In December 2013, Graphene Nanochem, in cooperation with the National Innovation Agency of Malaysia agreed to launch Malaysia's national graphene hub, with hopes that Malaysia will turn into a global graphene innovation hub. Now the Malaysian government has launched the National Graphene Action Plan (NGAP) 2020, a "strategic and calculated venture on graphene".
The NGAP 2020 outlined five potential industries that could best benefit from graphene — rubber additives, Li-ion battery anode/ultra-capacitors, conductive inks, nanofluids and plastic additives. The government says that according to their studies, by 2020 Malaysia could capture a $20 million nanofluids market, a $90 million plastic market and a $4.4 billion rubber market.
The EU-supported ElectroGraph project succeeded in developing graphene-based supercapacitor electrodes. Graphene enhances the surface area of the electrode, which makes it a great replacement for activated carbon (the currently used material). To demonstrate this, the consortium developed a car side-mirror that uses the graphene-enhanced supercapacitor charged by a solar panel:
The ElectroGraph electrodes surpassed commercially available ones by 75% in terms of storage capacity. ElectroGraph was coordinated by the Fraunhofer IPA Institute, and it mostly looks into supercapacitor applications for the automotive industry.
The University of Surrey in the UK is establishing a graphene center, within its Advanced Technology Institute (ATI). The Institute will extend its research into the uses and manufacture of graphene across such applications as high frequency electronics, flexible and transparent electronics, smart coatings and interconnect technology. The university is also interested in using graphene in solar cells, supercacitors, printed transistors and OLED displays.
The ATI developed Photo Thermal deposition technology that can deposit electronic grade graphene on wafer scale substrates. The tool performs catalyst deposition and graphene growth, allowing high volume production. The graphene center received more than £1.2 million (over $2 million) from the EPSRC, NPL and a range of industrial companies. Academic partners in the new center include the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Manchester, Imperial, Exeter, Trinity College Dublin and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside developed a metal oxide modified nanocarbon graphene foam that can be used to increase the performance of supercapacitors (both density and charge times). The researchers say this new foam can enable supercapacitors that can deliver twice the energy compared to current commercial devices.
The researchers report that the graphene foam is used as an electrode system. The researchers developed a process that is scalable. They also report that the foam electrode was successfully cycled over 8,000 times with no fading in performance.
Researchers from George Washington University developed a carbon nanotube and graphene composite material based ultracapacitors that combines high performance with low cost. The specific capacitance of the device is three times higher compared to CNT-pure capacitors.
The researchers explain that the hybrid structure is useful because the graphene flakes provide high surface area and good in-plane conductivity, while the carbon nanotubes connect all of the structures to form a uniform network. In addition, the production method is simple, scalable and low cost.
Veritcally-aligned graphene oxide flakes enable supercapacitors that can charge 1,000 faster than regular graphene ones
Researchers from Korea's Sungkyunkwan developed new supercapacitors that can charge 1000 times faster than current graphene supercapacitors, while also having three times the energy capacity. To achieve this fast charge (and discharge) times,t he researchers used vertically aligning graphene oxide flakes.
The researchers created a graphene oxide film using a carbon nanotube, and then used cutting and heat treatment to develop the vertically-structured graphene electrodes. The researchers also inserted a VNT into the GO sheets and created regular patterned pores in the GO films. All this resulting in electrodes that is much faster than solid and vertically-structured graphene used in existing supercapacitors.
Researchers from Japan and Korea suggest a new way to make graphene - from rice husk (agricultural "waste"). They say that this method may prove to be an easy, scalable and cheap way to produce graphene. As annual rice husk waste is about 120 million tons a year, it's potential for graphene feed material is large.
Activated carbon has been made for a long time from rice husk ash, but this is the first time that graphene structured have been observed in such rice husk-derived activated carbon. In addition, the researchers found that highly crystalline and atomically clean edges are present in the synthesized materials, even though the graphene sample was prepared at relatively a low temperature of 850°C. These findings suggest that the resulting graphene may find applications in energy storage and conversion devices.