Australia's first commercial graphene plant has opened in Geelong, 75km southwest of Melbourne, by Imagine Intelligent Materials Pty Ltd (Imagine IM). The pilot plant will produce up to 10 tonnes of graphene per year.
Graphene, a two-dimensional atomic scale carbon material, has unmatched physical properties and is expected to revolutionise industry and consumer products over the next 20 years.
With applications in the electronics, fashion, wearable sportswear, mining, automotive, energy and water conservation industries, graphene is widely considered a new platform material for advanced manufacturing.
Imagine IM has developed a graphene coating technology that allows for the production of a revolutionary conductive geotextile, due to be manufactured and launched into the Australian marketplace by Victorian based company Geofabrics Australasia later this year.
The geosynthetic industry is expected to generate US$16 billion per year in global sales by the end of 2018, growing by 10% each year according to international analytics company Markets and Markets. Increased environmental regulations, including in the management of water related issues in civil engineering and mining are contributing to the growth.
Graphene's discoverers were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2013. It is the most hydrophobic material known, totally impermeable to gas, stronger than steel, and harder than diamond.
Despite its difficulty to manufacture, commercial interest in its production and use is growing rapidly. The global market for graphene products is estimated to reach A$1.3 billion by 2023.
Melbourne is Australia's leader in advanced manufacturing and one of the few places in the world that covers the entire manufacturing spectrum, from research and engineering to design and production.Melbourne and regional Victoria are home to a network of specialised advanced manufacturing research precincts servicing a range of industries including: automotive, aerospace, defence, scientific instruments, medical devices and equipment, chemicals and plastics, pharmaceuticals, fabricated metals, TFC (textiles, clothing and footwear) and food processing.