KUALA LUMPUR, 8th November 2016 – Industry-wide engagement and knowledge sharing is the focus of Graphene Malaysia 2016 – a two-day event featuring talks and presentations by some of the world’s best in the graphene field.
The international conference, which is being held for the first time in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region, presents some of the most relevant and current topics on graphene, including graphene production; applications of graphene and related materials; metrology, characterisation and standardisation; and funding and infrastructure support – thus making it ideal for participants currently working on graphene or planning to include the material in their products.
Graphene Malaysia 2016, which begins today offers participants the opportunity to interact, exchange ideas, network and form commercial collaborations with graphene leaders and specialists from the world over including the US, the UK, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Sweden and Italy. Held concurrently as the conference is an exhibition showcasing the latest products, services and technology in the graphene field. Exhibitors include RGS Corporation Sdn. Bhd., ASEPTEC Sdn. Bhd., Anton Paar Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., Metrohm Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Quasi-S Pte. Ltd., LabAlliance Sdn. Bhd., aNexus Pte. Ltd., MIMOS Semiconductor Sdn. Bhd., Nexus Analytics, Grafoid Inc. and QuantumWise. Speakers include Archana Venugopal (Texas Instruments, USA), Professor Won Jong Yoo (Samsung-SKKU Graphene-2D Center, South Korea), Vickneswaran Veloo (Scomi Chemicals), Krzysztof Koziol (FGV-Cambridge Nanosystems, UK) and Pontus Nordin (SAAB, Sweden).
Graphene Malaysia 2016 is launched under the aegis of the National Graphene Action Plan 2020 spearheaded by NanoMalaysia Berhad. The global event is supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Ministry International Trade and Industry.
Launched in 2014, the National Graphene Action Plan 2020 is the result of an extensive collaboration between the Malaysian government, private sector companies, domestic and international research institutes, and academia to assess how the country can benefit from the potential of graphene. The plan is aimed at exploring the material’s downstream economic potential in five priority focus areas. These include lithium-ion battery anodes and ultracapacitors, rubber additives, nanofluids (drilling fluids and lubricants), conductive inks, and plastic additives.
Collectively these applications have the potential to contribute to achieving additional gross national income impact of more than RM20 billion and to help create 9,000 new jobs for these industries in Malaysia by 2020.
Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Panglima Madius Tangau said the government plays a critical role in establishing and encouraging commercial graphene project development activities. “This starts by building awareness about graphene, its versatility and potential applications to Malaysian industry. The opportunities afforded by the potential of graphene are tremendous.”
“Graphene-enhanced lithium-ion batteries, for example, can support the domestic production of electric and hybrid vehicles where battery performance is one of the main challenges in producing cost-effective and reliable vehicles. Graphene-enabled conductive inks provide a cost advantage (input and manufacturing) to radio frequency identification (RFID) applications, and eventually might be applicable to photovoltaics and printed circuits,” he added.
Establishing a complete graphene ecosystem, which will then drive collaborations and innovations, is therefore key, says Madius. He adds that the government is taking big steps in laying the foundation for this ecosystem.
“To this end Graphene Malaysia 2016 is not only timely in generating awareness but it is also a call to action for Malaysian companies,” says the minister.
Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed in his keynote address said: “The national investment promotion agency under MITI, MIDA supports the National Graphene Action Plan 2020 and is engaged in providing the guidance and support to NanoMalaysia, especially infacilitating companies to look into the business potential of graphene. To date, 50 companies have been working closely with MIDA and NanoMalaysia to explore the applications of graphene as a product enhancer in their respective sectors.”
“Given Malaysia’s comparative and competitive advantages, particularly in having a strong manufacturing foundation, we have the opportunity to become one of the early leaders in adopting graphene. We need to act fast to seize the moment. Graphene certainly holds many untapped potentials and Malaysia is committed to assisting companies and industries to innovate with graphene. To show that we are serious about translating innovation to wealth, we have provided tax breaks and facilitate funding for R&D related activities. MIDA offers R&D incentive programmes that can be enjoyed by manufacturers with in-house R&D facility or research service providers.”
The appointment of NanoMalaysia Berhad as the lead agency is to facilitate and monitor execution through awareness building and convening players to create projects, expanding the scope of existing funding sources to include graphene, as well as building and vetting a network of graphene experts and maintaining a list of available graphene suppliers.
Graphene – a single-atom thick layer of graphite first isolated in the UK in 2004 –is described as the strongest (200 times stronger than steel), thinnest and most stretchable crystal as well as the best electrical conductor known to man. It holds significant promise in replacing conventional semiconductor materials such as silicon, and has fittingly been dubbed by the scientific community as a “wonder material”.
Intense commercialisation of graphene-based technology is presently ongoing in developed countries, and the market is expected to growth significantly – with forecasts ranging between some US$150 million and US$280 million by 2020. The graphene market in Asia Pacific is projected to record the fastest growth rate globally thanks to the region’s growing manufacturing sectors, competitive labour costs and increasing graphene-based application patents.
NanoMalaysia’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Rezal Khairi Ahmad said graphene is presently still early in its development cycle, thus affording Malaysian companies time to develop their own applications instead of relying on international intellectual property and licences.
“At this point, timing is the key determinant in making sure Malaysian companies has the first mover advantage to enable them to move up the value chain and gaining access to the global market,” he says. He adds that since the launch of the National Graphene Action Plan 2020 in July 2014, there are 19 companies undertaking graphene product development projects and two scale-up of manufacturing prospects in Malaysia.
“Apart from benefiting from the physical properties of the material, Malaysian downstream application providers may also capture the benefits of a modest input cost advantage for the domestic production of graphene. It is against such a scenario that we hope that Graphene Malaysia 2016 will provide the ideal platform for industry participation and the sharing of intelligence across the graphene field,” he added.
Graphene Malaysia 2016 is jointly organised by NanoMalaysia and Phantoms Foundation. NanoMalaysia was incorporated in 2011 as a company limited by guarantee under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to act as a business entity entrusted with nanotechnology commercialisation activities. Madrid-based Phantoms Foundation is a non-profit organisation, which focuses its activities on nanoscience and nanotechnology and is now a key player in structuring and fostering European excellence and enhancing collaborations in these fields.