China / Regions

Qingdao: striving to be pacemaker in industrialization of graphene

( Updated: 2016-10-12 10:27

The 2016 International Graphene Conference opened on Sept 22 in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province. And once again, Andre Geim, who first managed to isolate graphene in 2004, took part in the conference.

Just one day before the conference, a plant jointly invested in by Geim and two local companies began construction in Laixi, a county-level city in Qingdao.

With registered capital of 70 million yuan ($10.5 million), the plant is designed to produce graphene composites after it begins operations in the first half of 2017.

Graphene, an allotrope of carbon in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale, honey-comb lattice, is the world's strongest and lightest known material. A single layer of graphene is only 0.335 nanometers thick and can conduct heat and electricity.

The material was first isolated and characterized in 2004 by Andre Geim and Konstantin Noveselov at the University of Manchester. The achievement won them the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Experts said with its high levels of conductivity and flexibility, graphene is set to revolutionize many industries, including sensors, batteries, conductors, electronics, solar panels, energy generation and biological products.

Qingdao is striving to set the pace in the industrialization of graphene.

The sailing city is richly endowed with natural resources, including graphite, from which graphene is extracted.

As one of the three main graphite-producing areas of China, Qingdao accounts for 22 percent of the national graphite mineral reserves.

Pingdu and Laixi, two county-level cities in Qingdao, both have vast deposits of high quality graphite which are easily exploitable and very suitable for the production of graphene.

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