First Graphene Limited (ASX:FGR) Non-Executive Chairman, Warwick Grigor talks about the company's first commercial scale order for its PureGRAPH range of specialist graphene.
Anna Napoli: Hi. I’m Anna Napoli for the Finance News Network and joining me now from First Graphene (ASX:FGR) is Non-Executive Chairman, Warwick Grigor. Warwick, welcome to FNN.
Warwick Grigor: Thank you Anna.
Anna Napoli: Graphene can be used in a range of applications, including building materials, energy and transport. What makes graphene so special?
Warwick Grigor: Graphene is an advanced material. It’s a nanomaterial. It’s the smallest known material to man. It is used as an additive for many other materials only in concentrations of less than one per cent. But every time it is added it greatly enhances the original properties of the material you’re putting it into. It’s the thinnest known material to man, down to one atom thick. It gives best thermal conductivity, best electrical conductivity. It is just quite an amazing carbon material. It’s going to revolutionise so many other materials that it goes into.
Anna Napoli: Warwick, can you tell us about your order with newGen Group, starting with the size and the value of the order?
Warwick Grigor: It’s a purchase order for 2,000 kilograms of our high-grade PureGRAPH product. That is worth in excess of half a million dollars. Now before we can actually turn that sales order into an actual order, we’ve got a few government clearances to get through. So there may be 20 days, there might be 60 days of approvals but the cash will come in from that throughout 2019. So what it is, it’s newGen Group saying we love this graphene, we love what it does to our products and we want it and we’re going to start delivering it to our clients. So they’re getting in the queue to get their orders in early.
So it’s very significant. It’s the largest commercial sale of graphene on record anywhere in the world and the price is a premium price which debunks the myth that people have been saying that graphene is expensive. It’s not expensive given the benefits that it offers.
Anna Napoli: What are some of the applications of that newGen Group order?
Warwick Grigor: That will be going into liners, polymer liners for mining equipment. Wherever you have hard rock on steel, wherever you have hard materials that you suffer abrasion from, the polymer lining will help provide that equipment with longer life. At the moment every six months you need to replace these liners. But with the use of graphene you’re going to extend that life to nine months, maybe 12 months. We don’t know exactly how long other than all the tests show that it’s going to extend that life.
Anna Napoli: What’s the significance for First Graphene of the order?
Warwick Grigor: Well it vindicates our whole strategy. Bulk graphene, high quality, standardisation, good control of what we are showing to the market. No one has done this before. The significance to us is that we’ve been concentrating on getting a commercial product, meeting those standards, rather than telling everyone how good we are. But the significance for us today is well we can now actually prove how good we are.
Anna Napoli: Warwick, can you tell me more about your collaboration with the university sector?
Warwick Grigor: We’ve been dealing with Swinburne, Flinders, Adelaide Universities and they’ve been very good as we’ve been going through the journey over the last two or three years. But we’ve actually graduated to the number one graphene university in the world, being University of Manchester. We’ve joined a Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) facility as a tier one partner. That means we will have our own laboratory and offices in the university.
We will install one of our graphene manufacturing cells in that university. In the public area where we will be the provider of bulk graphene to companies such as British Aerospace (LON:BA), BP Oil Company (LON:BP), any other big partners in industry that are working with the university. It puts us in a position where we’ve got access to 250 researchers in graphene and the best most advanced measuring equipment. Basically, we’re in the heart of graphene.
Anna Napoli: I believe you’re actually off to Manchester University shortly, for the official opening of the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Warwick Grigor: Next week is the official opening, obviously that’ll be a highly promoted focal point for British industry. The Centre itself cost £60 million. And where it differs from other university facilities anywhere in the world is they’ve actually gone out to get industry engineers to get them to work beside scientists to actually get the graphene in industry. We’ll arrive there next week saying ‘we’re already doing it so we may be able to give you a few more ideas’.
Anna Napoli: There were rumours of a royal opening for the Centre. Is that correct?
Warwick Grigor: Yes, I believe Prince Andrew is going to be there, so we’ve got the royal blessing.
Anna Napoli: Last question Warwick. Is there anything else you’d like to share with investors?
Warwick Grigor: Yes I’d like to share our optimism for 2019. We’ve got our first commercial sales order. As the months roll by into the New Year, we will be announcing additional sales orders in different product verticals. And by this time next year we could well be break even and looking forward to a very powerful growth curve thereafter.
Anna Napoli: Warwick Grigor, thank you for the update.
Warwick Grigor: It’s my pleasure Anna.