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19 Oct 2012 09:10:18

Bringing the emerging graphene value chain together



Bringing the emerging graphene value chain together
By Khasha Ghaffarzadeh

Graphene is fast graduating from laboratories across the world and is being integrated into products. Graphene offers outstanding attributes, making it suitable for a broad range of applications in a diverse set of verticals.

In spite of this high promise, graphene technology faces a range of challenges and uncertainties. The uncertainties are incorporated into every stage of the value chain, ranging from material suppliers all the way to end users.

Academics are facing many questions, both in terms of the science and technology of graphene. The material supplies are still uncertain about which specific material set will command the highest demand and whether they should vertically integrate. Manufacturers are commercialising a range of different production techniques and it is not clear which graphene type or production technique offers the best value proposition for which applications.

The end users are still evaluating the specific value propositions that graphene could bring to the table per application sector, both in terms of cost and performance. Investors face high risks in betting on the best technique and best target application for graphene.

Graphene Live! USA 2012 brings together players from across the value chain in Santa Clara, California on 5 and 6 Dec 2012. This will provide an excellent forum for all interested parties to learn the latest developments, identify the common risks embedded within the value chain and form different business partnerships to advance the technology.

The graphene value chain spans many different verticals

Graphene has excellent thermal, mechanical, optical and electronic properties. It is the thinnest material ever with the largest surface-to-volume ratio, it is the stiffest and strongest material known, it offers record thermal conductivity, it has the longest mean-free-path at room temperature, it is completely impermeable, etc. These attributes make graphene suitable for many different verticals.

Graphene can find use in energy storage applications, targeting markets such as smart and portable devices, electric vehicles, etc. Graphene is tipped to enhance the mechanical performance of composites, targeting applications in the construction, automotive, military and aerospace verticals. Graphene can be turned into a conductive ink, enabling to find application in RFID and smart packaging sectors.

It promises to extend the operating frequency of transistors beyond the THz range, finding applications in satellite and telecommunication verticals. It promises high conductivity and transparency at the same time, enabling it to target the display, photovoltaic, and solid-state lighting verticals.


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