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A focus on sustainability: Green Graphene

By now, most of us are familiar with Graphene, the wonder material discovered at the University of Manchester back in 2004. For those who need a reminder, Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a two-dimensional nanostructure. It’s the first one-atom thick 2D material ever discovered, yet it’s one of the strongest materials in the world. 

Graphene is undeniably a ground-breaking material; however, the way it’s manufactured proves to be a little problematic in terms of sustainability. One method of production is called Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD), which involves a catalyst -- usually a foil of Copper placed into a furnace and heated to the appropriate temperature, typically under a Methane and Hydrogen gas environment -- which causes Graphene to form on the Copper substrate. 

What’s the problem?

Methane is the main contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone and is an extremely potent greenhouse gas. Over a 20-year period, it has 80 times the warming power of Carbon Dioxide. Methane has also been accountable for around 30% of global warming since pre-industrial times. It’s currently proliferating faster than at any time since record keeping began in the 1980s. 

With this in mind, even using Methane during the production of Graphene has a negative effect on the environment. Methods that don’t include releasing more Methane into the atmosphere are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

The green solution

Over the past few years, Goodfellow has offered an alternative to the standard Graphene product in the form of Ultra-Pure Green Graphene, which features as part of our Green Production range. This product is produced via a highly scalable process that involves breaking down Methane gas into Hydrogen and Carbon atoms in a plasma reactor. The Carbon atoms then recombine into Graphene sheets in the Hydrogen atmosphere, without the use of catalysts. 

The elapsed time from the Methane gas entering the plasma reactor to when Graphene is formed is less than a second. The speed and cost-effectiveness of the green method of mass production show great promise for future availability and sustainability in a wide range of industries. 

Converting a powerful greenhouse gas such as Methane into an environmentally friendly product is a strong step forward in the global effort to become more sustainable. For more information on Goodfellow’s Green Graphene and the products available to you, get in touch with a member of the team today by emailing info@goodfellow.com