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Graphene-Battery.net
Copyright 2013

Is graphene a good investment?


Why we chose to address this question?

This is an often-asked question. On one hand, we would like to keep this site away from getting commercialized, while on the other hand, we want to provide our visitors with the best information and provide answers to common questions about graphene. The answer is not simple and definitely not short, so please bear with us and read the whole text, if you are serious about investing in graphene.

Introduction

Graphene is new technology

Graphene is a relatively new material. Even so, current research shows that it might well replace silicon in the coming years. There are hundreds of papers written on graphene every year, there are many patents submitted which cover the graphene manufacuturing process, many scientists are working on graphene research and lots of funds are being invested in this research.

Big players

The big players in the graphene game are companies such as Intel, IBM, Dow Chemicals and BASF. Intel and IBM are looking for ways to introduce graphene in the production of electronic chips, while Dow Chemicals and BASF are more concerned about using graphene to change the physical and chemical properties of other materials. Nokia is getting into graphene research alongside with others. They have received a 1.3 billion dollars grant from the European Union. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Samsung jump in as well. There are, of course, others. We will list them as more information becomes available.

Small players

There is also a number of small companies, some of which are privately owned, which aim to make a breakthrough in graphene technology. Some of them are graphene manufacturers, basically chemistry labs. Another type are R&D companies which use graphene to create new technology and devices, like supercapacitors and graphene batteries. These young companies could be a good graphene investment option because they have a great potential to expand in case they manage to make a useful patent.

Investing in graphene related materials

It should be noted that companies which are able to manufacture graphene have the tehnology and tools to manufacture some other interesting carbon molecules, such as nanotubes, buckyballs and so on. These are going through extensive research for use in the electronics industry, as well as pharmaceutical industry and advanced materials industry. These compounds can be used to make improved steels and other materials which could find great use in all branches, such as construction or chemistry.

Is graphene really worth all the hype?

Graphene is very unique and the hype is not expected to end soon. Some sources state that it will take at least 20 years of continuous research to uncover the complete array of potential uses. Therefore, investing in graphene is not seen as a hit-and-run deal. It has the potential to be a great source of income in the future, at least for the following 20 years.

To answer the question: yes. Graphene is unique and it is worth the attention it is being given. The fact that the EU granted nokia 1.3 billion in spite of the recession and all the financial problems is a good indicator of where the technology is being headed.

Natural resources

Graphene is made from carbon atoms. Carbon is one of the most abundant elements on earth, and all known life-forms are carbon-based. The most important source of carbon is graphite. Therefore, in order to manufacture graphene and other related compounds, the manufacturer needs to have access to large amounts of graphite.

The largest graphite mines are located in China, India, Brazil and North Korea. China is by far the largest graphite supplier, and 73% of world’s graphite is mined in China. However, they have already recognized the importance of graphite in the future and have imposed significant taxes on graphite ore export. Investing in graphite mines is another potentially good move, especially if the need for graphite increases sharply in the future. It could be a good alternative to investing in graphene, since graphite is the ore from which graphene is made.

Is graphene investment a good idea?

In a word, yes. It’s a solid idea with great potential. Not all great ideas are recognized at first. The telephone was rejected as an idea by investors - nobody believed it would have such widespread use as today. However, investing in graphene doesn’t come without any risks. We will try to explain the pros and cons of graphene investment, based on the currently available information. As more information becomes available, we will update this page, so make sure to follow us regularely.

Pros of investing in graphene:

Graphene is dubbed a wonder material by many people, even in scientific circles. This is due to a large number of unique properties such as high electron mobility, unusual strength, high porosity, tremendeous surface area to weight ratio, extreme conductivity (more conductive than silver), lightness and so on. This combination of properties is not seen in any other advanced material. A material with so many good properties is bound to have many interesting uses in all sorts of industries. It is also a new technology, so there is a lot of space for future improvement. Based on this, graphene could become a valuable resource, and early investments could bring high yields. Of course, investing in graphene is risky, but that’s exactly what makes it high yield.

A potential pro is that most companies who are focused on graphite derivates are relatively young. They are not big players and as such have potential to grow exponentially if they manage to make a technology breakthrough. Remember, the latest breakthrough in graphene manufacturing was done by an undergraduate student in a small lab, using a consumer-grade DVD burner. Since the technology is young, anyone could make a breakthrough and discover something really significant, even though they don’t have access to expensive equipment.

Cons of investing in graphene:

On the other hand, graphene could be a dead end. There are many problems associated with the mass production of graphene. One of them is a high manufacturing price, but this is expected to become less of a problem as time goes on and new technologies are discovered. Another probem lies in one of graphene’s greatest strengths: high electron mobility and the resulting high conductivity. This might not be an obvious drawback at first, but consider this: one of graphene’s greatest potential uses is in the electronics industry. Scientists hope to replace silicon-based transistor with graphene-based transistors. The problem: A transistor is a switch. A silicon-based transistor can be turned ON and OFF using electrical current. A graphene-based transistor is a lousy switch because, using current technology, it is either ON, or PARTIALLY ON. If we were to build a CPU using graphene transistors, it would consume enormous amounts of power, and power equals heat, so that’s one very limiting factor. Such a CPU would be very fast, but would overheat in seconds. Scientists are working on ways to change this property of graphene in such a way to retain (most) of the electron mobility, but also to make graphene less conductive. If this works out well, then graphene technology will explode and the industry will turn to graphene. If this happens, then graphene will definitely be a good investment. However, if it proves impossible, then it could be a bad investment option, at least if you plan to invest in companies that use graphene in electronics industry. Graphene could still be used in other areas, so investing in companies that manufacture graphene could be a lower-risk idea.

How to invest in graphene?

Once you’ve figured out if graphene investment is the right path for you, there is a number of ways you could invest in graphene and associated technologies. It’s not really that simple, though, because it’s a new material and the market is not yet developed. You can’t buy or sell graphene like you can buy and sell gold or diamonds (also a carbon molecule). However, you can invest in companies which are in the manufacturing chain, or which perform research and development using graphene as the base material.

Graphite mines

Investing in graphite mines could be a good option. Even if graphene turns out to be all talk and no show, graphite will still have well-established uses. For example, it takes up to 40 times more graphite than lithium to produce a Li-Ion battery. Furthermore, there is a huge potential if graphene manages to find its way into consumer devices. The prices of graphite have almost tripled since 2005. The USA and EU see graphite as a supply critical mineral. As we said above, the world's largest producers of graphite are currently China, Brasil, India, North Korea and Canada.

China's mines are operated by the government and there is no easy way to invest in them. One of the largest mines is the Xinghe Graphite Mine.

Canada is ready to open a new mine in 2014. The company behind this project is Northern Graphite. They are listed on TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol NGC and on OTCQX under the symbol NGPHF. Investing in these stocks could turn out to be very profitable, since the project is at its beginning and feasibility studies are positive. The stock market is never risk-free, but it seems like investing in graphene stocks through investing in graphite mining companies has a large potential.

CVD equipment

Once graphite ore is dug out, it needs to undergo a series before it is turned into graphene. One of the steps is called CVD - Chemical Vapour Deposition. It is used to coat a material with a thin layer of another material. In our case, CVD is used to deposit a single layer of carbon atoms onto a substrate, most often copper. The CVD process is widely used in the electronics industry and is not limited to graphene.

There are several large companies which specialize in CVD equpiment. One of them is Aixtron, which is listed on NASDAQ under the symbol AIXG. Another company to keep an eye on is CVD Equipment Corp., which is listed on NASDAQ under the symbol CVV. ASM International goes by the symbol ASMI on NASDAQ and also deals with CVD technology. There are several others, such as Applied Materials Inc., Genus, Jipelec, Trikon and FHR Anlagenbau GmbH, to name a few.

CVD equipment is heavily relied on during the standard manufacturing process for silicon ICs. Many other processes use CVD, so this kind of equipment will be essential for at least another 15-20 years. It is the best and cleanest way to coat solids with precisely controlled amounts of other materials.

Clean rooms

Having in mind that graphene is a layer of carbon which is only one atom thick, a spec of dust looks gigantic compared to the thickness of graphene. This is why there are sensitive processes which must be done in a clean room. Clean rooms are used to control the number of particles in the air that could contaminate the workpiece. Some clean rooms are small, but are huge, encapsulating an entire factory and covering hundreds of square meters. They are indispensible in the manufacturing of integrated circuits, and their use is widespread.

There is a large number of clean room manufacturers. Basan, Kyodo Allied, Particle Measuring Systems, Oak Technical and Camfil Farr are some of the names in the industry.

Graphene manufacturers

Graphene is manufactured and sold by only a few companies in the whole world. Some of them are Graphenea, Graphene Square, Graphene Supermarket and Graphensic.

Because of the rising interest in graphene manufacturers, we are now offering a separate page with more information. To access it, click here: List of Graphene Manufacturers

We are continuously adding new information to this site. Feel free to bookmark us and come back periodically in order to keep up with the newest information available.

Contact us!

If you feel you have valuable information, please contribute it by e-mailing us at contact@graphene-battery.net

DISCLAIMER

This site is not intended as a replacement for good market research. We do not accept liability for any losses, including material and financial losses incurred from reading our content or following our advice in any way. In order to invest safely, please contact a certified broker instead of listening to random advice from the internet. Our material is intended for information purposes only and we do not guarantee that all the information presented here is correct.

    

This page was last modified: May 10th, 2013.