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Archer Exploration discovers ultra-pure graphene from graphite deposits

The South Australian commodity-developer Archer Exploration has confirmed the existence of ultra-pure graphene from graphite deposits at its Campoona mine on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. The company is hopeful the ultra-high purity of graphene extracted from Campoona will allow for a more efficient and scalable resource giving it a strong foothold in the world’s emerging graphene market. Archer Exploration CEO Gerard Anderson said that his company knows how to make pure grapheme from the high-grade Campoona graphite deposit.

High purity graphene is in high-demand from the world’s leading technology companies, many of whom are developing applications for the conductive material in everything from batteries to solar panels and wastewater treatment. Anderson says that although the global graphene market is still embryonic, the many potential applications for graphene mean the world’s leading electronic and technology companies will continue to invest heavily in the space. Graphene is a carbon that has a much better electrical conductivity than copper. Its tensile properties makes it around 260 times stronger than steel and it is regarded as the most conductive material ever discovered.

Ten years ago, the European Commission formed the Graphene Flagship, inviting universities and industry representatives to collaborate on developing the nascent graphene market. So far, 5 bn € has been committed to developing applications for graphene – only a handful of which have made it to market. Tennis racquet manufacturer Head has developed a tennis racquet using graphene and graphene-enhanced lighbulbs and bicycle tyres are also in development.

Heading the research into the initial graphene production at Campoona was Prof. Dusan Losic of the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering. The university will now continue to test the scaling-up process, while also furthering its research into potential applications, including using graphene as a membrane in environmental applications such as separating oil, heavy metals and other pollutants from water.

The 141-member industry group, which includes multinational electronics and engineering company Bosch and toy manufacturer LEGO, is hopeful of taking graphene’s development from the laboratory stage through to the many commercial applications. (Archer/Si.)