In a breakthrough for the $US450 billion per annum concrete market, advanced materials technology play Talga Resources has produced a graphene-infused concrete which conducts electricity.
Initial tests from the company’s graphene-graphite research and development laboratory in the UK has shown the concrete is highly electrically conductive adding a potential ‘heating element’ function to the world’s largest volume construction material.
Current applications include underfloor heating (replacing plumbed hot water-based installations), anti-static flooring, EMI shielding, strain sensors and grounding/lightning protection.
There is also an emerging application in solid-state heated roads for environmentally friendly way of clearing ice and snow from key transport routes and airports when compared to use of ploughs, corrosive salt, de-icing chemicals and wastewater treatment of runoff.
Future potential also includes role in dynamic and wireless charging of electric vehicles while driving.
The initial test results show that Talga’s graphene-enhanced concrete achieves such high electrical conductivity that it can act like the heating element of an electric stove,” said Talga Managing Director Mark Thompson.
“This type of concrete has some exciting and large volume applications, and in some cases can combine with our thermally conductive concrete.
“Furthermore, the conductivity is achieved with a very low loading of our graphene, but a larger amount of ore processing by-products, providing maximum potential for the most cost effective, scalable and eco-friendly development options.
Mr Thompson said Talga’s successful tests follow work published by Exeter University showing 146% improvement in concrete strength using graphene.
“They estimated that a 50% reduction of cement used for the same strength concrete would result in a 446kg/tonne reduction in carbon emissions by the cement industry, currently the third-largest industrial energy consumer and second largest industrial CO2 emitter in the world,” he said.
“Talga is encouraged by these first tests and will move to take the prototype results to potential development partners in the world’s largest construction industry material.”
The company currently has an MoU with the world’s second largest concrete manufacturer, Heidelberg Cement, focussed on thermally conductive concrete, but is free to explore other market opportunities.
Talga is currently recruiting a European based commercial team, that will include construction sector and concrete market experience, to use these test results in commercialisation discussions with a range of industrial partners.
Shares in Talga closed at 69c.