Since graphene burst onto the scene in 2010, its development as a commercially marketed material has stalled.
But new applications could send graphene stocks upwards with rising demand for graphite.
Graphene is a potentially revolutionary material that is composed of a single sheet of carbon atoms. It has broken records in regards to its strength and ability to conduct heat and electricity.
New research suggests that it could be used in lithium-ion batteries — the same batteries found in smartphones, laptops and Tesla vehicles.
Batteries of the future: graphene’s amazing properties find new applications
The research published in ACS Nano, based on the work of researchers in South Korea, suggests that graphene could dramatically improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries.
The researchers discovered that by using an anode of folded graphene, the energy storage capacity of a lithium-ion battery could be significantly increased, and able to withstand at least 500 cycles of battery charging/discharging without any performance loss.
An anode is an electrode through which a current enters into an electrical device.
Below you can see the model electrode designed by the researchers:
Source: ACS Nano
Compared with traditional thick film electrodes, the folded electrode contains many layered films. This design allows for new pathways through which free electrons can flow, and the small gaps between the folds form multiple channels through which the lithium ions can diffuse.
The result is improved battery performance. As one of the researchers, Bin Wang notes, ‘our approach greatly lowers the weight of the final battery and increases its energy density’.
Graphite demand to increase, could benefit ASX-listed graphene stocks
It is estimated by Canaccord Genuity that annual demand for natural graphite could increase by 660% by 2025.
Below you can see that lithium-ion batteries will play an increasing role in this increased demand:
Source: Canaccord Genuity
There are a couple graphene/graphite stocks that could stand to benefit from this increasing demand.
Syrah Resources Limited [ASX:SYR] for example is Australia’s largest graphite producer.
There is also Talga Resources Limited [ASX:TLG] which produces graphite and has research and development facilities. Its mines are located in Sweden and it has R&D operations in Germany and the UK.
Another stock which is a pure graphene play is First Graphene Limited [ASX:FGR] which collaborates with the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and Swinburne University of Technology to develop new applications for graphene.
We have also covered Eden Innovations Limited [ASX:EDE] which has experienced success marketing a graphene enhanced concrete admixture.
So while some graphene stocks have the appearance of being speculative plays, there is growing potential for solid underlying demand in the future.
Definitely a field to keep an eye on for the future.
For Money Morning
PS: If you are looking to make a graphene play, you have to check out our free report available here.