Global energy industry, as well as rising numbers of electric-only cars, e-bicycles, smartphones and solar energy development pushes battery technology into previously unthinkable solutions. In the past 25 years, lithium-ion batteries were leading the pack, since it is able to store big amounts of energy into a small space. According to a research company CCS Insight, lithium-ion batteries and related technologies for recharging are reaching their limits and a new need for alternative technology appeared. One of them may be the graphene-based charging unit.
In October 2018, Samsung has finished the development of so-called graphene batteries and it is estimated that they may be used for smartphones as early as this year. Since lithium-ion batteries are reaching the energy limits over the past several years, its development is slowing uncontrollably. New graphene batteries from well-know mobile phone producer, whose technology is based on the “sphere”, are said to have up to 45 percent higher capacity and recharge 5 times faster than classic lithium batteries.
Graphene has one more advantage, its material is aging slower than lithium and batteries are lighter. They also have 100 times higher electrical conductivity than copper and electrons move over graphene 140 times faster than through silicone.
After the beginning of a mass production, graphene accumulators will be cheaper to build, safer and more ecologic that their predecessors, because they don’t burn after eventual malfunction of control mechanisms. Time, financial and research effort is now focusing on specific applications with the aim to accelerate graphene market growth. According to the precursory data from Statista.com, the market reached the value of 9.1 million USD in 2016 in the USA only and it is estimated that it should grow as high as 58.9 million USD by 2024. Global graphene market, as calculated in the eponymous study from 2017, could reach up to 1 billion USD till 2025.
“Mass arrival of graphene into energy market is a signal for making solar energy, that is becoming closely connected with accumulation, even more attractive,” stated Marc Sottana, Battery Energy Storage project manager in Solek group, an important investor into photo-voltaic and self-sufficient energy supply systems based on renewable sources. “We expect, that global accumulation market will double each year.”
Graphene is a basic component of graphite and global graphite price is dependent on the size of flakes and its purity. It is expected that big graphite flakes will reach the price of 1.165 USD per 1 metric ton till 2020.
The more the usage for graphene spreads, the higher is the investors’ interest in companies that deal with its production or processing, says Gulf Brokers analysis. For example, the stocks of Australian company First Graphene Limited have grown by 59 percent from this January and are currently positioned at 0.29 AUD (0.19 USD). On the other hand, stocks of Japanese company Showa Denko KK, a leader in this segment, have weakened from the beginning of the year. However, in the last 3 years they have grown by 226 percent in total and at the time they are positioned at 3.140 JPY (29.3 USD).
Market value of graphene in the USA from 2016 till 2024 (in millions USD), Source: Statista.com