The Chairman of the Australian Graphene Industry Association (AGIA), Mr Chris Gilbey, has urged the Federal Government to lay down an appropriate policy framework that would ensure Australia reaps the many benefits of graphene, a super-material made from carbon that could help Australia meet its carbon emissions targets and become an advanced manufacturing powerhouse worldwide.
Speaking at the AGIA Graphene + Enabled Smart Cities Conference in Melbourne on Tuesday, Mr Gilbey said Australia should aim to become a global innovation hub for graphene-enhanced materials, as these will be an intrinsic part of future ‘smart-cities’ thanks to its unmatched properties, including strength and electrical and thermal conductivity.
“Australia has the potential to become a global powerhouse in developing revolutionary products that are made possible by graphene. We have here in Australia an amazing resource, the leading graphene scientists in the world, but we are in danger of losing our leadership position if state and federal governments don’t step up and incentivise the industries that are prepared to commercialise graphene,” Gilbey said.
“Industry is already acting to develop graphene-enabled products, but it needs to be incentivised to develop the value-add activities and therefore jobs associated with this emerging local sector. It’s incumbent on our policymakers to support the creation of market conditions that encourage the proliferation of our graphene innovation into global supply chains.
“Graphene can be the panacea to deliver the ‘jobs and growth’ mantra we hear from politicians. We care about our Aussie sportspeople punching above their weight and winning gold, however our graphene scientists have been doing precisely this for some years. We need to move their stories into the mainstream because they are the heroes of our time. Their work will do more than garner gold medals. It will generate billion-dollar revenues for Australia and make our economy great again.”
According to a recent report by Acumen Research and Consulting, graphene’s market value is expected to have an average annual growth rate of 38.2 percent from 2019 to 2026, underscoring the importance of Australia maintaining its leadership position in the sector.
A key ingredient in many everyday applications, graphene is what makes modern smart-phones fast-charging and bendable, strengthens asphalt in roads to end cracking, and enables filtration systems to efficiently turn polluted water into pure drinking water in a single pass.
It has also been used to build ‘smart’ walls, floors and ceilings that can monitor movement in buildings, as well as in trials to eradicate potholes.
Mr Gilbey stressed the need for the Federal and state governments to work together to support unlocking graphene’s potential to help reduce carbon emissions and the impacts of climate change.
“While the practical applications for graphene are varied and almost limitless its potential to slash carbon dioxide emissions on an industrial scale is what could soon make it the globe’s hottest commodity,” he said.
“This will be achieved by decoupling existing supply chains and restructuring them to include low-cost graphene. New supply chains are where the job creation will be and jobs will go to jurisdictions that understand this. The industries and businesses that recognise this first will reap the rewards.”