First Graphene Climbs Toward the Summit of True Innovation
Investors have a rare chance at remarkable upside
Emerging Growth Report on First Graphene (ASX: FGR, OTC: FGPHF)
Although the centerpiece of technology-driven companies and industries is innovation, every pioneering development reaches an end-of-life phase. Visualized as an S-curve, a groundbreaking invention or process features three components: emergence, growth and maturity. In the final phase, efforts to extract additional productivity from the invention or process yields lower returns on investment.
It begs the question, can manufacturers and engineers continue milking the same innovation in perpetuity? While no one can predict when a previously new solution will reach its cessation of utility, typically, the S-curve does not extend indefinitely. Societal expectations change, resulting in a fresh invention or protocol to usurp its predecessor. And that’s the key narrative behind First Graphene (ASX:FGR, OTCMKTS:FGPHF).
Specializing in the research, development and commercialization of graphene, this game-changing commodity leverages the potential to move multiple industries into the next plateau of efficiency and resilience. More importantly, as one of the few sector leaders in the graphene development arena, First Graphene has a significant advantage when it comes to the ultimate goal of commercialized applications.
But because FGR is industry agnostic — that is, the company could impact any organization that may benefit from graphene-integrated solutions — prospective investors have on their hands a potentially paradigm-shattering investment. As commercial-grade graphene can impart improvements in end products ranging from the mundane to the miraculous, the upside to FGPHF stock is immeasurable if the underlying company succeeds in its long-term strategies.
Essentially, the equity unit could be like acquiring shares of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) or Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) during their nascency. In the former’s case, the content streaming giant catalyzed a new S-curve in entertainment, which evolved from bulky physical apparatuses to smaller VCR cassette tapes and discs to finally, nothing at all. Today, entertainment is consumed on-demand, streamed directly to the user across myriad devices.
The same evolution benefits Tesla. Initially, the combustion engine obsolesced the horse-and-buggy model of personal transportation. And while engineers dramatically improved the efficiency of the century-old platform over the years, a new S-curve became necessary to meet heightened consumer and political expectations. Enter the electric vehicle, a radical upgrade that will form the basis of the next generation in mobility.
Why astute investors are keeping tabs on First Graphene stock is that few appreciate (at least for now) the enormity of the innovation on tap. Further, FGR is not just limited to certain industries; rather, the company offers a surprisingly diverse range of applications, making it fundamentally one of the highest-potential stocks available for public acquisition.
The Power and Resonance of Graphene
So, what exactly is graphene? Described as a miracle material, graphene is a carbon allotrope which consists of a single layer of atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice nanostructure. Essentially, graphene is perfectly flat yet at the same time carries incredible strength and durability. Per a Scientific American article:
Graphene is transparent, flexible and strong, and it conducts electricity, making it an attractive material for a number of electronics applications. Tantalizingly, electrons move through its two-dimensional structure much more easily than through ordinary conductors, zooming through as if massless. Graphene has already been used to make high-speed transistors, and flexible, durable conductive touchscreens are but one large-scale application that could be in the offing if an effective means of mass production can be developed.
At the Nobel announcement, physicist Per Delsing of the Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden, explained that a hypothetical one-square-meter hammock made out of graphene would be strong enough to support a four-kilogram cat. The hammock itself, just one atom thick, would weigh roughly one milligram—about the same as one of the cat’s whiskers.
As the thinnest material known to man but imbued with the strongest pound-for-pound profile ever discovered, graphene could easily impart the next great paradigm shift across myriad technological industries.
In prior eras, innovation rested on expanding the scale of long-established inventions. For instance, today’s combustion cars are both faster and more fuel-efficient than their counterparts from decades ago. But underneath the hood, we’re still talking about a basic framework that has existed for over a century.
Thanks to evolving research and development in the graphene space, however, futurists can now credibly envision the upcoming transition to clean mobility. Through the conductivity and lightweight nature of graphene, electric vehicle batteries can potentially charge faster and dissipate heat more efficiently. Further, by reducing the physical material required to develop next-generation batteries, this miracle material could finally make EVs more accessible to the everyday driver.
Why First Graphene?
Given the incredible attributes of graphene — characteristics backed by extensive academic research and laboratory tests — prospective investors raise the obvious question: why hasn’t this commodity reached commercialization yet?
Certainly, that’s of no fault to the marketing machinery that has permeated the graphene space. However, as AZO Materials pointed out, the industry is still in its infancy. At a minimum from a cynical perspective, you can reasonably expect to find several fly-by-night operations in this arena, hoping to prey upon the lack of due diligence among the lay investor community. Indeed, the publication laid it out the best:
Many people overlook the fact that the graphene industry is like any other industry and needs time to reach widespread commercial success. The main reason for this is that people only focus in one thing—that it is a wonder material, with fantastic properties, that will solve many problems. While undeniably true, this is a fundamental science that people are referring to, and building an industry requires more than just a material possessing advantages over the status quo. The route to scale-up must be mapped, the end-users identified, safety protocols established (for handling, creating and using the material), standards realized, and the combination of all these factors takes a significant amount of time.
Among the biggest risk factors in the graphene industry is the lack of standardization. In other words, what exactly qualifies as graphene? While investors can find several companies claiming to promote advanced graphene-based solutions, without an objective reference point, such assertions are almost always speculative in nature.
What distinguishes First Graphene from other competitors is its enviable provenance and track record. For instance, back in September 2019, FGR and the University of Manchester signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement to develop graphene-hybrid materials for use in supercapacitors.
Per ScienceDirect.com, supercapacitors “are a type of new energy saving and conversion equipment that is supposed to have the potential of high power density, great circulation feature, rapid discharge-charge, poor self-discharging, safe working, and low cost.” Their unique properties may potentially forge groundbreaking applications from electric vehicles to elevators to cranes.
But it’s not just in the academic realm where First Graphene distinguishes itself. Through the company’s proprietary PureGRAPH graphene additive, commercial end-users can deploy the commodity to enhance the durability and shelf life of various equipment and industrial processes.
As an example, the global mining industry excavates, transports and processes 50 million tones of ore annually, leading to wear and tear on handling equipment. To substantially mitigate this problem, end-users can apply PureGRAPH additives, which have demonstrated improved tensile strength and abrasion resistance over traditional polymer-based solutions.
If that wasn’t enough, First Graphene “is the only company in the world with regulatory approval to sell tonnes of graphene in both Australia and Europe” per its website, giving the company a significant leg up in the path toward commercialization relative to its rivals.
Moreover, the quality of FGR’s graphene nanoplatelet products under the PureGRAPH brand — characterized by large platelet size, high aspect ratio, low defect levels and metallic-contaminants-free profile — have delivered a reputational advantage that will be difficult for any company to usurp.
The Pathway to Endless Possibilities
Although the ongoing digitalization movement has been responsible for myriad advancements and conveniences, the capacity to perform more functions is not enough. Indeed, any new innovation has to be economically accessible to its target audience. Otherwise, the concept will end up being shelved as nothing more than a laboratory queen.
Like the transition of the home entertainment industry from an exclusively physical and tethered platform to one that’s increasingly migrating to the cloud, accessible pricing along with the technology itself has made the paradigm shift a realistic venture. Graphene at scale can deliver the same revolutionary catalyst but for a vast array of applications.
Below are some of the compelling industrial uses of this wonder material:
- Composites: Thanks to its modular nature, composite materials have been a mainstay in sectors that require specific stiffness-to-weight and strength-to-weight metrics, such as aerospace manufacturing. In addition to their resistance to rust and corrosion, composites also feature cost-effective production. However, the drawback is that this material type is relatively brittle and more easily damaged. But thanks to the core attributes of First Graphene’s PureGRAPH product, it can reinforce composite durability while adding other performance attributes such as improved water resistance, thereby enhancing the economic proposition as well.
- Elastomers: From information provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior, “Americans throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes each year. These shoes end up in landfills, where they can take 30 to 40 years to decompose.” One solution is the use of elastomers to increase the strength and durability of shoes. Some companies have experimented with silicone-based elastomers to augment other processes, such as piping and molds. The big drawback, though, is cost. But PureGRAPH at scale can deliver superior elastomer performance while keeping costs very manageable, making it an attractive choice.
- Fire Retardancy: According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2020, “local fire departments responded to an estimated 1.4 million fires in the United States. These fires caused 3,500 civilian fire deaths and 15,200 reported civilian fire injuries. Property damage was estimated at $21.9 billion.” While fire retardants exist, the chemicals involved represent serious threats to public health and environmental stability. Through a partnership with the University of Adelaide, First Graphene developed a coating formulation that provides superior protection with no toxic overhang, making this special variant of PureGRAPH a much more palatable solution.
- Concrete: The most widely used man-made material in existence, concrete is the epitome of the urban sprawl that characterizes modernity. However, cement — the key ingredient in concrete — is “the source of about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions,according to think tank Chatham House.” Per a BBC.com report, “If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world – behind China and the US.” Fortunately, PureGRAPH represents a powerful additive for concrete, reducing water permeability and improving overall durability — key factors to spark a net reduction in concrete consumption and therefore promoting a superior environmental outcome.
- Energy Storage: Ask any financial analyst and you may hear that the future of personal mobility is electric. While that might very well be true, the harsh reality is that improvements in both infrastructure and EV capacity will be needed — along with a reduction in cost to the consumer — for roadway electrification to be practical. Graphene may hold the key to bridging the gap between innovation and feasibility thanks to the material’s ability to potentially facilitate high-energy density battery solutions.
- Clean Energy: In early October of this year, First Graphene acquired patents from Kainos Innovation, with which it partnered late last year “to progress a pathway from hydrocarbons to green hydrogen and battery grade materials.” Per FGR’s press release, green hydrogen “can be used as clean energy to feed back into refining.” Moreover, oil refineries can utilize this technology to capture hydrogen from downstream operations.
- Polymers: A little over a month ago, First Graphene announced the release of its second masterbatch product, a solid additive deployed in the plastics industry to blend with a range of materials. Imbued with the company’s PureGRAPH solution, FGR’s masterbatches have demonstrated increased mechanical performance, improved thermal and electrical conductivity, electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding, increased barrier properties and fire retardancy.
- Mining: In September of this year, First Graphene signed a deed of variation with newGen Group for the supply of the PureGRAPH product line for inclusion into the newGen ArmourGRAPH protective products for the mining industry, per FGR’s corporate press release. Through ArmourGRAPH protective mining wear liners and elastomeric coatings, mining operators can significantly extend the life of their equipment, which also has the benefit of reducing costs.
Blistering Financial Performance
While several pioneering startup enterprises tied to intriguing narratives are available for investors to choose from, a vast number of them are just that — companies with an exciting storyline but little to nothing to show for it on the income statement. Though First Graphene is very much in the early stages of sector development, it’s already amassed financial performances that provide weight to the optimism.
On Oct. 11, management provided an update on the financial and operational metrics for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2021. Among the highlights are the following:
- Record sales of PureGRAPH-based products thanks to momentum from initiatives carried out in Q4 of last year.
- The aforementioned acquisition of Kainos Innovation “positions FGR to provide green energy alternatives, including green hydrogen, to oil and gas sector.”
- FGR appointed Michael Bell as Managing Director in July. Further, the company expanded its commercial team.
- Thanks to the recently crafted masterbatch formulation, PureGRAPH products’ range has increased to accommodate potentially new applications.
- Management focused on bolstering its books while maintaining a competitive edge in graphene research and development.
Best of all, the record PureGRAPH sales represented almost 40% of fiscal year 2020’s total revenue haul and 138% growth against a year-over-year comparison. This robust performance confirms that First Graphene’s involvement in graphene research extends far beyond textbooks and laboratory sessions.
Rather, it’s making substantive progress, potentially on the cusp of a multi-generational paradigm-altering event. As a result, it’s well worth taking your time to perform due diligence on this massive opportunity.
A Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity
Usually, it’s only in hindsight that we recognize the genius in an innovation that we take for granted in the present time. However, investing in already-fleshed-out technologies rarely yields massive returns. Simply put, the narrative has already been priced in.
With First Graphene stock, its equity value is presently at the mercy of market forces, which ebb and flow wildly. Further, as a stock available so far in the U.S. as an over-the-counter trade, the wide bid-ask spread — along with a share price well below 20 cents — makes for a risky proposition. There’s simply no denying this fact.
However, it’s also fair to point out that if everyone believed in the opportunity of commercialized graphene, then First Graphene stock would be priced much higher than it is right now. While FGR is an aspirational investment, it likely only needs one of the aforementioned applications to reach commercial viability for shares to skyrocket.
What drives interest among speculators, though, is that First Graphene has a credible shot of bringing several uses to the table. With partnerships in the academic and industrial arenas, FGR commands leadership roles in both the research lab and on the field. As companies across various specialties look to expand their productivity, First Graphene is primed to deliver the goods.
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Disclosure: The author is long FGPHF stock.