Graphene Still Difficult to Use and Path to Major Commercialization is Uncertain

Graphene has a lot of potential because it can be the strongest material and has many other exceptional characteristics.

There has been a lot of research around the material since 2004, when Professor Sir Andre Geim and Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov of the University of Manchester discovered and isolated a single atomic layer of carbon for the first time. The pair received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 in recognition of their breakthrough.

There need to be breakthroughs in production, handling and utilization of graphene before the commercial promise is realized.

The picture above shows the clean room handling that is usually needed for working with graphene.

The Graphene Flagship launched in 2013 and their 2018 report hopes that there are graphene markets of a combined 150 to 550 million euros per year by 2025.

The EU Graphene Flagship project has published a roadmap of applications they hope to develop by 2030.

The EU has a one billion euro Graphene Flagship project. They are working towards the overall goal of taking graphene and related materials (GRM) from the research in laboratories stage to industrial exploitation.

They are working on on integrating graphene with current technologies or devices with CMOS
integrated photodetector for application for consumer electronics, spintronic device for data processing and storage or enhanced stability of perovskite photovoltaic cells.

There is promising results with the development of new devices, material and composites such as:
* graphene-based magnetic, gas and bio-sensors for automobiles to medical applications
* a tuneable sieve using a graphene oxide membrane for water desalination
* a graphene-polymer sensor material that could be used for blood pressure monitoring
* a graphene-based composite to be used as permeation barrier in an Airbus winglet
* a graphene-based electrode material for energy devices such as batteries and supercapacitors.

SOURCES- EU Graphene Flagship

6 thoughts on “Graphene Still Difficult to Use and Path to Major Commercialization is Uncertain”

  1. I remember a materials engineering book at university that said something like:

    The price of steel falling by a factor of 10, and then doing so again, during the 19th century is the most important event of its type. And arguably one of the most important events ever.

  2. Despite my usual cynicism graphene was one tech I thought we’d see more of by now. Alas it’s gone the same way as solar and battery “breakthroughs”.

  3. Whenever materials and commodity price issues like this come up, I always think back to the story of aluminum, which was a precious metal (the Washington Monument was capped with it) until an extraction process caused the spot price to fall from $115 to $17 in the course of four years. If anything puts a stake in Malthusianism, that does.

    Somebody will figure out a process eventually, and graphene will become ubiquitous.

  4. A pity. But things are never as easy and swift as we expect them to be, until someone finds some actual breakthroughs that put things in an accelerando (or rather a S-curve).

    Electronic miniaturization was there for a while, now getting out of it. The same for genetics, which is experiencing such an explosion in capabilities and lower cost.

    Graphene still has to find its killer app, one that it does better than anything else at a lower cost. Or something really new that isn’t possible with any other material, justifying even a higher price.

    For a while I expected they would continue finding ways to build ultralight but solid structural graphene materials, not just foams, but actual structurally controlled metamaterials out of graphene, with unusual properties, like extreme lightness yet solidity.

    Or even better, completely emptied porous structured graphene, lighter than air but with high tensile and pressure strength which could make something like a solid vacuum airship real.

    An inert, long term stable vacuum-containing solid material would have a ton of applications that nothing else could replicate.

    Solid, helium-less airships are obvious. Very low power, solar powered floating drones, for myriads of things like permanent atmospheric satellites are another example.

    Gee, even flying cars.

    With that, JPAerospace’s idea of stratospheric platforms and space-going balloons could become feasible.

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