October is turning out to be a month of substantially good news for Imagine IM. The Australia-based producer of graphene has just been recognized with an Australian Engineering Excellence Awards (AEEA) Victorian Innovation Award. It has also announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with TenCate Geosynthetics to develop and demonstrate a modified imgne® X3 graphene coating for polypropylene non-woven geotextiles.
The AEEA Victoria Awards were held in Melbourne on October 4. Austeng, which designed Imagine IM’s commercial-scale graphene production facility, Imagine IM shared the Innovation, Research and Development award. The honor cited the Geelong-based graphene facility, which among its many future materials development projects includes graphene-enhanced geosynthetics.
Ross George, Managing Director of Austeng, accepted the award on behalf of the two companies.
“This award highlights that local manufacturing can transition into high value-add, advancing technology given the right circumstances,” George said. “Imagine IM has very much shown the way forward by recognizing and embracing this new technology….”
“Graphene is a platform technology and Imagine and Austeng have taken graphene out of the laboratory and into commercial application,” said Phil Aitchison, Head of R&D and Operations for Imagine IM. “We shall continue to advance our roadmap for large-scale industrial uses of graphene for sensing and in smart materials.”
The output of graphene from the Geelong plant will be up to 10 tonnes per year. The first product to be made in the plant is imgne® X3, a conductive coating for geotextiles which enables low cost and environmentally friendly leak detection in dam and landfill liners. The product has already undergone field trials and will be commercially released by the leading Australian manufacturer of geosynthetic materials, Geofabrics Australasia.
The national AEEA Awards will be held 23 November 2016 in Brisbane.
MOU WITH TENCATE GEOSYNTHETICS
In other geosynthetics news, Imageine IM and global geosynthetics manufacturer TenCate Geosynthetics have signed Memorandum of Understanding to develop leak-detecting nonwoven geotextiles. The product or products that result from the collaboration will utilize Imagine IM’s imgne® X3 coating, which can be applied to polypropylene geotextiles.
In a release about the MOU, Imagine’s team described the goal as “to deliver continuous conductivity in polymers is a significant step on the way to developing of a new class of ‘sensing’ materials.”
TenCate is a strong partner for this, not only for its global market presence but for its own record of innovation. The company has previously developed sensing materials, for example. The TenCate GeoDetect® geotextile was engineered with embedded fiber optics to deliver real-time monitoring, such as a shift in a berm’s stability.
The imgne® X3 coating is initially being used by Geofabrics Australasia in the Australian market, which the company believes represents just 3% of the global leak detection products market.
For geosynthetics, graphene has enormous potential and plenty of growth ahead of it.
For more information on graphene’s usage in geosynthetics, Imagine’s innovation award, and graphene’s potential, visit www.imgne.com.