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Sydney based company, Imagine Intelligent Materials Pty Limited (Imagine IM), has entered into a contract with Geelong based engineering company, Austeng, to build Australia’s first commercial graphene manufacturing plant.
The pilot plant will have an output capacity of up to 10 tonnes per year of graphene. Imagine IM plans to use two tonnes of the graphene output in the first year of operation for products aimed at customers in Australian manufacturing. Imagine IM believes that once this commercial graphene capacity is in place further opportunities for graphene supply will be identified with other Australian manufacturing companies.
The global market for graphene has, until recently, been largely driven by academic research with the challenge being to manufacture at industrial scale. Interest in commercial applications for graphene is now growing rapidly. BCC Research estimates the global market for graphene products will reach $1.3 billion by 2023, and Reports and Reports forecasts that in 2018 $100 million of graphene will be sold for use in RFIDs, smart packaging, super capacitors, composites, ITO replacement, sensors, and memory.
Graphene is now being viewed as a strategic resource in most of the industrial economies of the world. We believe that Imagine IM is positioned at the forefront of developing commercially viable graphene solutions. Our focus is on developing solutions for large scale manufacturers that will integrate into their supply chains with relative ease and without requiring our customers to need to invest in new capex. This first plant is going to be a major step in us building supply for our own customers and achieving global competitiveness.
Chris Gilbey, CEO of Imagine IM
We have contracted with Austeng in Geelong to build this pilot plant because of their experience in migrating research processes out of the lab and into production. We believe that they have the engineering skills and support services to work with us to build Australia’s first commercial graphene production facility. The pilot plant will be used to bed-‐down our proprietary production processes and to supply Imagine IM’s domestic customers in 2016 and 2017. It will lay the foundation for our expansion, both domestically and internationally, where we anticipate a need for well over 100 tonnes of graphene per year within the next four years.
Phil Aitchison, COO and head of R&D at Imagine IM
We are delighted to take on the job of developing Australia’s first commercial graphene manufacturing plant. We have developed plants for a number of Australia’s leading research universities. Austeng has a depth of experience of how to deliver highly innovative equipment utilising new technology. We hope this will be the beginning of Austeng working closely with Imagine IM to develop industrial equipment that will be able to be exported to the world.
Ross George, MD of Austeng
About Imagine Intelligent Materials
Imagine IM is the leading Australian developer of graphene-‐based coatings for industrial textiles and fibres. It was founded in 2014 by a group of scientists led by Chris Gilbey and Phil Aitchison, with a vision to create disruptive products and solutions that use graphene. Imagine IM has developed a licensing and certification model to ensure that participants in the supply chain are required to meet a set of standards of materials quality. Imagine IM is the first company in the world to develop conductive geomaterials using functionalised graphene.