Innovations For Better Living
A green version of the super-material graphene transforms the industry
Most likely, we’re not even close to forecast exactly how huge potential graphene can how, in many different areas. What we can say, is that a coming emission-free alternative further increases the potential. In fact, it’s already here.
21 Sep 2021

Bright Day Graphene’s CEO Malin Alpsten describes graphene as a 2D material. 

— That means that it is only 1 atom thick, giving it a very large surface and no bulk, which is important, for instance, in energy storage applications. Graphene also conducts power without resistance, is 200 times stronger than steel, and is transparent and flexible. Those are all features that make it interesting in almost all areas of the industry, she explains.

Most graphene on the market today is made from graphite, which is a finite resource that needs to be mined. Alpsten founded the company in 2017 together with Anna Carlsson to make graphene without toxic chemicals and from a renewable source. 

— It’s made from a renewable source, a residual product from the pulp and paper industry. It also has features the mass-produced graphene on the market does not have. Just like other producers, we make a powder, but our flakes are much larger and much thinner. This makes our graphene more transparent, with higher electrical and thermal conductivity, and with a larger specific surface. 

How will graphene in general and your innovation, in particular, be used onwards?

— The possibilities are numerous. It can, for example, bring forth both new technologies and enhance the thermal and electrical conductivity properties in existing ones. As more and more are realizing the electronic potential of our graphene, it can enable more energy-efficient and sustainable products in the end, says Alpsten. She continues:

— The wide variety of usage can, for example, be in coatings, gas barriers, or sensors. In one of our current projects, our graphene is incorporated into packaging sensors directed towards the food industry. These smart packaging will allow evaluation of the product quality and the transport under its entire journey. It would mean that we could reduce food waste and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

— Another interesting application area is energy storage. Supercapacitors are really interesting for graphene because of their high surface area, electrical properties, lightweight nature, and strength. Supercapacitors do not store energy in a chemical reaction. This means that it can be charged and discharged much faster than today’s technologies and is also eliminating the aging problem we have with batteries. In theory, this means that we can charge a smartphone or a laptop in less than a minute and it can handle millions of charging cycles. Faster discharge would also mean that there is more energy available when it is actually needed.

— There is also potential for graphene-enhanced batteries. Graphene batteries could combine the advantages of both batteries that have higher capacity, and supercapacitors that have faster charging time and longer lifespan. Mobile devices and electric cars are the main application areas here.

Bright Day Graphene currently has a patent pending for their process and planning for an industrial pilot, while producing their graphene on a small scale in their lab in Kista outside of Stockholm. 

— We’re currently running customer projects, looking at anti-fouling surfaces with Alfa Laval, packaging barriers with OptiPack, and sensors with Klabin. Our advanced, green material contributes to a more sustainable industry that enables a new generation of sustainable high-tech products, says Alpsten.

This is #14 on our list with 25 Innovations for better living from Scandinavian MIND Issue 2

1. Here’s the first furniture brand to publish their climate footprint
2. Unique Bio2 textile can make a change in our polluted world
3. Patented technology can turn the eyewear industry circular
4. Filtration technology saves you from hidden pollution at home
5. This Swedish collective launches line with skincare for objects
6. Powder to liquid wash can change personal care as we know it
7. This household product line cleans with all-natural sugar surfactants
8. Spinnova’s textile fibre might be the world’s most groundbreaking
9. Here’s how AI can be used to create your ultimate personal scent
10. Design brand Verk takes local production one — big — step further
11. CAKE is here to challenge the status quo for motorbikes
12. This solar cell can be powered by ordinary indoor light
13. Revolutionary reusable sanitary protection is about to hit the market
15. Groundbreaking recyling app teams up with the world’s leading brands