Plotting the route to commercialisation
The Industrialisation Work Package explores application opportunities for graphene and related materials based on market needs through the Technology and Innovation Roadmap. A prerequisite for industrial uptake of graphene technologies is trust and confidence in these technologies. Therefore, starting from the most promising applications, we validate the properties of graphene and layered materials and devices. This provides objective data on the characteristics of real GRMs thereby supporting users in making confident decisions on the suitability of the materials for their needs. Next, we develop international standards for properties and characterisation of graphene and layered materials, as well as graphene-enhanced components, devices and systems. Finally, we communicate the outcomes transparently to the whole Graphene Flagship community via the Sample and Materials Database (SMDB).
This year’s progress
Over the past year, our Work Package has successfully established an industrial workflow. When it comes to roadmapping, we were forced to reinvent the format of our workshops to allow for the same types of intensive exchange with industry in an online format. Online consultations of industrial stakeholders allowed us to explore three new topics, such as micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) for sensors, antimicrobial surfaces and the applications of graphene photovoltaics in space. The roadmapping team also had the first in a series of roadmap briefs published.
Within our validation efforts, our partners contributed to three VAMAS interlaboratory comparisons, helping to set criteria for harmonised measurements, testing, specifications and standards for advanced materials. The team also developed new services to characterise lubricants containing graphene additives. The Graphene Flagship Validation Service increasingly supports industrial partners with very different types of measurements, often for a variety of parameters on the same samples as well as repeat measurements as their technology improves.
Moreover, our standardisation team made great strides over the past year. Graphene Flagship partner Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, leads the standardisation task, with Thurid Gspann as Chair of the Graphene Flagship Standardization Committee. This team has grown to include 47 members and led a total of 16 standardisation projects, doubling the number from our previous funding period. A growing number of standardisation projects required industry leads, and five Graphene Flagship Associated Members specifically joined our Graphene Flagship project to work on standardisation strategies. We also completely redeveloped the SMDB, which is now available to end users as a stand-alone application, structured according our systematic of standards.
The Industrialisation Work Package is critical to the Graphene Flagship’s commercialisation mission. Its roadmapping work helps the project explore market opportunities and provides general market and competition intelligence. Furthermore, its validation and standardisation services create trust and confidence in graphene and related materials. Last, but not least, its activities facilitate networking between industry and academia, a keystone of the Graphene Flagship’s success.
What’s in store
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe may require the Graphene Flagship to shift its strategies towards health and safety, becoming more resilient and setting up robust value networks to support Europe’s innovation sovereignty. In this context, guidance and orientation are crucial – and the work of our Industrialisation Work Package, through its Technology and Innovation Roadmap activities, becomes paramount.
Along with the rest of the Graphene Flagship, we see a fundamental challenge in the fragmentation of the established ecosystem for the project after the end of this funding phase, which would create far less impact and jeopardize Europe’s leading role in graphene innovation.
Graphene Flagship researchers have now demonstrated a novel engineering approach to enhance the electrical stability of two-dimensional transistors by carefully tuning the Fermi energy. The results, part of the 2D-Experimental Pilot Line (2D-EPL) project within the Graphene Flagship, have been reported in Nature Electronics.
Graphene Flagship Associated Member Costruzioni Meccaniche Luigi Bandera is committed to bridging the gap between research and manufacturing methods for extruding polymers with layered materials.
Graphene Flagship partner Avanzare, Spain, has purchased a new plant to manufacture graphene-enabled products, composites and nanointermediates. Thanks to this recent expansion, the company will become Europe’s biggest graphene producer, levelling with international competitors.
Since graphene’s discovery, researchers have found hundreds of potential applications for this incredibly versatile material. From brain implants to treat neurological disorders, to the next generation of smart textiles, products enabled by graphene and related materials promise to disrupt individuals, industries and societies. In this article, Kari Hjelt, Head of Innovation at the Graphene Flagship, looks at three examples.
The last years have been quite unusual, but this did not get in the way of new innovations from Graphene Flagship members, Partnering Projects and Spearhead Projects around Europe. Here, Francesco Bonaccorso, Deputy Head of Innovation for the Graphene Flagship, looks back at four of the most-read graphene stories from the last year. Read on to learn about how graphene could give us faster mobile phones, safer aircraft and seafaring vessels, and even a new construction material that replicates human bone.