GMG product

The world needs more batteries – this clean-tech company is developing a new solution

From humble beginnings, GMG’s vision and tenacity are paying off

Last updated: 31 October 2023


Craig Nicol is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Graphene Manufacturing Group LTD (GMG), a listed clean-technology company that's developed a unique process to produce highly tunable, pure graphene – a material they’re using to develop fast-charging, long-lasting and heat-resistant graphene aluminium-ion batteries.

“Those were some challenging days where we were trying to work out how this was going to manufacture graphene and evolve into a company. There were 5 of us – 4 engineers and a finance expert – and we didn't have enough money for an office. So, we’d meet at the local McDonald's restaurant to review the data together and find a way forward. The kids’ party room was our make-do board room.

Graphene Manufacturing Group - partnering to develop graphene aluminium ion batteries

We were trying to find a new way to make graphene, which we believed would be the next nanomaterial to change the world, using natural gas and a small amount of electricity.

In the early days, we had nothing but a shed. They were tough days. We’d go home every day, and our families would ask us: ‘Did you make graphene today?’. The pressure was immense. But we had to go through that to get to where we are now.

More than seven years of learning helped us evolve into the listed company we are today. GMG is a disruptive clean-technology company, and we succeeded with our goal: a new, better way to make graphene and a product portfolio of energy savings and energy storage solutions.

But what we learned through that process is part of our DNA. We try to understand things with a line of inquiry that maybe what science and engineering have taught us isn't correct. We keep going based on what the data and outcomes tell us.

Craig Nicol is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Graphene Manufacturing Group
Craig Nicol is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Graphene Manufacturing Group LTD (GMG)

What is graphene and why is GMG’s graphene different?

Most people have heard of graphite – it’s the product in pencils used to make writing. It is a mined ore.

Graphene is a tiny (nano) carbon particle that, when layered together, forms graphite. While the two are related, they have different properties. Graphene is the strongest material known to humankind and an efficient conductor of heat and electricity.

GMG team

"Graphene is the next nano material that will change the world in ways that we don't even understand right now," says Craig Nicol, GMG’s Chief Executive Officer.

"It’s normally derived through mining graphite. And then it's typically taken to a laboratory or plant and then acid washed or stripped.

"We make our graphene from natural gas using a plasma to separate the carbon and hydrogen atoms, and then we isolate the graphene.

"And hydrogen is a by-product of our process, so when we eventually scale up, we’ll be a large producer of hydrogen too.

"Every graphene is different. And depending on how it’s produced it can have different properties. At GMG, we have developed ways to make tuneable different grades of graphene.

"We've found through hundreds of experiments that our graphene is very good at lubrication, heat transfer and ion storage – which is what you use it for in batteries.

"Those 3 applications have the potential to reduce energy costs and emissions and create a next-generation battery."

Our graphene coating, THERMAL-XR®, increases the heat transfer of equipment and can be applied to air conditioners or solar cells to improve energy efficiency, reduce running costs and emissions. In simple terms: it moves the heat faster without the need for energy input. You're not supposed to be able to coat metal and make it cooler. That's like putting on a sweater and being colder. But our graphene technology does.

GMG product

We’re also developing our graphene aluminium-ion battery technology. Our testing has shown a range of benefits – our battery is fast to charge and discharge, and it has a high energy density, which means it is comparable to lithium batteries. There’s very little risk of fire so it’s safe and it is likely that it won't require cooling, and it has a long life – it will last many thousands of cycles. This means, it’s well suited as a diesel engine replacement in mining fleets or for storing electricity for renewables, as just two examples. And since it's largely made of aluminium and graphene it’s very easy to recycle. And our way of making the graphene creates hydrogen as a byproduct. From a sustainability point of view, the technology can help reduce emissions while also having a potential negative carbon footprint.

GMG employee

We’ve proven the science works, and now we’re working with partners such as Rio Tinto and The University of Queensland to scale up. There’s still a lot of work ahead. We’re aiming to build a proof of concept so that companies will then be able to talk to their equipment suppliers about using this technology.

The end goal is to have a positive impact: the world needs more batteries, and a lot of technologies need to be in the race because many different applications need different batteries– Unfortunately, batteries are not as versatile as petrol and diesel. and we believe GMG has a technology that could deliver the next generation battery with the versatility the world desperately needs.

When I was growing up, my family and I would talk about the environmental problems facing the world, but I never felt worried. I’ve always believed there’s no problem that humankind can’t solve. I still think that's true today – it just takes time and patience. You have to keep going until it's done.

If you’re lucky, in your life you get to work on one thing that's special. This is it for me.”

About GMG

GMG is a listed clean-technology-focused company which aims to offer energy-saving products and solutions and energy storage products, enabled by graphene manufactured in-house via a proprietary production process. GMG developed and proved its proprietary production process to produce GMG Graphene from natural gas (methane), not from mined graphite. This process produces high quality, low input costs, scalable, tuneable and low contaminant graphene suitable for use in clean-technology applications.

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