First Graphene (ASX: FGR) Extracts True Practicality from Rising Innovations

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FGR may not be first to market in graphene but it could be the first to dominate it

Despite the horrors and lingering uncertainty over the novel coronavirus pandemic, the crisis unexpectedly sparked bullish sentiment toward the investment markets. While much is made about the record-breaking surge in the Dow Jones, it’s not just U.S. indices that have enjoyed surprising enthusiasm. Indeed, the global markets, including Germany’s DAX, Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Australia’s benchmark All-Ordinaries (XAO) were in the black heading into Christmas weekend.

While some sectors enjoyed outsized gains relative to others — for instance, pharmaceutical companies levered to Covid-19 vaccines and treatments — the one that has caught significant and sustained attention is the broader technology sphere. Specifically, innovations related to electric vehicles, battery capacities, and renewable energy have delighted early-bird speculators. And naturally, this invited more people to join in as a FOMO play (or fear of missing out).

There’s an argument to be made that the bullishness can continue in these high-profile segments. For one thing, the markets can stay irrational for longer than one can remain solvent. History (both recent and not so recent) is replete with choice examples. Second and related to the present circumstances, many white-collar employees find themselves working from home, enabling greater access to capital markets. Thus, sentiment could theoretically be divorced from the fundamentals for much longer than experts would ordinarily expect.

But at some point, the fundamentals do matter. Although the paradigm-shift in carbon-free energy deployment is an exciting progression, it may have already encountered a maturation in terms of available technologies. To drive higher, we need a new paradigm. And that’s where graphene and specifically, First Graphene Ltd. (ASX:FGR) offers a potentially groundbreaking solution.

So What Exactly Is Graphene?

EmergingGrowth.com ran a report featuring First Graphene and FGR stock, which includes the history of graphene’s discovery, its attributes and most importantly, its myriad applications which can dramatically improve both technological platforms and physical infrastructures. For more information about the scientific nature of graphene, that article is a great starting point.

Nevertheless, let’s provide a brief background into this “miracle” material. Graphene was first isolated by Russian-born scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who were working at the University of Manchester. According to Explainthatstuff.com:

[The scientists] made graphene by using pieces of sticky tape to pull off flakes of graphite, then folding the tape and pulling it apart to cleave the graphite into even smaller layers. Eventually, after a great deal of work, they were amazed to find they had some bits of graphite only one atom thick—graphene, in other words.

Utilizing more technical language, graphene is an allotrope of carbon, which simply means an element (carbon in this case) can exist in multiple physical forms. Structurally, as mentioned above, graphene is distinct in that it’s arranged in a honeycomb-like sheet that’s one atom thick, making it among the rare few materials which are essentially two dimensional.

However, it is unique in that graphene is the strongest material in the world. As you might imagine, the combined strength, lightness of weight, and exceptional flexibility makes this the holy grail of advanced, premium commodities. Not surprisingly, then, experts anticipate a rapid buildup in the graphene space.According to data from Grand View Research, the global market value of graphene was $78.7 million in 2019. By 2027, however, experts there anticipate that the sector will soar to $1.08 billion, or a compound annual growth rate of 37.54%.

Better yet, it wouldn’t be out of the question if graphene jumps above projections. Because this allotrope has yet to reach commercial viability, tech firms are forced to utilize the lesser able graphite. And this means boatloads of graphite must be produced for comparatively small returns. Logically, this imposes environmental concerns, which is perhaps the greatest irony of graphite – as its usage in clean emissions products increases, so too will its negative environmental impact.

Fortunately, you don’t need nearly as much graphene to extract outsized performance, making its future integration a matter of both environmental protectionism and economic profitability. The catch is while there are many competitors in the space conducting advanced research – examples include Versarien (OTCMKTS:VRSRF) and Haydale Graphene Industries (OTCMKTS:HDGHF) – this isn’t a first-to-market race.

Rather, this is all about first-to-market viably, which is really where First Graphene and FGR stock stands out. Primarily, the company distinguishes itself from the competition by utilizing electrochemical exfoliation to produce graphene, which is a much “gentler” process than the thermo-based brute-force methods deployed by other companies. As well, this “high-yield exfoliation process enables graphite-to-graphene conversion rates of above 95%,” promoting tremendous cost advantages.

Long story short, First Graphene is best positioned to deliver commercial use applications, which would be a far superior accomplishment to merely being the initial provider of graphene, where current examples by rival firms are incumbered with defects and poor, inconsistent quality.

Electric Vehicles Prove the Necessity of Graphene

As mentioned earlier, the coronavirus pandemic didn’t catalyze an economic crisis in all sectors. Indeed, some markets, most conspicuously electric vehicles, enjoyed remarkable demand. In large part, this is due to the simplicity of EV platforms. With fewer moving parts compared to internal combustion engines (ICE), drivers can get up and go without much hassle (such as oil changes), making them ideal transportation methods during these worldwide lockdowns.

But the overarching reality is the ICE platform is backed by over a century of innovations and improvements. True, EVs have been around for a very long time – in fact, Ferdinand Porsche’s first car  was electric – but they have lacked in range and convenience (long charging times and expensive to similarly featured ICE cars).

Now, EV proponents have fought back fiercely on the blogosphere, noting the battery pack costs have come down significantly, which they have. According to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, lithium-ion battery pack costs worldwide declined by over 85% between 2011 through 2020, utilizing projected estimates. Additionally, charging time is moot for those who charge at home while they’re sleeping. Plus, 30 minutes to charge to an adequate battery level at a supercharging station isn’t that big of a deal.

Well, it might not be a big deal for some drivers. But the supremacy of ICE cars comes in that these platforms – as polluting and inefficient as they are – are appropriately balanced for the needs of all drivers in virtually any reasonable condition.

It’s not a debatable point because you see it in the numbers. True, global EV sales have jumped from 580,000 units in 2015 to a projected 2.3 million units in 2020. But the growth rate between 2018 and estimated 2020 sales is only 10%. And EVs only represent a small fraction of all vehicles delivered worldwide.

What’s preventing EVs from wider adoption? The problem is based in economics and science. First, EVs are expensive. According to Edmunds.com, the lowest-cost EV you could have gotten this year was the 2020 Mini Cooper SE, which starts at around $30,000. True, manufacturers that meet specific criteria are eligible for federal subsidies. But even then, it’s still pricey considering the present fiscal environment. And what happens when those subsidies dry up?

There are other economic factors as well, such as value. Frankly, $30,000 is a lot of money to pay for a car that only has 110 miles of range. This segues into the science problem of contemporary EVs. Namely, lithium-ion batteries have a number of limitations, such as depth of discharge (which can greatly affect overall battery life) and rapid cycling limitations.

Put another way, lithium-ion batteries are best deployed under conditions where you don’t draw down energy too frequently, such as freeway cruising. But intensive city driving is impossible to avoid. Therefore, under the current EV paradigm, manufacturers will increase capacity to their premium model EVs by simply adding more battery infrastructure, which of course raises costs.

The smarter approach is to incorporate graphene in supercapacitors. Research has already begun in this department, as supercapacitors offer the advantage of high power output and the endurance of withstanding rapid charging/discharging without wearing out.

Unfortunately, supercapacitors have one critical disadvantage: low-energy density, which limits their overall range. However, First Graphene believes that this energy density dilemma is exacerbated by the limitations of current-generation materials. By incorporating graphene – specifically FGR’s high-quality, high-consistency graphene – into supercapacitor platforms, it’s reasonable to theorize that the company can help bring EVs to mainstream adoption.

Comprehensive Solutions for 21st Century Problems

Obviously, there’s more to life than electric vehicles and this is where the narrative underlying FGR stock is incredibly compelling. The other major area which has received substantial attention in 2020 is renewable energy.

This was already a hot-button topic leading up to the U.S. presidential election. In a year that already featured a once-in-a-century pandemic, we also saw record-breaking wildfires in the west coast. Various governors and elected officials blamed climate change and the alleged reluctance of the Trump administration to take the matter seriously as contributing catalysts.

Whatever the cause, there’s no denying that social paradigm shifts have occurred regarding environmental sustainability. According to a 2019 Quartz report, younger Americans “are willing to pay twice as much as their parents for clean energy.” Basically, the science of climate change may be subject to debate, but the economic relevance is not.

Therefore, it may not come as a shock that companies like NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE), Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE) and Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH) have been big winners in 2020. But for the green energy revolution to rise to the next level, the industry needs a cost-effective solution for battery storage systems.

While progress in renewable solutions have been impressive, the fact of the matter is that these energy sources are intermittent. For instance, if the sun isn’t up, solar panels aren’t useful for anything. And the only way to utilize energy during “active” times of the day is to harvest that energy for later use.

However, present battery storage systems are expensive, typically only offering enough juice to power an average-sized home for a few hours. But it’s not just storage that’s important. If we are to truly incorporate renewable energy into our society, we must be able to discharge that energy to accommodate spike demand requests, irrespective of underlying conditions.

This was one of the factors that contributed to this year’s rolling blackouts in California. According to Los Angeles Times staff writer Sammy Roth:

The immediate cause of the power shortages was the heat storm, which saw California experience four of its five hottest August days in the last 35 years, the analysis found. Temperature records were shattered across the American West, limiting the Golden State’s ability to make up for its energy deficit by importing electrons from other states.

One of the desirable attributes of graphene is its conductivity and remarkable resilience. Indeed, graphene “has been identified as a new, effective carbon-based fire retardancy additive that does not present any regulatory issues.” Therefore, the material incorporated into various platforms – whether EVs or power management systems – could theoretically usher in improvements in durability and flexibility that we haven’t seen in electric-based infrastructures.

By harnessing performance and capacity, First Graphene can facilitate commercially viable applications of next-generation energy solutions. Further, with partnerships such as the one with 2D Fluidics, First Graphene is on the cutting edge of developing advanced materials that could potentially replace spheronised graphite in anodes. If successful, this could catapult enhancements in energy storage applications, supercapacitors and lithium-ion battery anodes.

Beyond Electricity

But it’s not just the “digital” realm where FGR is pertinent. In our initial report featuring First Graphene, we mentioned that it partnered with newGen Group to forward graphene-based solutions for Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) and BHP Group (NYSE:BHP) to improve the durability of components used in the mining and material handling industries.

The results were very encouraging, with a materials analysis revealing First Graphene’s proprietary PureGRAPH material® “improved tensile strength while simultaneously resisting elongation and taber abrasion.” For prospective investors of FGR stock, the biggest takeaway here is that graphene not only enhances durability but also indirectly improves the environment by elongating product life, which inherently reduces waste.

And this dynamic is arguably best demonstrated through graphene’s additive potential in improving concrete infrastructures. Though we typically regard concrete as a tough material, it’s vulnerable to degradation, with water penetration being one of the main enemies of long-term stability. Of course, degraded concrete must be dealt with, contributing to the growing waste production problem.

If that wasn’t concerning enough, concrete is a surprising source of carbon dioxide emissions. True, much improvements have been made in this area, thanks to various manufacturing innovations that have mitigated average CO2 emissions per ton of concrete output. However, there’s a limitation to what traditional processes can do relative to a rising global population.

It’s not a debatable point because you see it in the numbers. True, global EV sales have jumped from 580,000 units in 2015 to a projected 2.3 million units in 2020. But the growth rate between 2018 and estimated 2020 sales is only 10%. And EVs only represent a small fraction of all vehicles delivered worldwide.

What’s preventing EVs from wider adoption? The problem is based in economics and science. First, EVs are expensive. According to Edmunds.com, the lowest-cost EV you could have gotten this year was the 2020 Mini Cooper SE, which starts at around $30,000. True, manufacturers that meet specific criteria are eligible for federal subsidies. But even then, it’s still pricey considering the present fiscal environment. And what happens when those subsidies dry up?

There are other economic factors as well, such as value. Frankly, $30,000 is a lot of money to pay for a car that only has 110 miles of range. This segues into the science problem of contemporary EVs. Namely, lithium-ion batteries have a number of limitations, such as depth of discharge (which can greatly affect overall battery life) and rapid cycling limitations.

Put another way, lithium-ion batteries are best deployed under conditions where you don’t draw down energy too frequently, such as freeway cruising. But intensive city driving is impossible to avoid. Therefore, under the current EV paradigm, manufacturers will increase capacity to their premium model EVs by simply adding more battery infrastructure, which of course raises costs.

The smarter approach is to incorporate graphene in supercapacitors. Research has already begun in this department, as supercapacitors offer the advantage of high power output and the endurance of withstanding rapid charging/discharging without wearing out.

Unfortunately, supercapacitors have one critical disadvantage: low-energy density, which limits their overall range. However, First Graphene believes that this energy density dilemma is exacerbated by the limitations of current-generation materials. By incorporating graphene – specifically FGR’s high-quality, high-consistency graphene – into supercapacitor platforms, it’s reasonable to theorize that the company can help bring EVs to mainstream adoption.

Comprehensive Solutions for 21st Century Problems

Obviously, there’s more to life than electric vehicles and this is where the narrative underlying FGR stock is incredibly compelling. The other major area which has received substantial attention in 2020 is renewable energy.

This was already a hot-button topic leading up to the U.S. presidential election. In a year that already featured a once-in-a-century pandemic, we also saw record-breaking wildfires in the west coast. Various governors and elected officials blamed climate change and the alleged reluctance of the Trump administration to take the matter seriously as contributing catalysts.

Whatever the cause, there’s no denying that social paradigm shifts have occurred regarding environmental sustainability. According to a 2019 Quartz report, younger Americans “are willing to pay twice as much as their parents for clean energy.” Basically, the science of climate change may be subject to debate, but the economic relevance is not.

Therefore, it may not come as a shock that companies like NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE), Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE) and Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH) have been big winners in 2020. But for the green energy revolution to rise to the next level, the industry needs a cost-effective solution for battery storage systems.

While progress in renewable solutions have been impressive, the fact of the matter is that these energy sources are intermittent. For instance, if the sun isn’t up, solar panels aren’t useful for anything. And the only way to utilize energy during “active” times of the day is to harvest that energy for later use.

However, present battery storage systems are expensive, typically only offering enough juice to power an average-sized home for a few hours. But it’s not just storage that’s important. If we are to truly incorporate renewable energy into our society, we must be able to discharge that energy to accommodate spike demand requests, irrespective of underlying conditions.

This was one of the factors that contributed to this year’s rolling blackouts in California. According to Los Angeles Times staff writer Sammy Roth:

The immediate cause of the power shortages was the heat storm, which saw California experience four of its five hottest August days in the last 35 years, the analysis found. Temperature records were shattered across the American West, limiting the Golden State’s ability to make up for its energy deficit by importing electrons from other states.

One of the desirable attributes of graphene is its conductivity and remarkable resilience. Indeed, graphene “has been identified as a new, effective carbon-based fire retardancy additive that does not present any regulatory issues.” Therefore, the material incorporated into various platforms – whether EVs or power management systems – could theoretically usher in improvements in durability and flexibility that we haven’t seen in electric-based infrastructures.

By harnessing performance and capacity, First Graphene can facilitate commercially viable applications of next-generation energy solutions. Further, with partnerships such as the one with 2D Fluidics, First Graphene is on the cutting edge of developing advanced materials that could potentially replace spheronised graphite in anodes. If successful, this could catapult enhancements in energy storage applications, supercapacitors and lithium-ion battery anodes.

Beyond Electricity

But it’s not just the “digital” realm where FGR is pertinent. In our initial report featuring First Graphene, we mentioned that it partnered with newGen Group to forward graphene-based solutions for Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) and BHP Group (NYSE:BHP) to improve the durability of components used in the mining and material handling industries.

The results were very encouraging, with a materials analysis revealing First Graphene’s proprietary PureGRAPH material® “improved tensile strength while simultaneously resisting elongation and taber abrasion.” For prospective investors of FGR stock, the biggest takeaway here is that graphene not only enhances durability but also indirectly improves the environment by elongating product life, which inherently reduces waste.

And this dynamic is arguably best demonstrated through graphene’s additive potential in improving concrete infrastructures. Though we typically regard concrete as a tough material, it’s vulnerable to degradation, with water penetration being one of the main enemies of long-term stability. Of course, degraded concrete must be dealt with, contributing to the growing waste production problem.

If that wasn’t concerning enough, concrete is a surprising source of carbon dioxide emissions. True, much improvements have been made in this area, thanks to various manufacturing innovations that have mitigated average CO2 emissions per ton of concrete output. However, there’s a limitation to what traditional processes can do relative to a rising global population.

Also, there’s a political element involved. Among developed nations, CO2 emissions from the manufacture of cementhave been generally stable over the past two decades. In fact, Japan saw a nearly 29% reduction in emissions per million metric tons between 2000 and 2018.

However, not every country is like Japan. For instance, India increased its CO2 emissions from cement manufacturing by nearly 172% over the aforementioned timeframe. And China was the biggest violator by far, seeing a 220% increase in emissions.

Given the current geopolitical tensions, it’s probably going to take more than diplomacy to convince other nations to reduce their CO2 emissions. But again, this is where First Graphene and its particular brand of graphene-based solutions can help. Through increased water resistance and improvements in structural rigidity, waste can be mitigated dramatically.

But the kicker is that with graphene-integrated concrete, builders won’t need as much material for their construction projects – we’re talking about a 50% reduction in some cases! Combined with cost efficiencies, this could be the gamechanger that the industry, indeed the world has been looking for.

A Promising Answer to Increasingly Complex Needs

To be sure, the graphene industry has a “Wild West” component to it in that it’s a frontier market. Without official standardization to define what graphene is yet, the market is filled to the brim with pretenders. Moreover, they’re given contender status simply on the basis of existing. Undoubtedly, this industry has low-hanging fruit that many organizations are exploiting.

But the beauty of First Graphene and FGR stock is that management is focused on delivering viable, sustainable solutions that can be scaled up to meet various application requests. Based on its many encouraging research projects, it could easily gin up the marketing machinery to claim vacuous benchmarks.

That’s not what this is about.

Rather, the focus from day one has been to deliver premium-grade graphene with industry-leading quality control. Essentially, First Graphene is building loyal business relationships, one client, one application at a time. After all, first to market doesn’t mean anything if the output is substandard.

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All information contained herein as well as on the EmergingGrowth.com website is obtained from sources believed to be reliable but not guaranteed to be accurate or all-inclusive. All material is for informational purposes only, is only the opinion of EmergingGrowth.com and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities. The information includes certain forward-looking statements, which may be affected by unforeseen circumstances and / or certain risks.  This report is not without bias. EmergingGrowth.com has motivation by means of either self-marketing or EmergingGrowth.com has been compensated by or for a company or companies discussed in this article. EmergingGrowth.com has been compensated thirty thousand dollars and one hundred thousand shares and twenty five thousand twenty five cent options of FGR in consideration for its work with First Graphene, Ltd. through the date this was published. EmergingGrowth.com may or may not receive additional compensation, details about which can be found in our full disclosure, which can be found here, https://emerginggrowth.com/279-743/.  You can easily lose money investing in highly speculative small cap stocks like the ones mentioned within. Please consult an investment professional before investing in anything viewed within. When EmergingGrowth.com is long shares it will sell those shares. In addition, please make sure you read and understand the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and the Disclosure posted on the EmergingGrowth.com website.