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GRAPHENE 3D LAB ANNOUNCES LETTER TO SHAREHOLDERS WITH OBJECTIVES FOR 2017
Graphene 3D Lab Inc. is providing its shareholders with a summary of its primary objectives for the upcoming year, as well as highlights of achievements in 2016.
In 2017, the company plans to grow on the solid foundation built in 2016, and continue to establish itself as a prominent advanced materials company and a leading graphene provider. The primary goal for 2017 is to take advantage of the company's cutting-edge IP (intellectual property) portfolio, and expand the offerings in industrial-grade graphene materials, coatings and composites. The company will continue to expand its commercial product offering and build strategic relationships with research institutions and partners from high-tech industries, including energy storage, automotive, robotics, aerospace, oil and gas, and water purification, as well as protective coatings and defence.
One of the key focus areas of 2017 will be to develop the next-generation graphene-enhanced lithium-ion batteries. This ambitious project, if successful, will result in the creation of a battery that will produce significantly higher power with similar energy density when compared with current lithium-ion batteries. These high performance batteries are critical for the future progress in mobile robotics, power tools, electrical vehicles and drones.
Highlights of 2016
In 2016, the company set out to expand and diversify its presence in the advanced materials space. Key achievements in the year toward this goal included: adding to its production and R&D (research and development) capabilities, establishing a new division, expanding its IP portfolio, developing new materials, strengthening its team with industry experts, and forming valuable business partnerships.
Industrial materials division: While the company has primarily focused on 3-D printing and research-grade materials as initial market entry points, the company now is aggressively seeking an opportunity to lower the production cost of graphene and address larger market opportunities. There is a strong level of interest in graphene products with exceptional properties across a broad spectrum of industries. To take advantage of this market opportunity, the company established its industrial materials division on March 26, 2016. Since its inception, several new materials have been developed, such as an ultralight graphene foam (potential uses in oils and solvents absorption) and graphene composite material G6-Impact.
2016 collaborations and partnerships: A substantial milestone achieved in the year of 2016 was signing a memorandum of understanding with Stony Brook University. This partnership will provide the company with access to the university's state-of-the-art research facilities to develop a next-generation lithium-ion battery.
The company also formed a joint production collaboration with Toner Plastics Inc. to expand its manufacturing capabilities for larger volumes and size ranges of 3-D printing filaments. The arrangement has also allowed for changes at the company's own facility, which has expanded its production capabilities for graphene nanoplatelets and has ensured that it now has sufficient production capacity to meet internal requirements for graphene for the company's complete product line.
In 2016, the company completed the integration of the operations of Graphene Laboratories Inc. (acquisition completed in December, 2015). Through this transaction, the company gained access to an impressive customer base and a consistent revenue stream through sales of high-profit-margin R&D graphene and other advanced materials.
The company also continued working with its Fortune 500 partner as announced on Nov. 24, 2015 (confidentiality agreement prevents disclosure the name of the partner). The goal of the collaborative project is to develop a novel graphene-based product using the resources and expertise of the company.
According to this agreement, all R&D expenses were to be handled by the Fortune 500 partner, as well as a first right of refusal granted to the company for supply of any graphene-related materials in future manufacturing and royalty obligations pertaining to any goods sold relating to intellectual property developed under the agreement. All IP developed under the scope of the agreement will be jointly held by both parties. At the moment, the company completed the first stage of the project and is waiting on the internal evaluation of the Fortune 500 partner for the next stage.
The revenue stream from this project can only be realized after commercialization of the new product and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is not guaranteed and could take an unspecified amount of time. Nevertheless, the company considers the research agreement as an important development because it allows the company to build a long-lasting relationship with industry leaders. The management of the company considers establishing such partnerships as an imperative for the company's strategic growth and will continue to look for similar rewarding opportunities.
In 2016, the company introduced several unique graphene products, such as graphene aerogel, which is in the class of ultralight materials and has the density of approximately 20 milligrams per cubic metre (which is only about 17 times heavier than air). This new material can remarkably hold up to 3,500 per cent to 8,000 per cent of its own weight of organic solvents and oils, while being unaffected by water. A potential application for this product could be in minimizing the damage caused by oil spills.
The company also continued to expand its portfolio of 3-D printing materials. Several new products have been introduced, such as the Scorpion flexible nylon, which was brought to market in March, 2016. This material offers outstanding mechanical performance of the 3-D-printed parts. The flexible nylon filament was well received by the 3-D printing community. In the independent review of emerging 3-D printing materials done by re3D, the material received an excellent evaluation.
Another addition to the family of 3-D printing materials with improved mechanical performance was graphene-carbon fibre composite (G6-Impact). This material exhibits outstanding vibration damping performance. The need for vibration damping manifests itself when 3-D printing is used for manufacturing. The mechanical components are assembled from multiple parts and held together by fasteners, which also play a role in damping unwanted vibration. Three-dimensional printing offers an effective way of manufacturing the mechanical parts as a single piece, thereby reducing the labour costs. However, the structural component built in this way would suffer from the destructive power of undesirable vibration. The purpose of the G6-Impact material is to resolve this issue. The company filed a provisional patent application summarizing the recipe and method of preparation of the material.
The company also expanded its line of conductive composites in response to the multiple requests from its customers who were looking for flexible 3-D printing materials by developing flexible conductive thermoplastic polyurethane. This highly flexible product is ideal for applications involving flexible sensors, electromagnetic/radio-frequency shielding, flexible conductive traces and electrodes to be used in wearable electronics.
3-D printer hardware
On Dec. 3, 2015, the company announced Romulus III, the prototype of functional 3-D printer capable of printing a working OLED (organic light-emitting diode) device. The motivation for this development was to demonstrate the benefits of functional 3-D printing and the capabilities of Graphene 3D's research team in the development of novel 3-D printing materials. Upon careful consideration, the management decided not to pursue further internal development of the functional 3-D printer hardware and stayed focused within the company's core expertise in advanced materials. The company is currently seeking partnerships with manufacturers of specialty 3-D printers suitable for functional 3-D printing and will keep shareholders informed on the progress made on this front.
Changes in management
The company also underwent significant board and management changes in 2016 by bringing on board industry experts. While it received valuable contributions from those who moved on during the year, the company believes that the new members of the board and management will be important components of its long-term vision. The following changes had occurred:
John (Gary) Dyal and Paul Gill joined the board. Mr. Dyal was appointed as the board chairman.
Ian Klassen and Robert Coultura, who were the members of the board in Matnic Resources Inc., the company that was acquired in a reverse takeover, left the board.
Rob Scott and Jeff Dare joined the management team in the capacity of chief financial officer and corporate secretary. These appointments come with the departure of Robert Randall from the role of Graphene 3-D CFO, and Mr. Klassen as chief operating officer and corporate secretary.
New chairman of the board: Mr. Dyal is a recognized leader in the commercialization of nanotechnology and graphene-related products. He brings over 35 years of manufacturing and technology experience to the company. Mr. Dyal currently serves as vice-president of Cryo Pure Corp., an international company that packages and distributes industrial/ultrahigh-purity specialty gases, chemicals, cryogenics and cryogenic chemical delivery equipment. Prior to his co-founding of Cryo Pure, Mr. Dyal was the director of marketing and sales for CVD Equipment Corp., a company that designs, develops and manufactures a broad range of state-of-the-art graphene manufacturing equipment and process solutions for research and industrial applications. Mr. Dyal was responsible for global sales of R&D products related to graphene, carbon nanotubes, semiconducting nanowires, 2-D materials and thin films for research laboratories.
New CFO: Robert Scott, CPA, CA, CFA, brings more than 20 years of professional experience in corporate finance, accounting, and merchant and commercial banking. Mr. Scott earned his CFA in 2001, his CA designation in 1998 and has a BSc from the University of British Columbia. He is a founder and president of Corex Management Inc., a private company that provides accounting, administration and corporate compliance services to both privately held and publicly traded companies. Mr. Scott has a strong record of running cost-effective operations as he has served on the management teams and boards of numerous Canadian publicly traded companies. Mr. Scott has also listed several companies on the TSX Venture Exchange, gaining extensive initial public offering, reverse takeover, regulatory and reporting experience. He currently serves as the CFO of Riverside Resources Inc. and Nickel One Resources Inc., as well as being a board member of Genesis Metals Corp. and Mongolia Growth Group Ltd.
New corporate secretary: Mr. Dare has over eight years of professional experience with respect to managing external reporting and corporate compliance for TSX Venture Exchange-listed issuers. He currently serves as the corporate secretary for Riverside Resources, Kivalliq Energy Corp., Nickel One Resources, Bluestone Resources Inc. and Corex Management Inc., a private administration company. At Corex Management, he also advises a number of private companies that span through different industries and jurisdictions. Mr. Dare works closely with external partners and service providers in the areas of legal, compliance, transfer agency, audit, banking and insurance. Mr. Dare earned a BA from Simon Fraser University and has completed the Canadian Securities Course.
New director: Mr. Gill has extensive experience in restructuring organizations. He currently holds titles as the CEO of Lomiko Metals, CEO of Lomiko Technologies and a director of Graphene ESD. Until October, 2006, Mr. Gill was heavily involved in the dynamic growth stage of Norsemont Mining, where he helped take the market capitalization from $1-million to $50-million. Mr. Gill held various roles throughout his tenure with Norsemont Mining, where he served as the vice-president of business development, as well as the director, president and CEO, CFO and corporate secretary.
In 2017, the company intends to focus on advancing graphene materials toward commercialization. Management strongly believes that the company is at the turning point and has the potential for rapid growth in the near future. More specific objectives include:
Accelerate R&D in energy storage sector, and develop a prototype of lithium-ion battery and prove its superiority to the commercial counterparts;
Expand production capacity and lower price of graphene materials;
Grow the company's business development team and establish collaboration with a number of large industrial organizations;
Expand product line in 3-D printing space;
Offer new innovative materials by incorporating graphene into polymers and resins with focus applications in defence, aerospace, transportation, energy and construction;
Expand the company's IP portfolio.
The company's team is highly motivated and ready to implement the long-term vision for success. The company's management strives for excellence and is committed to increasing the long-term shareholder value.
About Graphene 3D Lab
Graphene 3D Lab is a world leader in the development, manufacturing and marketing of proprietary composites and coatings based on graphene and other advanced materials.
Previously, it was thought too expensive to manufacture graphene. Now, physicists from Kansas State University may have found a way to mass produce graphene cheaply, and all it takes are three easy steps and uses only three simple materials: hydrocarbon gas, oxygen, and a spark plug.
The method, which lead inventor Chris Sorensen had already applied and received a patent for, uses a contained detonation of carbon-containing materials. Basically, you put oxygen and acetylene or ethylene gas in a chamber, where the contained detonation using a spark plug is supposed to occur. After detonation, graphene is formed and the process is simple, low-cost, and could easily be scaled up for industrial use.
“We have discovered a viable process to make graphene,” Sorensen said. “Our process has many positive properties, from the economic feasibility, the possibility for large-scale production and the lack of nasty chemicals. What might be the best property of all is that the energy required to make a gram of graphene through our process is much less than other processes because all it takes is a single spark.”
Aside from this, Sorensen’s method produces graphene by bulk, so to speak. “The real charm of our experiment is that we can produce graphene in the quantity of grams rather than milligrams,” researcher Arjun Nepal said.
It seems simple even for me to understand. The cylinder isn't that big and produces 7.4 grams of Graphene. And the document says it can be scaled up to produce 300 grams an hour. So you could have a factory of nothing more complicated than an internal combustion cylinder with thousands of these things running producing graphene tonnes of graphene a day very cheap.
So if the data is correct. It does sound pretty great.
The investment question is who will take the risk of building that factory betting on this being best method?
Some of the uses of graphene depend on the possibility that it can occur as a single molecule in the form of a sheet just one atom deep. It's possible to cover the same area with many molecules that are much smaller. The molecules will overlap so the thickness will be greater in places, and non-uniform. There are other methods for making this lesser form of graphene, which is sold for less than the mono-molecular sheets. This new method might be make it cheaper still.
Now the research team — including Justin Wright, doctoral student in physics, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania — is working to improve the quality of the graphene and scale the laboratory process to an industrial level. They are upgrading some of the equipment to make it easier to get graphene from the chamber in seconds — rather than minutes — after the detonation. Accessing the graphene more quickly could improve the quality of the material, Sorensen said.