Graphene's centre of gravity shifts to China?
Europeans won the Nobel Prize for their work on graphene but they are not necessarily winning on the commercial front. In fact, it is the Chinese who might overtake them. Many indicators support this claim, which we will discuss below.
We are convinced that the importance of this sweeping trend is often ignored in the rest of the world and that is why we have invited Chinese firms such as The Sixth Element and Nanjing CNano Technology to speak at our Graphene & 2D Materials event which takes place in Santa Clara, California between 18 and 19 November 2015.
Chinese entities are taking the patent landscape by a storm and have now put an unbridgeable distance between themselves and the rest of the world. Chinese entities now feature heavily in the list of top ten patent holders, while there is a notable absence of Western entities. It is of course by no means certain that quantity will translate into quality, but what is certain is that Chinese research is leaving behind no white space in the graphene patent landscape.
Chinese entities are also announcing ambitious production plans. Many such as The Sixth Element (see the Graphene & 2D Materials event) and Morsh have capacities greater than 100 tpa. The utilisation rate is still low and the quality may not be the highest, but in most case will be good enough. It is worthwhile noting that Chinese also had success in the CNT business, therefore there is no reason to doubt that they can replicate it here. To learn more about production volumes of Chinese graphene and CNT suppliers please visit http://www.IDTechEx.com/graphene.
The progress is not limited to platelet type graphene. Several Chinese firms have set up production lines for producing and transferring CVD graphene films. Here too they are announcing aggressing scale, performance and price plans, and are innovating in the way they combine the doping and transfer steps- see www.IDTechEx.com/TCF for a detailed understanding for the transparent conducting film market.
This is not to say that Europeans and others are also not doing great work. In Europe, many companies have innovated and/or scaled. We have picked a few and invited them to speak at the Graphene & 2D Materials event. Haydale will speak on how it is helping solve the dispersion problem using its plasma functionalisation technique; Perpetuus will talk on how it is helping make graphene affordable and tunable to application needs; and Graphenea will talk on how it is making steady commercial progress.
North American companies are also making strong progress. In fact, we have invited two of the early commercial pioneers to speak at the Graphene & 2D Materials event - Vorbeck was one of the first to bring real applications to the market based on its graphene conductive inks, while XG Sciences was one of the first to scale and help make graphene affordable. Garmor Inc., NanoXplore and Graphene Frontiers will all also speak. Garmor Inc. is helping commercialize graphene oxides, NanoXplore will report on its progress in developing graphene-polymer masterbatches, and Graphene Frontiers will discuss its work on making high-sensitive graphene sensors.
It is testimony to the global nature of the graphene community that we have speakers from all around the world. In fact, Talga Resources - another firm with ambitious scaling and pricing plans - will come from Australia to speak and exhibit at this event.
Japan has been slow to wake up to the graphene craze. This may seem surprising given Japan's strong tradition in material research and manufacture, but this is because many Japanese companies had their fingers burnt after they wholeheartedly embraced CNTs at the peak of their hype. Despite this, good work has been coming from Japan and that is why we have Incubation Alliance as an exhibitor at our Graphene & 2D Materials event.
I invite you to attend our show if you would like to hear about the latest technology and market trends for graphene and other 2D materials. This year we have a fantastic programme that covers all the key current themes in the industry such as aggressive prices, scaling up, progress in energy storage devices, cracking the dispersion challenges, developing novel and niche application as well as the rise of China.