Graphene industry

144 Flares Filament.io Made with Flare More Info'> 144 Flares ×

Focus Graphite

On this page, you can find my overview of the graphene industry and its’ key players, to be used solely for educational purposes. Many more, smaller companies, participate in the graphene marketplace and can be found by browsing through my business directory (the “companies” link above). To stay educated about the graphene industry, subscribe to the mailing list below to follow graphene business and technology news.

Lomiko Metals

Your email will be kept absolutely confidential.

Graphene is a form of carbon, which is sometimes derived from graphite ore and sometimes synthetically synthesized.

Graphite ore is dug in mines. To obtain graphene from graphite ore, one needs to perform another manufacturing step, for example liquid phase exfoliation or another chemical “exfoliation” procedure. “Exfoliation” is a term that describes the breaking of bulk graphite ore into its constituent graphene layers. With chemical exfoliation, one typically obtains “dirty” graphene, which is not actually pure graphene but rather graphene attached to other chemicals or to other graphene layers.

IDTechEx Graphene Markets report

A popular process to synthetically make graphene is chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of graphene onto another material. CVD does not require graphite ore, as it uses various gases as precursors to graphene. CVD tends to result in nice clean layers of graphene, most commonly marketed to scientific researchers, although the method has been gaining popularity among microchip and display manufacturers.

At this stage, the graphene is in the form of a piece of material waiting to be sculpted for the desired application. The next step is to process the graphene into a component, such as an electronic transistor, or a very strong fiber, before integrating the component into the final product, like a mobile phone or a bulletproof vest. A sketch of the basic route of graphene from the source to the product is shown in the following figure.

industry_diagram3

 

The orange boxes represent a specific state of graphene, while the text outside the orange boxes are names of companies which participate at that stage of the graphene chain. Let’s start at the bottom left, at the graphite ore.

According to the US geological survey of 2012, more than half of the world’s graphite reserves lie in China. Recently, world governments have started to realize the technological importance of graphite, marking it second in importance after precious metals. In response, China has acted to protect its resource by raising export taxes on the material, resulting in rising prices of graphite worldwide. Generally, being a commodity, the price of graphite tends to be volatile. Keeping in mind that graphene consists of only one layer of carbon, one could think that a single graphite mine would be enough to supply the world with graphene, even if the wildest dreams of graphene usage materialize. That has shown to be true – most real graphene products to date use less than a percent of a gram of graphene, and graphene prices have been largely decoupled from graphite prices. The graphite miners listed here have shown a special interest in graphene and high-quality graphite, and for the most part have some connection with graphene companies and graphene research. Remember though: only a tiny fraction of graphite mined in a mine will possibly ever be used to make graphene, and most of the graphite will go to other uses, so many graphite miners are either cautiously exploring graphene or heavily (ab)using the graphene hype to market their businesses, which are only vaguely connected to graphene. Those companies listed here have at least been seen on graphene technical conferences and are active in graphene industry organizations.

Along with the mines, we list Grafoid, a small Canadian company which is 40% owned by Focus Graphite. Grafoid does not actually have a product to sell, but their idea is to act as a kind of liaison between the graphite mines, the scientific research groups, and graphene user companies.

Since early 2013, the Grafoid-Focus Graphite partnership is no longer unique on the graphene scene. Lomiko Metals and Graphene Laboratories (the owner of Graphene Supermarket) have forged a close partnership to exploit the excellent graphite quality of Lomiko for its use in graphene. This partnership brought Lomiko much closer to the graphene industry, and we’ll keep following this interesting joint venture.

Most graphene nowadays is grown with the CVD process. CVD results in large-area graphene, which does not have superb quality, but is decent and will perform well for most purposes. The CVD machine market is dominated by a select number of companies, placing them in a very favourable position in the graphene market. Most notably, CVD Equipment Corporation and Aixtron are the dominant providers of CVD machines for the graphene industry. CVD is used for many industrially relevant processes other than graphene, mostly related to the semiconductor and LED industry, however CVD Equipment has recently partnered with Grafoid, showing its dedication to graphene.

The second orange rectangle from the left on top of the above figure highlights companies which produce the large area graphene itself, by using CVD machines or something else. The main customer of the top three companies (Graphenea, Graphene Square, Graphene Supermarket) are scientific researchers, although industrial sales have been increasing. The last one, Graphensic, has just started as a spin-off of a Swedish university, and is looking for investors. They are also looking to target scientific researchers for the time being. Graphenea, Graphene Square, and Graphene Supermarket are market-leading suppliers of research-grade graphene in Europe, Korea, and the US, respectively. They are all out of the startup phase and may be looking for mid-range investor capital as well as partnerships with other industries.

Graphene-based compounds are mixtures of rather “dirty” graphene with something else, still retaining one particular great quality of graphene for a specific use. This group of companies focuses on cheap production of something that is derived from graphene with a clear purpose in mind. Thus most of these companies own patents on graphene-related products and aim to partner with larger companies closer to the end user, or manufacturers from other industries which could make use of graphene. The leading companies in the group “large-area graphene” have started to expand in this direction as well, and it will be interesting to see which sectors of the industry each will cover.

Between the second-level graphene companies and those that make final products like cellphones and satellite dishes lies a layer “advanced graphene components”, currently consisting of only two companies: AMO and Bluestone. These two seem to be the only companies making and selling components for modern technologies, such as graphene transistors, photodetectors, etc. That’s not to say that these are the only two companies that can make such devices, more likely there is just not market for them right now. AMO has a lot of research experience, which allows them to qualify as the company that will make a custom graphene-based solution for your needs, although, again, Graphenea, Graphene Supermarket (Graphene Laboratories) and others on that level could also make custom graphene devices for you. Similar to the second level companies, if you have venture capital or you own a high-tech company which is working on developing a modern product, you may look into partnering with companies of this group. Note that this layer of the chain is not strictly needed, meaning that middle-of-the-chain companies often bypass it to go directly to the end-user product manufacturer.

Finally, on the right-hand side of the graphene chain are companies which manufacture the end-user product. Many of those companies, like IBM, Samsung, and Sandisk, cover almost the entire graphene production chain, excluding the graphite mines (they tend to use CVD graphene). Obviously, only a small fraction of the business of these companies has to do with graphene, and the rest most likely has to do with silicon.


Grafoid

If you own a business that has to do with graphene or want to get involved in the graphene industry in any way, send me an email, or join the Graphene Stakeholders Association.

144 Flares Twitter 17 Facebook 124 Google+ 3 Reddit 0 LinkedIn 0 Filament.io Made with Flare More Info'> 144 Flares ×
  • http://www.facebook.com/khensel3 Karl Hensel

    Nice site.
    Karl

  • First

    FIRST!

  • PaperRoses2012

    I would liken Grafoid, owned by Focus Graphite, to Silver Wheaton (SLW) better know as a silver streaming entity created to offer financial support and backing to Silver miners. Likewise, Sandstorm (SAND) is doing the same function for Gold Miners.
    I would hope that any initial success with Grafoid will led the way to more support for advancements in Graphene/Graphite technology. I only became of Graphene in October 2012 when I “stumbled” upon CVD Equipment Corporation (CVV) and I’ve been hooked ever since. CVD was profiled in my local hometown newsletter as a holder of 700+ patent rights involving a new material and applications for its use……..Since that chance reading and this newsletter I find still find myself an amazed novice in this field of innovation and technology.
    And yet, I am also surprised by several people I’ve encountered recently who are employed in various the financial brokerage firms that have no idea what I’m talking about when I bring up the subject of graphene or even “nanotechnology”.
    That’ll change, I’m sure!

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      Thanks for the insight, PaperRoses2012, and thanks for advertising my investment newsletter. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the Graphene Stakeholders Association (http://www.graphenestakeholders.org), a non-profit aimed at bringing graphene to the market ASAP. They’re generating quite a bit of momentum and bringing many key players together.

      The Grafoid/Focus Graphite partnership has spurred some other similar agreements, most notably that between Lomiko Metals (LMR) and Graphene Laboratories (owner of Graphene Supermarket). LMR has some excellent quality graphite from their property in Quebec, whereas Graphene Labs has some very talented graphene scientists and business leaders.

      • PaperRoses2012

        Thanks for the “stakeholders” link in your response. I’ll hook up, if not already linked in. I too have hopes for Lomiko (PInk sheets), having it show up on my radar several months ago. I have confidence that it will find the financing it needs to succeed due to its recent hookup with the State University at Stony Brook (SUNY) through its Research Foundation agreeing to investigate “novel, energy-focused applications for graphene”. SUNY is a leader in research and technology!

        • MarkoSpasenovic

          The funding agreement is definitely a good sign, but more important than that is the vision and the drive that these two companies have these days. If you’d like to know more about the whole graphite+graphene partnership business, I highly recommend this presentation given by Paul Gill at the Richmond Club:

          http://www.richmondclub.com/Luncheon%20Videos/LomikoMar272013/index.html

  • Harry

    Any chance of an update from the investment side after the conference?

    • Marko Spasenovic

      To be honest, I seem to just be removing companies from this page, rather than adding new ones. It is now blatantly clear that one should probably avoid companies that went public very quickly, without showing any graphene products or experience, just mentioning “graphene” on their website. That makes for a very narrow and indirect choice on the stock market, if that’s what you’re asking. Although I reinstate that my advice is only an informed opinion and that I should not be held reliable for it, I would still go for the tech biggies: IBM, BASF, and Samsung are all meddling in graphene, they are here to stay, and they know what they’re doing. Perhaps add HEAD to that list.

      Aside from the stock market, if you want to invest a bit more money, you really need in-depth analysis of a professional, because selecting a good company is not easy. In that case, I suggest following my website, attending graphene business conferences, and, if you’re really serious about it, joining the Graphene Stakeholders Association, which will definitely bring you closer to a solution.

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      To be honest, I seem to just be removing companies from this page, rather than adding new ones. It is now blatantly clear that one should probably avoid companies that went public very quickly, without showing any graphene products or experience, just mentioning “graphene” on their website. That makes for a very narrow and indirect choice on the stock market, if that’s what you’re asking. Although I reinstate that my advice is only an informed opinion and that I should not be held reliable for it, I would still go for the tech biggies: IBM, BASF, and Samsung are all meddling in graphene, they are here to stay, and they know what they’re doing. Perhaps add HEAD to that list.

      Aside from the stock market, if you want to invest a bit more money, you really need in-depth analysis of a professional, because selecting a good company is not easy. In that case, I suggest following my website, attending graphene business conferences, and, if you’re really serious about it, joining the Graphene Stakeholders Association, which will definitely bring you closer to a solution.

      • Harry

        Thanks for the response and don’t worry, I won’t hold your liable for any bad decisions I make. I agree that all of the companies on my watch list have slowly begun to drop off which is saddening. I still have some hope for CVD equipment however. Unfortunately I am not in a position to be investing any amount that a private company would be interested in. I will just continue to monitor all of my resources…graphene tracker being my favorite. Thanks again.

        • Harry

          What are your thoughts on Nokia from a graphene perspective? I know they were just at the summit, anything interesting/promising?

          (couldn’t edit)

          • MarkoSpasenovic

            Sorry for Nokia if they’re reading this, but they’ve been saying the same things and showing the same presentation for a very long time now. From my perspective, they lack vision, and frankly their phones have been a disaster in the past few years. On the other hand, they are among the leaders of the Graphene Flagship, which should provide some advantage, but it’s not clear what that advantage would be. Also, it doesn’t help that Samsung is just super-active and super-inventive in the phone business lately. I think that Nokia will have to downsize at some point and start to focus on a very small product niche, at which point an investment in them may start to make sense.

            With regards to CVD Equipment – they were not at the summit. Neither was Aixtron. The stock has had its ups and downs for both companies, so it’s rather unpredictable. People should be aware that graphene is a long-term play, and that no particular stock will suddenly explode (at least not permanently) due to graphene. So you’re looking at an investment that may start to pay off in 5 years, if you pick your company right, and you may even see very large profits in 10 years, again if everything turns out just right. Who that company might be though, I couldn’t tell you.

          • Jason Laurain

            Check out Centaurus Diamond Technologies, INC. (CTDT). They make synthetic diamonds using a magnetic pinch and its much more efficient than CVD. As a bonus, graphene is a by product of their process. HUGE things coming from this company. Currently undervalued. Alvin Snaper, the CEO, owns the patents to the technology as well.

          • MarkoSpasenovic

            I couldn’t find any reference to graphene in the patent. Where did you hear that graphene is a byproduct of the process?

            Here is a recent article about the company:

            http://finance.yahoo.com/news/centaurus-diamond-technologies-unique-cultured-130000097.html

          • Jason Laurain

            Graphene is a byproduct of the magnetic pinch process that Mr. Snaper has developed. The company had a blog operating as a link on their website that said they have discovered graphene in their machines and the process made enough that it was visible to the naked eye. I also did some due diligence and called Mr. Snaper himself, he confirmed that they can make graphene and plan on pursuing graphene in the future. Feel free to call, he’s usually in the lab at 9am Pacific Time. 702-382-3385

  • reidlesneski

    Hi, thanks for this resource you have provided for someone like me….. heard about graphene…..did some looking into it, became enthralled and am looking to invest a bit. just signed up for your newsletter. Was this article written before your article on graphene nanochem? (I think that was in March) I am just wondering why that is not on your list here to invest in. is it one that you have taken off your list?

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      Thanks for visiting. I constantly update this page as I come across information. I have indeed removed Graphene Nanochem, because I have yet to see a product or viable business plan from them. I just don’t feel comfortable suggesting anyone to invest in something so vague.

      • LadyE

        Hi. Thanks for your fantastic info on graphene. All I know about graphene is from the info you gave, and I am interested in the ecological impact of an impending surge in graphene usage. Is there any pollution from its production at all or is it an eco-friendly product? Which process of extraction is the most eco-friendly? Thanks

        • MarkoSpasenovic

          Hi LadyE,
          As with many nanomaterials, the potential hazards of using graphene are unknown. This is in part due to the fact that the material is new and there has been no time to investigate its impact on health, and in part due to the fact that it is a material of a completely different size scale than macroscopic materials that we are used to. This is certainly an issue to be addressed by researchers in the next few years, before graphene really makes it big in every household.
          As far as extraction processes are concerned, CVD production is the most toxic, and I think liquid phase exfoliation is the least toxic, with all other methods in between those two. However, the production of silicon chips (which are everywhere around us) is also toxic, so it’s just a matter of containing the waste and properly disposing of it, or reusing it.

          • Steven Vendetti

            Can anyone tell who is this “Graphene Tiger”

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      I have updated the information on Graphene Nanochem in the business directory (http://www.graphenetracker.com/companies/?listing=graphene-nanochem-platinum-nanochem). Thanks for the question.

  • Ryan

    Have you heard of a company named Graphene Technologies? Future in Review named Graphene Technologies Company of the Year for 2013. They use a unique, patented synthesis process to manufacture a broad range of the highest quality, fewest layer bulk graphene nano materials available. The process is a known industrial process that is very renewable. Takes CO2 as an imput, and recycles all byproduct into feedstock. I have been doing research on graphene for some time now and am in love with the product. I was just curious if you have heard of this company or the process used. any thoughts?

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      Graphene Technologies is actually one of my favourite companies out there. I should add them to the chart and text above, thanks for reminding me. I did an interview with their CEO some time ago, take a look above in the “Interviews” section of the website. Those wishing to invest a bit of venture capital into graphene should seriously consider Graphene Technologies. The process is indeed unique, cheap and scalable, so expect GT to partner with some end-product manufacturers and really take off.

  • MarkoSpasenovic

    Note: CVD Equipment stock falls nearly 20% after a bad review from SeekingAlpha:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/1663812-cvd-equipments-business-is-failing-dont-fall-for-the-graphene-hype

    • Christian

      What is your review of the article? Legit?

  • Tony

    Hello I have read your article, and find myself engrossed in the possibilities.

    I tried to research 3 of the companies mentioned, with the possibility of buying some shares. The ones in question were Lomiko Metals (LMR), CVD Equipment Corporation and the one that I was veering towards, Graphene Technologies.
    I got no results on all three with reference to share prices, could you point me in the correct direction.
    Thanks

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      Hi Tony,

      Just go to nasdaq.com and search for CVV and LMRMF. Graphene Technologies is a private company.

    • jason

      Lomiko, LRM 0.065 $/share. This is the company I’ve chosen as a small investor. The simple fact that they own graphite mines, and contribute to distribution and research could cause long term upside. I personally dumped 1300$ Canadian and dont expect to revisit my earning until 2016. Let me know your thoughts, thanks.

  • edwin
    • MarkoSpasenovic

      I think that’s pretty fantastic scientific research.

  • MarkoSpasenovic
  • Rami

    So which company is best to invest ? (let’s say 1000$) (your opinion)

  • jason

    Lomiko, LRM 0.065 $/share. This is the company I’ve chosen as a small investor. The simple fact that they own graphite mines, and contribute to distribution and research could cause long term upside. I personally dumped 1300$ Canadian and dont expect to revisit my earning until 2016. Let me know your thoughts, thanks.

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      Jason, thanks for sharing this. I think it’s a good investment, however in a volatile and competitive market like graphite mining, one can never know. The graphene R&D will take some time to pay off, so 2016 might even be too early. We’ll see. Please do let us know the outcome in three years!

  • AEG

    This is actually one of the best infographics I’ve seen on graphene and the companies involved in it. You’ve also made some well-written points that few people bring up “how much graphene are they really using and does it even help their product”. This would always frustrate me when I read these kinds of articles!
    Subscribed.

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      Thanks AEG! I’ve recently rewritten the text on this page, so it means a lot to get some positive feedback.
      Indeed, there is less than 1% in all graphene-enabled products on the market. Most of the patents, like that for the HEAD tennis racquet, specify even less than 0.5% graphene content. That makes one really wonder how much graphene we actually need. Experts say that an industry bust is almost certain after several production methods mature and stocks of the material start to get piled up without a real mass application. After the bust comes “filtration” from poorly managed companies, after which comes steady development and real progression into society.

  • Ali

    Hi Marko,

    Greets from Maldives. I am wondering if there are any listed companies in China or Asia that is a graphene play?

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      Not that I know of. I’m sure it’s a big market, but Asia seems like a different world sometimes – I don’t see them at conferences, the websites are not all that great, and there is no way otherwise to get informed about Asian companies.

  • Karl

    Mr. Spasenovic,
    Have you or are you going to do an article on patent trolls? GTI is currently suing a korean co. who is selling thermal dispersion graphene sheets for cell phones. Why have they not brought it to market? I have the letter from their legal reps. I planned on importing and selling said product but received a firm warning.
    Most patents are written in such broad terms with so many variables with little or no intent on paying for development and research. They just sit back and let others do the hard work then sue them for patent infringement. Are these really the types of companies you endorse?

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      Hi Karl,

      Where do you get the impression that I endorse GTI? They’re not on my company list, precisely because they have not shown any graphene activity. There is an interesting article on why GTI is not a graphene investment option:
      http://www.nanalyze.com/2013/08/3-reasons-graftech-is-not-a-graphene-stock/

      I’m not aware of the patent issue that you raise and would be glad to know more about it. If you wish, you can send me an email at info@graphenetracker.com with more information.

  • Karl

    My apologies Marko. You indeed do not mention GTI. I look forward to your next article.
    Karl

  • Reid and Dawn Lesneski

    any new thoughts on graphene nanochem? saw a brief mention they are “making progress” on graphene aspect of their business (with a bump in stock price), but not sure what to make of it

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      I’m not sure either. It looks like real progress, but most likely it is in the earliest stages.

  • Thierry28722

    any company related to High capacitor battery with graphène?

  • Steven

    I manage/co-own a large historic Gold mine in California. The waste rock piles contain over 7% carbon graphite in vein material. That is the high-grade ore which then gets concentrated into 95-99% Cg. This was considered waste at the time as there were no LI-Batteries/Electric Vehicles, Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors, Cell Phones, Computers …. back in 1890-1916. Graphite uses are increasing and one country holds close to half of World supply. One of our investors is a manager at Intel Corp. They are working with Stanford to integrate Graphene into their products. The “vein” material is not so common as it takes extreme heat to cook out the impurities…that’s why man-made Graphene is so expensive. So it looks like “natural vein graphite” is the least expensive ore to use in production of Graphene at this time.
    Great info, Thank you Marko this next ten years is going to be very exciting.

    • MarkoSpasenovic

      You’re welcome Steve, and thank you for the additional info. Is the 7% of carbon in your rock still a waste product for you, or do you extract it?

  • DiogenesRedux

    Marko, tried to sign up for newsletter, keep getting “SMTP error-could not connect” as you will note from in-page messge.Here is page link: http://www.graphenetracker.com/invest/