The Australian Graphene Industry Association (AGIA) has been established to act as a point of contact and information for businesses interested in pursuing the use of graphene to improve their products.
Graphene is called a ‘super material’ because of its incredible characteristics: stronger than steel, harder than diamond, impervious to all gases, and the most electrically conductive material known to man. Not only is graphene a super material, its qualities can be transferred into other materials that it is compounded with.
Australia, and Victoria in particular, has become a hotbed of research into graphene, and the development of commercial applications using this material. Geelong is home to one of the first facilities in the world that can manufacture affordable graphene at scale.
Unlike the EU, in Australia there has been no structure and directed governmental support focused on graphene commercialisation. Nevertheless, Australia is among the leading nations in investment into graphene research. Since 2009 almost $30 million has been awarded to graphene research via grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC), with 49.5 per cent of the ARC graphene grants going to Victorian universities.
AGIA Chair Chris Gilbey OAM says the Victorian Government has recognised the importance of graphene to the state’s economy, and as a result has provided the initial seed funding for the AGIA.
“It also understands that new businesses will be spun out from universities in the field of advanced materials and that the CRC grants are likely to be a predictor of new business formation in Victoria.”
“Graphene is a material that is not easy to manufacture, nor is it easy to work with,” Director, Swinburne Manufacturing Futures Research Institute, Bronwyn Fox said. “It requires wet labs, and expensive testing equipment. Start-up companies interested in commercialising graphene will need access to labs and equipment in order to develop products. Therefore it is logical to expect that entrepreneurial graduates will emerge from universities that have been successful in researching the material, and that when they form new companies, they will remain reliant upon access to the facilities offered by universities.”
AGIA will not only be an information source on every aspect of the commercial potential for graphene, it will also link companies to future employees, venture capital to start ups, and researchers to industry.
“It will also facilitate the development of the industry by providing a jobs portal on the AGIA website, which will be operational before the end of the year.”
The inaugural board of directors comprises Chris Gilbey OAM (Chairman), Executive Chairman of Imagine Intelligent Materials Limited; Bronwyn Fox, Director Swinburne Manufacturing Futures Research Institute; Simon Savage, CEO, Ionic Industries; and Dennis Grech, Chief Operating and Financial Officer, Geofabrics Australasia.