When Mo AlGermozi and Marciel Gaier manned their booth at the recent Atlantic Venture Forum, they handed all visitors a three-inch piece of black, plastic-like material and challenged them to break it.
It was graphene, a revolutionary new material that the two entrepreneurs are now producing in commercial quantities at their lab at Dalhousie University. They have discovered a new, economical way of producing graphene, and that’s the basis of their company, Graphite Innovation & Technologies Inc.
“We found a way to produce graphene 10 times cheaper than what’s out there,” said AlGermozi, a graduate of Dal who originally hails from Yemen.
The company began earlier this year when the two material engineers needed some graphene for a research project. Graphene is an unusual pattern of carbon atoms aligned in hexagonal hives to produce a light, durable material. It is 200 times stronger than steel and efficiently conducts heat and electricity. It was only identified and isolated in the past decade or so, so the commercial applications of graphene are in their infancy.
It’s also in high demand, so AlGermozi and Gaier experimented to see if they could make their own graphene for their project. They ended up discovering a way to produce high-quality graphene economically, and decided to spin this process into a new company.
Their production process is an environmentally friendly method that will allows mass production of graphene. Once they made the discovery, they set up a rudimentary production facility so that every day they produce about 50-70 grams of the substance. It’s enough to sell to a few customers and bring in some revenue, but the duo has bigger plans.