Special Report: Thinking big is clearly the way forward for Talga as it starts a commercial-scale trial of graphene-enhanced coating on a 33,000-tonne container ship.

The advanced battery anode materials and graphene additives provider said the trial is believed to be the single largest application of graphene.

Talga Resources (ASX:TLG) added that the trial will serve as advanced testing of its functionalised graphene additive (Talphene®) as a performance booster for existing marine coatings – a part of the global 54-million-tonne-per-annum paint and coatings market.

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Within this market, the marine coatings segment is projected to grow to $US12 billion ($17.4 billion) by 2024.

Graphene, which is composed of one atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms, has unique properties such as strength despite its light weight, along with heat and electrical conductivity that sets it apart from other forms of carbon.

While it typically does not mix well with other products, Talga’s bulk production methods ensures that its graphene has certain chemical bonds to bind it with other materials (functionalisation).

The company said the commercial-scale application follows the completion of in-house development and patent-pending technology that successfully translates graphene’s exceptional mechanical properties into paint and coatings.

Benefits are expected to include improved corrosion resistance, decreased metallic paint loss into oceanic ecosystems and increased efficiency through lowering dry-docking cycles.

The freshly coated ship is now at sea, and over the coming 12 to 18 months the Talphene-coated area will be evaluated in the harsh real life conditions of global cargo shipping.

“The maritime coating sector is a very large market and well suited to use of our Talphene graphene additives for improved environmental and economic outcomes,” managing director Mark Thompson said.

“Additionally, by successfully taking this new product from the laboratory to commercial-scale application on a 33,000-tonne ship, being tested across global marine environments, we are showcasing our graphene’s real-world potential as a bulk industrial product.”

Testing on steel panels coated with epoxy primer containing Talphene additive showed improved corrosion protection performance compared to “state of the art” commercial systems currently used world-wide in large volumes.

Further evaluation, including mechanical performance testing, by The Welding Institute highlighted a 7 per cent greater adhesion of the primer containing Talphene to the steel panels and 14 per cent greater adhesion of the subsequent anti-fouling coating system along with consistent improvement in abrasion resistance.

These improvements were considered to be a notable outcome for a highly optimised industry, which pointed the way for the company to start commercial-scale trials.

Future steps

Talga plans to continue development of the Talphene additive for marine coatings under its range of paint and coating additives now trademarked as Talcoat™.

Next steps include a trial of the additive as an after-market product, to be mixed into the coatings on-site by the commercial applicators, as opposed to being dispersed by Talga prior to despatch.

The company has also identified a number of potential commercial partners and has started discussions regarding the incorporation of Talcoat products into their existing and new coating product lines.

>> Graphite stocks guide: Here’s everything you need to know

>> Now watch: 90 Seconds With…Mark Thompson, Talga Resources.

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This story was developed in collaboration with Talga Resources, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This story does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.