Sci-fi product in the mix

International Graphite will become a commercial graphene producer with plans to manufacture up to 100tpa of the revolutionary material which is set to impact everything from power storage to electronics and medical devices.

IG has sourced the latest graphene processing technology and expertise from its international partners and will incorporate a graphene production line at its proposed new KIZAD plant.

IG Chairman Phil Hearse made the announcement while showcasing plans for IG’s integrated graphite production facility at leading investment trade shows in the UK.

“Interest has been terrific,” said Phil. “We have extended the scope of our feasibility study to include graphene in the product mix.

“The product is a game-changer for the environment, electronics, health, construction and energy sectors and the international market is very excited.

“In 2013, the European Union invested €1 billion over 10 years for research into new applications for graphene. Major manufacturers are also looking at how they can use it to produce new and better products and to solve critical problems like pollution and water shortage.”

IG’s plant will be one of the first new era fully integrated secondary processing plants in the world and will produce six different graphite products, including graphene.

Other significant value-adding opportunities now incorporated into the project include the production of coated spheroidised graphite for the battery anode market, and the production of fine graphite foil for the electronics industry.

A full feasibility study and environmental assessment are due to be completed later this year while technical experts are currently developing marketing specifications for each product.

“We are particularly attractive to potential investors because we have the culture and standards of a sophisticated westernised business but will also be a competitive low cost producer,” said Phil.

“That is largely because of the attractive low operating costs in the UAE and the benefits that gives us in terms of cheaper labour and power, no taxes or duties and a secure and stable operating environment.

“As an independent operation, we have a big advantage because we can pick and choose the best concentrate to produce the best quality products. Not all graphite concentrates are the same and it is imperative to get the right one for each application.”

What is graphene?

Graphene is an atom thin sheet of carbon. Mathematically, it is the first 2D material ever discovered and one of the strongest, lightest and most conductive substances on earth. It can carry more electricity, faster and with more precision than any other material making it sought after in the semiconductor, electronics, battery energy and composites industries.

Being flexible, elastic and only a single atom thick, graphene creates potential for touch screens in fabric and bendable electronics. It is almost impermeable facilitating one-pass desalination of sea water for drinking, glowing wallpaper eliminating the need for light bulbs, one-coat rust-proof paint, safe hair dye, bionic human parts, and fast-charging batteries with 10 times current storage capacity.