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By Rose Ragsdale
For Metal Tech News 

HydroGraph opens Kansas graphene plant

Company reports start of green nanomaterials manufacturing Metal Tech News - June 29, 2022

 

Last updated 7/12/2022 at 2:13pm

A 3D image of the hexagonal pattern of the 2D wonder material, graphene.

Adobe Stock

HydroGraph says its patented Hyperion process can consistently and economically produce 99.8% pure graphene.

HydroGraph Clean Power Inc., a commercial manufacturer of high-quality nanomaterials and alternative-energy fuels, reported June 23 the opening of a 13,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for graphene and other products in Manhattan, Kansas.

Using its patented Hyperion detonation process, the company intends to produce high-quality graphene in what it describes as a low-cost and environmentally friendly manner due to low energy consumption and the absence of emissions.

HydroGraph's products include standard fractal graphene, an additive super-material used to enhance strength, water resistance, flexibility, electrical conductivity, and the company's proprietary "reactive graphene," which can be chemically combined with other products in a bonding process considered superior to that of its competitors.

"The completion of our new facility marks a key milestone in the revolution of graphene production and commercialization from lab to market," said HydroGraph CEO Stuart Jara in the announcement. "The HydroGraph process produces 99.8% pure graphene in identical batches with the lowest environmental footprint, striking at the heart of what's needed to make graphene the world's first 2D material discovered."

HydroGraph did not disclose construction costs for the plant.

However, the company said it has secured some confidential agreements with customers for its graphene products in the biomedical industry, according to a company spokeswoman.

R&D focus

HydroGraph recently appointed Chris Sorensen, Ph. D., Physics, as the company's vice president of research and development. Sorenson is the primary inventor of HydroGraph's technology platform, the Hyperion detonation system. He led a research team in developing the technology at Kansas State University in 2017.

Organizers founded HydroGraph that same year to fund and commercialize the green, cost-effective process to manufacture graphene, hydrogen, and other strategic materials in bulk.

Publicly listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Dec. 2, 2021, the company has acquired the exclusive license from Kansas State to produce both graphene and hydrogen through the patented detonation process.

The company said its new plant is designed using the famous "Bell Labs" approach, providing an R&D workspace near the manufacturing and production process to enhance future innovation and product development. HydroGraph's R&D infrastructure is comprised of a network of chemistry, physics, and engineering disciplines.

"This facility is the pinnacle in research and development," stated Sorensen. "Our new space allows the science to flourish and, as a result, will allow graphene to live up to its potential to change the world."

Market potential

Graphene was first isolated in 2004 by two scientists who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 for their work. Today, graphene is poised to explode in the commercial market as a super-material that can vastly improve a myriad of products, ranging from bio-medical to sports equipment to resins and coatings, along with an abundance of other applications.

"We are on the brink of the world's first super nanomaterial," HydroGraph notes on its website.

The immense potential of graphene, however, can be achieved only if the product is pure, batches are consistent, production is economical and environmentally friendly, with a product that can be delivered in an efficient, low-cost manner, according to the company.

"Only HydroGraph can currently meet this market demands. Our patented Hyperion process produces 99.8% pure graphene in identical batches at low-cost in an econ-friendly and modular system, achieving all these objectives and more," the company said.

Graphene is added to other materials to enhance strength, water resistance, flexibility, electrical conductivity, and it supports clean energy by improving battery, solar panel, and supercapacitor technology.

It is 200 times stronger than steel, harder than a diamond, has 10 times the thermal conductivity of copper, is 1,000 times more electrically conductive than copper, has better electron mobility than silicon, and can stretch to 120% of its length and is the lightest and thinnest of nanomaterials.

The global graphene market size was valued at $87.5 million in 2019 and is projected to reach $1.6 billion by 2028, according to HydroGraph.

The current graphene market is projected to grow by 40% annually (compound annual growth rate) with applications including polymers, resins, coatings, aerospace, automotive, biomedical, and more.

HydroGraph said the ease of integrating graphene into other materials is critical and touts the gel-like consistency of its graphene products for their ability to react readily with other materials and better enable integration.

Near-absolute blackness gives graphene stealth/radar applications, and the cement market can greatly reduce its carbon footprint by incorporating graphene into its products, the company noted.

Sorensen will lead HydroGraph-funded innovative research in graphene and graphene applications.

Unique materials

HydroGraph manufactures strategic products such as the super-material graphene used in dozens of industries, and alternative-energy fuels in high demand, such as hydrogen, through its patented technology that achieves high-quality and low-cost products that, unlike conventional processes, are environmentally friendly.

The company said its initial go-to-market products of graphene and soon-to-launch hydrogen are only the beginning for a platform of products in the material and energy spaces. These products include Hyperion-A and Hyperion-E.

The first in the company's "atomic" series, Hyperion-A produces synthetic graphene by using HydroGraph's detonation technology. The high-yield process converts acetylene and oxygen into 99.8% graphene powder in what the company believes to be the most efficient method on the market.

The company said its latest breakthrough came in the form of Hyperion-E, which produces energy in the form of hydrogen gas. This closed system uses methane and oxygen to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide, a commodity used in industrial processes, all without emissions.

Most other graphene manufacturing methods begin with mined graphite as the feedstock, which is essentially multilayer graphene compressed together, forming a mineral. These conventional methods of mass manufacturing graphene essentially aim to reduce the layers until they are under 10, the universal standard for what constitutes graphene.

Due to the difficulty in reaching 10 or fewer layers, these processes are energy-intensive, expensive and result in an inferior product, further compounded by inherent impurities within natural mined graphite, according to HydroGraph.

Instead, the company says it relies on innovative fuel technology coupled with its novel detonation chamber to enable the energy within hydrocarbon gases to not only power its system but also to produce a pristine product.

"Our system produces at replicable batches at industrial scale, all 99.8% carbon content and with layers between 1-5, classified as "very few-layer graphene," the company explains on its website.

The HydroGraph detonation chambers were designed from inception to improve industrial manufacturing by allowing for on-site production of graphene.

"For nanomaterials to truly revolutionize its products and materials, there must be innovation in the process as well," HydroGraph said, adding that it seeks to pioneer that innovation.

 

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