Pharma & Biotech
Pharma & Biotech
07:00 Thu 22 Sep 2022
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Graphene Manufacturing Group targeting critical energy saving and strorage solutions with its in-house proprietary graphene process
The company is focused on graphene’s extreme thermal conductivity, enhanced lubrication, and ion storage.
Graphene Manufacturing Group Ltd (TSX-V:GMG, OTC:GMGMF) is a clean-technology focused company that aims to offer energy-saving products and solutions and energy storage products, enabled by graphene manufactured in-house via a proprietary production process. This attested proprietary process enables GMG to produce ‘super-material’ graphene simply from low-cost natural gas (methane).
GMG is focused on graphene’s extreme thermal conductivity, enhanced lubrication, and ion storage. GMG’s THERMAL-XR powered by GMG graphene is a HVAC-R energy saving coating system. It improves corrosion protection and heat transfer enabling reduced energy usage for heat exchangers in air conditioning and other industrial applications. It is already deployed in a market with an estimated value of US$26 billion, while the firm’s G LUBRICANT engine oil additive (in an estimated market value of US$14 billion market) is in development.
On August 15, 2022, the company announced a deal with OzKem Pty Ltd, the company which developed the THERMAL-XR coating products, which will see GMG own the manufacturing intellectual property (IP) and the brand. GMG will buy the base coatings product from OzKem Pty Ltd and will manufacture the THERMAL-XR coating containing GMG graphene.
In 2021, following earlier collaboration, GMG deepened its formal agreement with the University of Queensland (UQ) to develop GMG graphene aluminum-ion battery technology which so far has been shown to compare favourably against lithium-ion batteries. GMG claims these batteries are up to 70 times’ faster charging, have up to three times more life, and are greener and safer. GMG’s graphene aluminum-ion batteries do not requirement lithium, copper, cobalt, manganese or other rare earth materials.
Significantly, GMG also has non-binding agreements with engineering companies Bosch, Wood, and mining giant Rio Tinto, to advance the product implementation and production capabilities of GMG. The Rio Tinto deal was announced in May this year and sees the parties explore the use of energy-saving products in Rio’s operations, support GMG’s development of graphene aluminium-ion batteries (G+AlB) and collaborate on incorporation of GMG products into mining and other industrial applications.
Proactive recently sat down with GMG CEO Craig Nicol to find out more on this ground-breaking company, its innovative technology, and its growth plans.
Proactive: Tell us more about your process to produce graphene from methane. What are the advantages of the process? Are you the only company that is doing this?
Craig Nicol: The process has taken years to internally develop. We think we are the only public company producing graphene in this manner. In terms of the economics, in one gigajoule, or one MMBtu (they are about the same) you get about 20kg of gas and 15kg (three-quarters) of that is beautiful carbon atoms – not attached to anything but hydrogen. Our process isolates the electrons around the carbon atoms so that the carbon comes free and then hydrogen comes off from that. Around the world you can get different prices for gas and at scale the cost of gas gets lower. We don’t of course capture all of the carbon atoms but you get the idea of how low the cost can be even with the cost of gas pressures recently. And then the tail gas (with the hydrogen and remaining methane) is available to power our production systems.
The majority of other graphene manufacturers utilize mined graphite to derive their graphene. The graphite ore can contain impurities other than carbon. Whereas, we basically just have carbon and hydrogen atoms, with nothing else. Hence our graphene is quite a pure product and we use that to its fullest advantage in the various products we make with our graphene.
Can you tell me a bit more about the deal you recently announced with OzKem Pty Ltd for the THERMAL- XR (TXR) products? What does that mean for your sales and growth plans?
Up until now we’ve been the supplier of graphene and then the global distributor of TXR for over a year now and this deal now enables us to go into the middle part of the value chain. It will allow GMG to optimize cost, performance, volume, and expand beyond the THERMAL-XR original product application space, which is HVAC -R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning- Refrigeration). We are now coating heavy industry types of energy process plants, that perform a lot of heat exchange work.
We’re obviously also working with Rio Tinto to explore various of applications. Coatings are one of the best ways to leverage the thermal dynamic performance of GMG Graphene.
You have a few products in your portfolio. What stage are you at in terms of sales?
Our focus is on THERMAL-XR because its developed and deployed. We are getting the smaller end of sales and now working on the larger type deals. We are in discussion to establish distributors around the world. These are not binding deals yet but we’re getting there. We’re also heavily invested in getting some large industrial projects up and running – to show how our products can save a large amount of energy and emissions for big industrial customers.
Industrial customers have engineers primarily focused on savings and they are eager to leverage THERMAL-XR’s performance for their operations. For example, a 1% improvement for an LNG plant or a big process plant is massive and this is fully understood by this industry. Industrial applications are potentially going to be a big part of our play going forward and we’re progressing these opportunities.
As you mentioned, you have some big agreements with some major companies like Wood and Rio Tinto. Can you briefly outline how such deals help the company to grow?
The non-binding LOI with Rio Tinto shows we are working on how we could reduce their emissions with our products and also working with them on our battery. So it’s a huge opportunity for GMG with a lot of work for both companies to get through. We need to show how our technology can add value to their business. They are very much committed to their announced emissions reduction targets and they are doing many things in that space and we hope to help them with that.
The non-binding LOI with Wood has been put together so Wood will support GMG in scaling up and automating its proprietary natural gas to graphene manufacturing process. This will mean more graphene to support our future ability to service the target markets and customers we are developing.
And on your graphene aluminum-ion batteries, you’ve got the pilot plant up and running. What comes next with that development project?
That’s a great question. We’re working on our next battery performance update. When we do present this to the market it will clearly show where we are at. A lot of good work has been done. Additionally, we really want to progress to automatic coin cell production, hopefully, sometime next year. A lot of things have to come together for that but that’s what we are focused on.
And then I think the following year – in 2024 – we will really look to see if we can go into some kind of automatic production of pouch cells. This is possible – it’s just how fast can we grow to get there. Both battery formats (coin cells and pouch cells) are looking quite good as a product for us. We keep validating that so that’s why we keep focusing on both formats. We think both of them are potential “category changers” on multiple fronts.
There is clearly a huge global shift towards clean energy storage. Is it possible to say how big this market is going to become, do you think?
We’ve seen estimates out there of over US$100 billion. It probably went down a bit because of COVID-19 – due to supply issues. Expectations of that market are probably conservative to say that it might be 2 Terawatt (one terawatt equals a trillion watts) by the end of 2030, which means it might be around $300 billion. As a comparison I think, from my time working at Shell, the global diesel market was worth a trillion dollars ($USD). With the decarbonisation requirements and the move away from fossil fuels it’s a matter of timing when the energy storage market size will reach this comparison.
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The above has been published by Proactive Investors Limited (the “Company”) on its website and is made available subject to the terms and conditions of use of its website (see T&C ). …
Graphene Manufacturing Group Ltd (TSX-V:GMG, OTC:GMGMF)'s Craig Nicol gives investors a closer look at the company's plans to collaborate with mining giant Rio Tinto on energy-saving and storage solutions. Under the non-binding agreement, both parties will explore working together to support…
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Pharma & Biotech