Graphene Tracker talks to Jon Myers, CEO of Graphene Technologies, winner of this year’s “Company of the Year” award at the prestigious Future in Review (FiRe) conference. Graphene Technologies is one of our favourite companies out there, which we think are going to make it in the long run in the graphene business.
JM: Thank you Marko. The award is a recognition of our breakthrough synthesis technology that uses ubiquitous, low-cost and global warming nuisance carbon dioxide as a feedstock to make a remarkable class of material, graphene, in an astoundingly broad range of morphologies. Our synthesis process is extraordinarily efficient, scalable and can be easily controlled to make a broad range of graphene from extremely small virtual ‘quantum dots’ to large aspect ratio flakes that are similar to but many fewer layer than exfoliated material to really compelling and novel composites of graphene. Each of these forms of graphene will have unique value in the market. Carbon dioxide is everywhere and cheaper than dirt. Every other input is recyclable. Our materials are chemically pristine and contain no amorphous carbon. Our goal is to help create a carbon economy and that goal is big enough for a lot of people and companies in the tent. We are highly collaborative and are happy to work with anyone from our ‘so-called’ competitors to the largest companies in the world.
JM: That is right Marko…we had never even heard of graphene. We are inventors who like to solve difficult problems. This is what we have done for decades. Our goal was to shift the global ‘brainfreeze’ regarding carbon dioxide to a more constructive one by demonstrating that CO2 can be used to make a useful commercial product. After a couple of years of thinking on it, we concluded that we should find a way to make a nano-scale carbon on the thesis that this material might command a high enough value to underwrite the cost of production without government subsidies. That our invention produces various types and composites of high quality graphene, so efficiently and scalably is, I would say, just very, very lucky. Since the inventors are not indoctrinated materials sophisticates, we have brought in experts and formed alliances who can assist our clients, partners and customers with exploiting the materials. We have also developed downstream IP in both functionalization and end-use applications. I’d like to also say that I am continually impressed at the level of sophistication and brilliance of so many in this field.
JM: We are transitioning from an R&D company to a business and are structuring our company as a specialty chemicals company with end-to-end Intellectual Property. Our game-changing synthesis technology and materials are core assets but we recognize that we have to invest in internal and collaborative development of applications. We will offer a range of graphene morphologies and intermediate dispersions and master batches and our IP and expertise in polymer, chemical and mechanical systems. We have several IP positions in end-market applications that we are developing either on our own or with partners.
JM: I would credit founding the GSA to Steve Waite, Keith Blakely, Alan Rae and others but we were very pleased to see the association founded and joined eagerly. We see the GSA as playing a very important role in development of this material and its markets. Given all the hype, confusion, regulatory questions, lack of standards and challenges of launching a new material, we and our colleagues (I don’t view them as competitors) have a great deal of common interest. We really look forward to working with them and all interested parties to create a vibrant market for graphene and graphene products.