Perpetuus: The Second Largest Graphene Producer

Graphene is a material with remarkable properties that has attracted the attention of starry-eyed investors who are dreaming up all kinds of potential disruptive applications such as advanced materials, solar cells, touch screens, and 3D printing. Quite a number of “graphene producing” startups have popped up including the first graphene IPO last year from Applied Graphene Materials (LON:AGM) which hasn’t made much progress. One graphene producer which claims to be among the world’s largest is UK-based Perpetuus.

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Perpetuus Advanced Materials was founded by John Buckland and later joined by Ian Walters who also founded one of the UK’s first graphene makers, top-down producer Haydale which had an IPO last year. Perpetuus has independently verified the production capability of a single reactor at 140 tons per year.  Perpetuus is the only company we’re aware of that has independently verified not only their production capacity but also their production quality.

With talks about a price point around $75 a kilo, we can extrapolate the numbers out to an estimate of $9,523,500 per reactor in potential revenues given that all the graphene produced is sold. In early 2015, the Company is expected to commission three new reactors with enhanced technical and production capacity and move into new premises. Of course, they would have to then sell all that graphene in a market where there are quite a few competitors that can supply graphene by the ton:

  •  XG Sciences can produce 80 tons per year of graphene nanoplatelets at a cost of $40 – $50 kg for tonnage quantities.
  • Vorbeck has a 40 ton per year graphene production capability since October 2012.
  • Applied Graphene Materials (LON:AGM) can produce one ton per year with plans to develop a much larger 30-50 ton per year production unit that will cost between $12-16 million.
  • Directa Plus has a 30 ton per year capacity.
  • Angstron’s annual production volume is 300 metric tons per year with plans to expand capacity to 1300 metric tons per year by Q4 of 2015.

With just a single reactor, Perpetuus has the second-largest graphene production facility in the world according to our most recent numbers. However, being one of the world’s biggest producers of graphene means nothing if you can’t sell it. The ability to sell graphene in tonnage quantities will depend on strong demand. Demand will be a function of products being developed that utilize the superior properties of graphene. Publicly traded graphene producer Applied Graphene Materials (LON:AGM) has passed out many samples and is now waiting for large orders. What if those orders don’t come? So far Perpetuus has 200 customer orders of their graphenes for R&D purposes from customers in Japan, Korea, the EU, and the U.S.A.

Just last month, Perpetuus announced an exclusive commercial agreement with Heraeus, a leading international precious metals and technology group. Heraeus has already tested and solicited customer feedback for the Perpetuus graphene-based inks, the most conductive graphene inks in the world. These inks will be sold as alternatives to existing silver and copper-based inks and pastes currently being sold by Heraeus. Production of these inks has already begun. The Board at Perpetuus made the following statement regarding the agreement:

The Perpetuus Board believes that this agreement, combining advanced nano materials supplied by Perpetuus with Heraeus’ ability to manufacture inks and pastes on a large scale, represents the first global mass-market commercial application for plasma functionalized nano carbon enabled technologies.

Other applications in electronics include a polymer coating that Perpetuus has developed which includes nano surface-engineered graphenes and which is a viable alternative to indium tin oxide (‘ITO’). The latest news from Perpetuus was that a Japanese graphene manufacturer called Graphene Platform plans to purchase their reactor and then pay royalties on the graphene produced.

Given the founder already has one successful liquidity event under his belt with Haydale, it seems likely that is the same direction he will try to take with Perpetuus. The Company seems quite vocal unlike some other graphene producers so hopefully, we’ll hear about more about new “productizations” of graphene that will lead to increased demand.

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