First Graphene announces major graphene-enhanced cement trial with consortium that includes Breedon Cement, Morgan Sindall and the University of Manchester

Australia-based First Graphene (FGR) will be kicking off one of the world’s largest graphene-enhanced green cement trials, supported by the UK Government’s £66 million Transforming Foundation Industries (TFI) program. FGR is leading the consortium running the trial, which also involves Breedon Cement, Morgan Sindall and the University of Manchester.

Receiving significant funding from Innovate UK through a £190,034 grant, graphene will be added to the cement production line using a range of additions methods with minimal changes to the existing plant. A key aim of the trial is to find a simple, low-cost method of introducing graphene to
industrial scale cement production processes.


In June 2023, approximately 2,000 tonnes of graphene-enhanced cement will be produced at Breedon that will be marked for use in real world demonstrations. The cement’s performance as a binder in mortar and concrete systems will be analyzed to assess the performance improvement, prior to use in real-world demonstrations by Morgan Sindall Construction, a leading British construction and regeneration group.

Data from Breedon and FGR production sites has already been analyzed by the University of Manchester and found graphene-enhanced cement to both offset CO2 and demonstrate potential mechanical benefits, even at graphene loading levels less than 0.06%.

FGR has secured a one tonne order for a further trial in graphene enhanced concrete, anticipated to be executed within Q4 2023. This one-off order, although not material from a profitability point of view, is an important step in scaling up to meet the increased requirements of the cement and concrete segment, and continues to help build the Company’s pipeline of revenue opportunities.

In Q4 2022, First Graphene secured a circa $13,000 grant from Innovate UK’s Analysis for Innovators (A4i) competition to develop a technique to quickly identify graphene in a sample of concrete paste. This work was conducted with the UK’s National Physical Laboratory a worldleading centre of excellence that provides cutting-edge measurement techniques.

Electromagnetic detection and measurement techniques of graphene at low loading levels (0.01%- 0.1%) were trialed for their speed and sensitivity to the conductivity of graphene. Among the techniques used were; time domain terahertz spectroscopy, microwave waveguide, microwave box
resonator and microwave dielectric resonator.

The project revealed different properties of graphene could be detected in concrete samples using each of the techniques, allowing the compilation of a range of data, which will be used in an upcoming trial to detect graphene in concrete on a production site. These proven identification techniques provide a more streamlined way to identify dispersion of graphene in cementitious systems and an alternative to traditional prism testing, which requires long wait periods associated with the curing process.

Work is currently underway with leading industry expert, Nick Winter from WHD Microanalysis Consultants Ltd, to better understand the reinforcing mechanism of graphene in cementitious systems. Advanced techniques of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-Ray analysis (EDX) are being used to investigate the microstructure of graphene enhanced cement. To date, various samples have been produced containing different grades and amounts of graphene utilizing distinct dispersion methods. Imaging and analysis are currently underway. The aim of this work is to provide a fundamental understanding of the role graphene plays in reinforcing cementitious systems.

Microstructural analysis will be used on graphene-enhanced cement produced at Breedon trials in June. It will place First Graphene at the leading edge of scientific understanding of how graphene improves cement systems, giving their R&D teams an obvious competitive advantage.

FGR has also been working with a subsidiary of Mexican multi-national building materials company CEMEX at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) to trial graphene in railway sleepers cast using recycled aggregates. Graphene was added to improve compressive strength and reduce porosity of recycled aggregate. The experimental plan contained 16 mixes and is generating data that could demonstrate a performance enhancement. The experimental portion of this project has been completed and results are due to be shared internally with project partners in late April, coinciding with a meeting of project collaborators
including FGR.

First Graphene Managing Director and CEO, Michael Bell, said: “Our research and development in collaboration with some of the world’s most innovative materials technology organizations, coupled with buy-in from industry partners to trial our graphene products, sets the foundation for a strong commercialization pathway. Greening of the concrete and cement sector provides our Company a great opportunity to
strengthen both our revenue and ultimately profitability as market demand for decarbonization
technologies and materials increases. The emerging green cement and concrete market is estimated to be worth US$56bn by 2027. We
have experienced a surge in demand for our “PureGRAPH® enhanced products at a time
commercial scale trials are dialing up. With pressure growing on the cement and concrete industry to reduce carbon emissions, First
Graphene anticipates interest in PureGRAPH® products will have an increasingly positive impact on our Company’s revenue streams from this segment.”

In October 2022, First Graphene announced a collaboration with the Breedon Group, Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure and the University of Manchester to develop a new reduced-CO2 graphene-enhanced cement

To learn more on the exciting possibilities and status of graphene-enhanced construction materials, read our Graphene-enhanced Construction Materials report

Posted: Apr 20,2023 by Roni Peleg