CPI has announced the successful development of a scalable purification process for graphene oxide (GO) production in partnership with Graphene Leaders Canada (GLC) Inc., a Canadian SME, and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). This will overcome a key barrier to future large-scale production of GO, reducing costs and facilitating the adoption of GO to improve performance of industrial products.
GO is the most processable and versatile precursor to graphene. Graphene demonstrates mechanical strength, optical purity and conductivity that are orders of magnitude higher than current technologies. GO is therefore in great demand to produce graphene for use in promising future applications such as longer-lasting batteries, more efficient solar cells, improved water treatment, circuit boards, display panels, and medicinal technologies. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Graphene, 2D Materials and Carbon Nanotubes: Markets, Technologies and Opportunities 2019-2029.
To improve the scalability of GLC's manufacturing process, CPI has leveraged its state-of-the-art facilities to identify and incorporate Tangential Flow Filter (TFF) technology into a suitable purification method. With TFF, the unpurified GO slurry travels along the filter membrane, with contaminants passing through the filter as a waste stream. NRC leveraged their deep expertise in graphene oxide characterisation to confirm product quality and consistency.
CPI successfully used TFF to develop an efficient, simplified and scalable batch purification process for purifying GO slurry, improving product yield, product quality and exceeding target concentration. CPI has used the results from the batch TFF purification process to develop the preliminary design for a commercial scale plant for the slurry purification stage of GLC's process.
Running from April 2019 to the end of October 2019, the project received a £235k grant from Innovate UK. It followed the overall UK-Canada Memorandum on Science, Technology and Innovation to strengthen collaborative ties between the NRC and UK research and innovation centres, including the Catapults and Research Council facilities across the UK.
Donna Mandau, President & CEO, Graphene Leaders Canada, said: "With this exciting collaboration, we have successfully developed a novel approach to rapidly purify graphene oxide which we can directly apply to our proprietary environmental platform. GLC aims to deliver world-changing environmental solutions and the results of this work will greatly strengthen our position in the global market."
Tony Jackson, Director of Formulation at CPI, said: "Improving GLC's GO purification process is another step towards increasing the large-scale use of graphene within industry. Working with GLC and with experts at NRC has been a great example of international collaboration that showcases CPI's capability in nanomaterials, process optimisation and process scale-up. We look forward to further transatlantic collaboration in the future."