Graphene capacity in China is increasing while production
costs are gradually declining, with new products due to reach
the market in the coming months, according to the China
Innovation Alliance of the Graphene Industry (CGIA).
Speaking to IM on the sidelines
of the Graphene 2017 conference in Barcelona, Minyang Lu,
deputy director of the CGIA, said that the domestic sector has
expanded in the last few years, and now consists of about 30
graphene producing companies.
Total capacity in China today is put at 3,000 tpa graphene
powder, according to the CGIA. Production, however, is
currently only 200 tpa.
Most of current production is sold internally, while Lu
conceded "only small quantities of very high quality material
Chinese producers mainly target the end markets of polymer
composites, filtration and coatings. The focus is mostly on
"We are already selling composites such as rubber or
plastics. We are currently selling [graphene-enhanced] tyres
for prolonged durability and better performance," he said.
"More applications are entering the market this year," Lu
stated. One such product is a filtration mask for factory or
construction workers which is built with a graphene-based
filter. Other products include new graphene-based composites
for building materials.
At the same time, he claimed production costs are gradually
decreasing as processes are improved.
The price ranges are still very
wide. IM was told by the CGIA that
these can vary – at the extreme – from 'a
few’ Chinese renminbi (Rmb) per gram for the
lowest-quality graphene, to Rmb 1,000/gram for the highest-end
"Prices depend on quality, and on the related costs required
to further modify the graphene to adapt it to the
customer’s product or process," said Lu.
As well as the above-mentioned markets, Chinese producing
companies are eager to jump
on the energy bandwagon and target energy storage applications
including batteries, supercapacitors and related
products, IM heard.
"Demand in the sector is growing, and companies want to move
in that direction," Lu added.