South Australia's Graphene Research Hub was launched this week with A$5.6 million of federal government and industry-partner funding, with the aim of supporting commercialisation of cutting-edge graphene research.
"Graphene … has the potential for new disruptive technology that will change our lives and create new industries, the same as silicon did 60 years ago," director of the ARC Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation, professor Dusan Losic said this week.
The hub is based at the University of Adelaide's School of Chemical Engineering.
"The aim is that our research will transform industry and support Australian businesses to embrace cutting-edge innovation and technologies that deliver high-value returns and build new industries.
"We have a vision of South Australia becoming the Graphene Valley of Australia."
The hub aims to develop high-value products and innovative solutions for industries such as agriculture, mining, construction, medical technologies and defence. South Australia has sizeable deposits of native graphite, used to produce graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms that holds unrivalled material properties.
"It's the thinnest, strongest, lightest material known, with the greatest surface area, and the best electrical and thermal conductivity properties of any other material, as well as being flexible, water repellent and non-toxic with some anti-bacterial properties," Losic said.
He said the research group in Adelaide was already working on a new generation of fire retardant products, construction materials, advanced protective coatings for defence and industrial applications including slow-release fertilisers, and new electrical devices and super-batteries.
The University of Adelaide will lead the new ARC Research Hub with collaborators at Monash University, University of Melbourne and University of South Australia. The commercial partners are Archer Exploration, Ziltek, Qingdao Huagao Graphene Technology Corporation, First Graphene, and Cleanfuture Energy Australia.