Source - LSE Regulatory
RNS Number : 2276M
Tirupati Graphite PLC
20 January 2021
 

 

20 January 2021

Tirupati Graphite plc ('Tirupati' or the 'Company')

Tirupati Graphene and Mintech Research Centre Update

 

Tirupati Graphite plc, the fully integrated, revenue generative, specialist graphite producer and graphene developer with operations in Madagascar and India, is pleased to announce an update on its Tirupati Graphene and Mintech Research Centre ('TGMRC'), which is focused on graphene manufacturing and applications development and mineral processing technology development.

 

Overview

·    Allotment of prime industrial land in Bhubaneswar by Government of Odisha, which is a significant milestone in the advancement and development of its state-of-the-art graphene and technology centre, TGMRC, with detailed construction planning, equipment sourcing, and recruitment initiatives also progressing.

·    Further optimisation of the material properties of the Company's zero-chemical graphene products to consistently achieve a specific surface area of 1100 - 1200 m2/g from 400 - 500 m2/g, which is likely to further enhance the use and compatibility of the material in various graphene enhanced applications being developed.

·    Appointment of Dr. Matthieu Gresil (Ph.D), a leading researcher and renowned expert on polymers and composites, as advisor and consultant to the Company for market research and development of graphene products - presently a Senior Lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne, Dr. Gresil previously worked using the Company's graphene at The University of Manchester, to develop a specialised self-healing recyclable graphene composite.

 

Shishir Poddar, CEO of Tirupati Graphite, said, "We are delighted to report the all-round progress we are making in the development of our graphene and technology centre, TGMRC, as a strong, stand-alone, revenue generative division in our business model. The model is designed to catalyse the commercialisation of graphene applications by developing commercial/bulk scale manufacturing of consistent, high-quality graphene at affordable costs. With the global market for graphene forecast to reach over US$1 billion by 2023 as techno commercial bottlenecks are overcome, we intend to be a significant contributor to this growth.

 

"The persistent drive and innovation of our team has led to significant ongoing enhancements in the properties of our high-quality graphene products and enhanced their compatibility in applications, which is an important factor in graphene enhanced technology developments. Discussions with various technical experts suggests that the new feat achieved by us in specific surface area, is unique and could potentially be highly valuable. We will continue research and testwork to unlock the advantages that our graphene could bring to various graphene enhanced applications being developed.

 

"To further strengthen our expertise and widen our reach in the world of composites, we are very excited to welcome Dr. Gresil to the Tirupati team.  As a recognised world-leading expert in the world of composites, nanomaterials and developer of graphene enhanced polymers and composites, we look forward to leveraging his extensive expertise, prominence and access to companies and developers globally. We are confident that he will help us build a robust commercial client base across various industries that use advanced polymers and composites including aerospace, defence, biomedical and sporting equipment to name a few, ahead of our forthcoming commercial/bulk scale graphene production capabilities coming on-stream."

 

Dr. Matthieu Gresil (Ph.D), Senior Lecturer Monash University, said "I am delighted to join the efforts of Tirupati in providing the globe a high-quality graphene material. My experience using the material in developing a complex self-healing, shape morphing, and recyclable/reprocessable polymer gives me confidence on being able to take it to the markets in the world of advanced multifunctional composites and 2D nano materials."

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

Tirupati continues to advance its operations across its portfolio including its Tirupati Graphene and Mintech Research Centre ('TGMRC') in India, which is focussed on manufacturing graphene, developing its applications, and providing environment friendly technologies for mineral processing industries. This is composed of GRACE, a graphite & graphene centre of excellence; and MINTECH, a mineral processing & extractive metallurgy centre of excellence. 

 

In sync with the Company's modular development strategy, a two-acre plot has been allocated to TGMRC in Bhubaneswar by The Industrial Development Corporation Ltd., an entity of Government of Odisha.  Detailed construction planning, equipment sourcing, and recruitment initiatives have been undertaken as the Company focuses on fast-tracking commercial scale production of graphene and creating facilities for minerals and materials technology development.

 

GRACE

Having released its first standardised graphene products manufactured by a zero-chemical process in mid-2019, the Company is now making major steps forward to further enhance its properties.  The i-composites lab of the University of Manchester used its graphene for development of a self-healing recyclable polymer, with the following initial findings:

·    Covalent bonding of Tirupati's rGO achieved with epoxy based vitrimer.

·    With only a 0.5 wt% addition of Tirupati's rGO, stiffness increased from 2.4 MPa to 98 MPa and the strength increased from 0.8 MPa to 3 MPa and still maintained relatively high elastomeric properties.

·    Improved stress relaxation time which can contribute to recycling of the composite.

·    For hard epoxy vitrimer, slight improvement in flexural strength and a 23% increase in fracture toughness achieved.

 

The maximum theoretical specific surface area of graphene can be 2630 m2/g.  With further optimisation of its unique graphene manufacturing technology, the Company has now consistently achieved a BET specific surface area of 1100 - 1200 m2/g, demonstrating new standards of quality for its graphene. This may further enhance the use of the material in various applications.

 

APPOINTMENT

As part of its HR initiatives, the Company is delighted to welcome Dr. Matthieu Gresil (Ph.D) as advisor and consultant for market research and development of its graphene products.  Dr. Gresil is a senior lecturer in the Department of Material Science and Engineering at Monash University, Australia. He obtained his BSc degree in Physics (University of Nantes, France) and MSc degree in Physics option Matter and Materials (University of Nantes, France). He completed his PhD from Ecole Normale Superieure of Cachan, France in 2009 in collaboration with DCNS (French Navy) on the integration of functions (structural health monitoring and electromagnetic shielding) in composite materials. He joined the University of South Carolina as Post-doctoral Research Fellow (2010-2014) and conducted research on SHM using multi-physics finite element to study guided wave propagation in composite and metallic structures. Later, he joined the Department of Materials at the University of Manchester as Lecturer in multifunctional composites from 2014 - 2020.

 

Dr. Gresil's areas of expertise include but are not limited to multifunctionality in composites including properties like health monitoring, self-healing, reprocessing, recycling, thermal-load dissipation, and electrical enhancement; emerging advance polymer materials like vitrimers, which can heal with a thermal trigger; bio-inspired 2D/3D materials; nanotechnology; graphene products and graphene composites. He has published 46 reviewed journals including 23 papers on Structural Health Monitoring for composite materials, 14 papers on graphene enhanced nanocomposites, and 2 papers on shape morphing composite materials. He recently published a paper and front cover in Polymer Chemistry on vitrimers (i.e., recyclable/reprocessable and self-healable polymer). Additionally, he has one patent on structural health monitoring and one filled patent on novel self-healing and recycling biocatalyst vitrimer.

 

Dr. Gresil shall advice the Company on research and development of commercial markets for its graphene products with primary targets in the composites industry. Leveraging his extensive expertise and global reach in the graphene, materials, and composites industry, Dr. Gresil shall help the Company identify and approach prospective customers in various industries as well as existing users of graphene globally. He shall also provide insight and help in further improvements of the Company's graphene products and the current markets of graphene.

 

Dr. Gresil has previously worked using the Company's graphene in the University of Manchester for developing specialised self-healing recyclable graphene vitrimer composite. In this research, he found Tirupati's graphene to have excellent dispersion properties, which imparted the required mechanical characteristics to the material.

 

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014. Upon the publication of this announcement, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

 

** ENDS **

 

For further information, please visit https://www.tirupatigraphite.co.uk/ or contact:

 

Tirupati Graphite Plc

Puruvi Poddar

admin@tirupatigraphite.co.uk

Optiva Securities Limited (Broker)

Daniel Ingram

info@optivasecurities.com

St Brides Partners Ltd (Financial PR)

Isabel de Salis / Cosima Akerman

info@stbridespartners.co.uk

 

Notes

Tirupati Graphite Plc is a revenue-generative, multi-asset, multi-jurisdictional, fully integrated producer and developer of high-grade natural flake graphite, speciality graphite and graphene, which captures the entire value chain.  With a unique set of properties, graphite has diverse applications with multiple growth streams and graphene forms the new generation of 2D materials. In support of this, the Company places a special emphasis on "green" applications, including renewable energy generation, energy storage and composites, and is committed to ensuring its operations are sustainable as well.

 

The Company's operations include primary mining and processing in Madagascar, where the Company operates two key projects, Sahamamy and Vatomina; 3,000 tpa of high-quality flake graphite concentrate with up to 96% purity is currently being produced and sold to customers globally, and this is planned to increase to 81,000 tpa by 2024 as per the Company's modular medium-term development plan.

 

In India, through Tirupati Speciality Graphite Private Limited ('TSG'), with whom the Company has a binding acquisition agreement subject to regulatory approvals, Tirupati processes and produces speciality graphite for use in hi-tech applications like lithium-ion batteries, fire retardants and composites. Its specialty graphite processing operations include the 1,200 tpa Patalganga Project, which was commissioned in July 2019 to manufacture and sell CARBOFLAMEX®, a trademarked fire-retardant expandable graphite product.  At the next stage of development, Patalganga shall further be expanded to 4,800 tpa capacity with capabilities to also produce high purity and micronised graphite, so increasing market and product reach by 2021. TSG has developed unique green processing technologies for manufacturing these advanced materials.

 

After establishing itself in the specialty graphite markets through the Patalganga Project, an additional 24,000 tpa specialty graphite processing facility is to be established in two 12,000 tpa phases.  The plant will produce expandable, high purity, micronised and spherical graphite.  The west coast of India has been chosen as the location and a detailed feasibility study has been completed.  TSG is also in the process of establishing the Tirupati Graphene and Mintech Research Centre, a state-of-the-art R&D centre focussed on manufacturing graphene, developing its applications, and further providing environmentally friendly technologies consultancy for mineral processing. 

 

 

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