Bright Day Graphene and RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) have received a SEK 2.5 million grant from Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency) in the Call for BioInnovation Hypothesis Testing Step 2, in order to develop applications of green graphene. Together with OptiPack, they will now study the potential of green graphene as a packaging barrier and, with Alfa Laval, explore the possibility of creating an antibacterial surface using a coating.
Bright Day Graphene, one of Sting Bioeconomy’s incubator companies, has developed a unique process for the production of the world’s first environmentally sound graphene. The sustainable graphene has unique characteristics, enabling a new generation of applications. In the Call for BioInnovation Hypothesis Testing Step 1, the company spent six months developing its production process in cooperation with RISE, which was a very successful project. Now they will go on to examine applications in the Call for BioInnovation Hypothesis Testing Step 2. Together with their partners – RISE, OptiPack and Alfa Laval – they have formed a project consortium to run a project they call ‘Commercial Applications of Green Graphene from Biomass’, which has now been granted SEK 2.5 million from Vinnova.
In this project, the aim is to improve a pre-phase of the production process together with RISE in order to make it more efficient, in terms of both resources and costs. Along with the project partners, they also want explore the potential fields of application of green graphene. Starting from the application perspective makes it possible to set the requirements for the material, and to explore and refine its quality. Coming up with methods for quality determination is also included in the project.
“It feels great that we’ve secured funding for this project. It’s an amazing opportunity for us to explore new, exciting areas where our green graphene can create new prospects and a greener future,” says Bright Day Graphene CEO Malin Alpsten.
Packaging barrier and antibacterial surface
‘Commercial applications of green graphene from biomass’ has two tracks. One is about looking at the potential of green graphene as a packaging barrier, together with another company, OptiPack. That project is an opportunity for OptiPack to achieve its goal of offering products with 100% renewable contents, which is a strong demand from customers.
“At OptiPack, we believe in a sustainable and circular tomorrow. Our mission is to speed up the transition to a future where packaging is a part of a closed loop. We want to promote the use of plant-based raw materials as far as possible. Our product solutions are designed to give customers value from sustainable materials for packaging applications,” says OptiPack’s Managing Director Ulrik Fauhlér.
Along the other track, Bright Day Graphene cooperates with Alfa Laval to explore the possibility of creating an antibacterial surface using a special coating. A surface of that type would be interesting in all fields where the aim is to avoid biofouling in sea water, within processing industries such as foods and geothermal energy. Biofouling is the accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae or small animals on wet surfaces having a mechanical function, which causes structural or other malfunctions.
The project will also include a market study for these new application fields, and a sustainability analysis for the entire life cycle of green graphene.
“Being part of this project can provide us with the tools to develop our heat exchangers towards less biofouling, which is a challenge today. The outcome would then be a greener environment thanks to less frequent and faster cleaning cycles: less use of water, chemicals and energy,” says Olga Santos, a materials specialist at Alfa Laval.
BioInnovation is a joint programme by Vinnova, Formas (the government research council for sustainable development) and the Swedish Energy Agency. It continually offers opportunities for the funding of projects and ideas promoting bio-based development. Hypothesis testing is BioInnovation’s fast track. Calls for proposals complement the long-term strategic activities. They enable projects to evaluate a concept or idea during six months. Projects that have proven successful can then go on to apply for Phase 2, where they are granted more funding over a longer period. The work is carried out in the framework of the strategic BioInnovation programme.