Applied Graphene Materials plc (LON:AGM) Chief Executive Officer Adrian Potts caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their new innovation in chemical resistance, how it differs from the existing protective coatings they have, potential products uses and the differences compared to conventional additives.
Q1: Adrian, where does this new innovation take Applied Graphene Materials chemical resistance?
A1: As investors will be aware, our strategy is firmly centred on coatings or industrial and protective coatings sector. We use that as a platform really or a vehicle to demonstrate the huge effectiveness of graphene nanoplatelets in a range of different applications within that sector and then beyond into the world of liquid resin technology across a broader platform.
Initially, we’re well-known for the work that we’ve done in anti-corrosion and using the barrier performance of the impermeability of graphene to benefit anti-corrosion applications. We’ve established really a good level of technology across a good number of applications with our customers launching products.
So, we’re able now to really expand that into a new vertical within the industrial protective coatings sector to target chemical resistance so it allows us to expand our coatings application footprint for the application of graphene pretty significantly. In many cases, engagements are those that we already have and customers who are engaged in both the areas of anti-corrosion and chemical resistance so there’s really good read across between the two and those engagements we can obviously expand. Of course, there are new industrial opportunities, new industrial customers to target with this great technology.
It’s a really good leap forward for us with the hard miles that we’ve done to generate the data to support that proposition to the market.
Q2: How does this coatings offering differ from the graphene additive for protective coatings that you’ve had so much success within the past?
A2: Our graphene product offerings to date have really fulfilled a broad spectrum of opportunity and application, principally in the world of anti-corrosion, and we’ve done a really good job I feel with that. We’ve been able to demonstrate more than anything else that graphene works incredibly well, it’s a proven technology within that anti-corrosion environment. So, we’ve developed our product format that enables the material to be easily used and consistently used in the customer’s end product application and, of course, that’s what it’s all about for successful engagement with our customers.
What we have now, as I said before, is really an expansion of that application into the world of chemical resistance and a new sector for us and to help our customers understand the possibilities we’ve put together this wealth of data to support their use of the product.
So, the testing for these two market applications is pretty different. You asked about what’s the difference, it’s pretty different in terms of the testing that we’ve done and the testing that our customers will need to do with this product to enable it to have application within that sector of chemical resistance application.
We’re really excited about the opportunity for, as I said, this new vertical opportunity for us which it’s pretty much an adjacency to the work that we’ve already done. The products that we have in place are really applicable in terms of the graphene dispersions that we have to this new sector so there’s really good read across and really good opportunity.
Q3: Can you describe for us some of the potential product uses, just to give us a sense of market potential really?
A3: Its, as I said, a really good adjacency to the really good work that we’ve done to date with both the application of graphene and the dispersion technology that we’ve put together to enable the product to be used well within the industry.
So, key areas of application for us are pretty broad and it’s really where a coatings technology comes into contact with harsh chemicals. That can be as broad as industrial flooring applications right the way through pipeline coatings that are used on the inside of pipelines, both steel and concrete, and then chemical transportation on land or sea. That can include things like road and rail and then areas such as storage of chemicals as well, all of which tend to have protective coatings that are designed specifically for that chemical resistance purpose.
There’s a great opportunity for our customers in this sector now to innovate with graphene as a great alternative material to give longer life coatings and better and improved performance. Interestingly, now we are active in the composite material sector with some niche applications in that sector, we feel now that there’s further potential for composite material suppliers who operate in the chemical transport and the chemical storage sector.
So, a much broader application scope with the data that we’ve generated and the technology footprint that we have with the products that we’re able to bring to this sector and to this opportunity.
Q4: Now, you mentioned that graphene dispersions offer a cost competitive solution. Can you explain how your graphene dispersions compare to conventional additives when incorporated into chemical resistance systems?
A4: What we’ve found is that graphene, as we’ve seen with anti-corrosion technology and now with chemical resistance as well, is a remarkably efficient material when it’s used really well in coatings technology. By ‘remarkably efficient’, what I mean is that a little bit goes a long way, and as a result of that, we see formulators within the coating sector achieving excellent, really outstanding performance with low loadings of the material so that efficiency is huge.
For Applied Graphene Materials, that’s delivered through the product offering that we have whereby we add value to the graphene alone by making it easy to deploy through our dispersion technology. So low loading levels of our diluted dispersion into a customers end use formulation can result in a really cost effective alternative to some of the conventional products that are used in the sector that are used at much, much higher loading levels. We’re talking major percentage differences in terms of the deployment of the material and the effectiveness of the material in the end use application.
So, you’ve got the difference between purely the loading levels of the material, but when you then consider the all-round benefits that graphene is offering in terms of higher performance, a longer lasting solution, we feel that this gives a great proposition not just for the here and now and the cost of addition to a coating, but over the life of a coating in its use and that whole life cycle analysis.
We feel there’s a great advantage to both the coating company in terms of the technology and the innovation opportunity that they have, but also to the end user of that coating in terms of the maintenance cycle and the life cycle that coating will offer to them.
All round, we see it as a really positive contribution to the industry, really looking forward to engagement with our customers and new prospects for this technology as we roll out the marketing of it.