of production capacity, a need for consistent quality and pricing which makes graphene attractive for industry to adopt the advanced material. In commissioning this facility First Graphene can now address all these issues.

The process employed by the company to produce graphene is particularly noteworthy due to its very low capital cost. The modular nature of the technology provides the ability to incrementally expand capacity within a very short time frame, to meet the expected high growth in demand in the future. The ability to use ultra high-grade graphite direct from the mine, without having to undergo a concentration step, ensures a simple production method and underwrites what the Company believes to be the lowest cost production methodology available.

Furthermore, this facility has been constructed for well less than the $1m budget previously expected. As the Chairman, Warwick Grigor, stated in his address at the Company’s Annual General Meeting, “Through careful management and sourcing of equipment for this production facility, management has been able to achieve excellent costs reductions.”

The Company has also installed a laboratory to perform constant quality assurance and control procedures. Having purchased its own Raman spectrograph FGR is probably the only commercial entity in Australia able to complete these procedures on its own premises.

While the graphene market has been forecast to grow at 60% p.a. by industry observers, it is still an embryonic market which needs development. To this end First Graphene is working closely with a number potential customers in Australia, Europe and North America, supplying trial parcels of graphene for testing and developing of application methods across a broad range of products including, but not limited to operators in the battery, concrete, fire retardant, paints and coatings and polymer businesses. Further, First Graphene continues to work closely with Traxys, a leading international marketing company specialising in mining products, advanced metals and battery input materials, with a view to developing market mechanism and securing long-term off-take agreements into leading global companies industry.

First Graphene has spent almost three years developing its technology and supply lines, culminating in the commissioning of the Henderson commercial production facility which places it, and Australia, at the cutting edge of the graphene revolution. It is now perfectly poised build a sales book without having to worry about capital expenditure hurdles or competition from lower  cost producers. From this point on it is all about achieving market penetration.

Commenting on this development, First Graphene’s Managing Director Craig McGuckin said, “The commissioning of the Commercial Graphene Facility is a significant milestone for FGR as it progresses toward being a world leader in the production of high-quality graphene. When combined with the research and development the Company is undertaking with three leading Australian universities it provides many exciting prospects.”