“Graphene production and dispersion is one of the many applications Circa is targeting for Cyrene."
Australia-based biotechnology company Circa Group has announced that UK-based University of Manchester has successfully produced graphene ink using Circa's bio-based solvent Cyrene. Circa said academics have described the material as the “highest quality conductive graphene ink ever reported”.
Currently, one of the most common and successful ways of producing graphene involves exfoliating graphite using sonication - a process in which sound waves are used to agitate particles in solution. This requires toxic solvents, such as dimethylformamide (DMF) and N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). This has led scientists to seek alternative production methods.
According to Circa (@circagroup), the University of Manchester, the birthplace of graphene, has now successfully produced graphene ink with Cyrene. The company also said that work by the University of York and the Spanish National Research Council showed that Cyrene had “near-ideal physical properties for graphite exfoliation and the production of graphene dispersions”.
In a statement, Circa said that this announcement will have big commercial implications for companies producing graphene. Graphene can be used in advanced composites and polymers, coatings, batteries and supercapacitors, 3D printed materials and functional fluids.
“Graphene is one of the world’s most important nanomaterials and the growing body of scientific evidence – generated by world-class research teams – further validates Cyrene as a viable alternative to toxic traditional solvents such as NMP,” Fabien Deswarte, business development manager at Circa Group.
He added: “Graphene production and dispersion is one of the many applications Circa is targeting for Cyrene, which is outperforming traditional solvents in many high-value market applications such as the manufacture of specialty polymers and formulations of different kinds. For Circa and other companies looking for high-performance, non-toxic, sustainably-produced solvents – it’s a win-win-win situation.”
Separately, Circa Group recently announced that it received authorisation from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to import up to 100 tonnes per year of its bio-based solvent Cyrene to the EU.
The group was able to manage this because it received Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Annex VIII approval from the ECHA. Circa has also been given the green light to manufacture Cyrene in the EU.