MRL Corporation has entered into a contract with Adelaide Research & Innovation, the commercial development company of the University of Adelaide, to test its Sri Lankan graphite and its properties for scalable graphene production. The tests will seek to determine the yield and quality of isolated graphene within MRL’s graphite.
Graphene sells for a substantial premium to conventional graphite and therefore the tests are potentially highly significant to the economics of the company’s projects. Graphene is currently produced from composited graphite and lower grade graphite, which makes the ultra-high grade Sri Lankan graphite an exciting prospect.
The graphene tests, involving a range of different processes to determine the potential production and quality of graphene from MRL’s graphite ore will be conducted by the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering graphene research group, led by Professor Dusan Losic.
Recent tests have already established that MRL’s graphite is suitable for use in high-technology batteries. Should the impending round of tests demonstrate graphene properties, the company will be in a position to supply products to various markets ranging from traditional graphite customers to the next generation of high-end technology users.
Graphene is as versatile a material as any discovered on Earth. Its amazing properties as the lightest and strongest material, compared with its ability to conduct heat and electricity better than anything else, mean it can be integrated into a huge number of applications. Initially this will mean graphene is used to help improve the performance and efficiency of current materials and substances, but in the future it will also be developed in conjunction with other two-dimensional (2D) crystals to create some even more amazing compounds to suit an even wider range of applications.
One area of research which is being very highly studied is energy storage. Currently, scientists are working on enhancing the capabilities of lithium ion batteries by incorporating graphene as an anode to offer much higher storage capacities with much better longevity and charge rate. Also, graphene is being studied and developed to be used in the manufacture of super-capacitors which are able to be charged very quickly, yet also be able to store a large amount of electricity.
MRL holds exclusive rights to exploration licences covering approximately 6300 hectares in area, with historical workings located within nearly all licence grids.