China Carbon Graphite Group, Inc., has announced that it has been researching graphene technology in partnership with the leading Chinese graphene research institute. The “leading institute” remains unnamed.
Speaking at the HiAlpha® Mining Investment Conference in New York last week, CEO Donghai Yu stated that the company’s future lies in high-tech graphite products and cited the need to expand its technological research on graphene. “As one of our future growth strategies, a breakthrough in this area would be decisive in distinguishing our company as the leader of this industry in China. We are confident that we will make further progress in 2013, and solidify our position as one of China’s premier graphite companies.”
China Carbon is already the largest wholesale supplier of fine-grain and high-purity graphite in China and one of the nation’s top manufacturers of carbon and graphite products. This is a significant claim, keeping in mind that China provides more than 70% of the world’s graphite.
The announcement is in line with China’s trend towards moving up the value chain in the graphite sector. The country has been closing down mines that produce low-grade graphite, with a shift in focus towards graphite of a higher grade. Apart from its use to make graphene, high-purity graphite is used in improved batteries, supercapacitors, and other modern electronic devices. China has also imposed export taxes on graphite, in an effort to promote the growth of the related hi-tech industries. With more than 70% of the world’s graphite being manufactured in China, these moves have caused fluctuations in the prices of graphite in the past few years. However, we are unlikely to see the effect of these events on the price of graphene in the next few years, at least until other challenges related to graphene production have been solved.