Graphene could be the key to preventing another disaster like the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 71 Londoners, ASX-listed First Graphene believes.

British authorities have been investigating whether the building’s cladding contributed to the social housing block inferno in west London that gutted the 24-storey building.

First Graphene says recent tests of its FireStop coating outperformed other existing fire-retardant products — using thinner coating to reduce material consumption and labour costs during application.

The news pushed First Graphene’s (ASX:FGR) shares up 6.5 per cent in early Monday trade. They were trading at 16.5c at 11.30am AEDT.

FGR share price movements over the past six months. Source:
FGR share price movements over the past six months. Source:

The Firestop coating uses graphene additives which act as a gas barrier and thermal conductor for ordinary building materials.

Test work with graphene has demonstrated an effective barrier to oxygen in the first instance, which is one of the three key elements needed for a fire, the company says.

The restricting of a fire’s access to oxygen reduces its intensity and limits the generation of heat.

In tests of highly-flammable balsa wood, the coating outperformed its competitors at 0.45mm and 0.7mm in thickness – only beaten by a test of a competitor with just over 1mm in thickness.

The FireStop material is under development with the University of Adelaide as part of the company’s participation in the ARC Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation.

“While these initial tests are very encouraging, the University of Adelaide continues to carry out performance tests using recognised test procedures, including Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI) to confirm these findings.

“This will be followed by independent verification by an external house such as CSIRO,” the company told investors on Monday.

First Graphene hopes to tap into an $8 billion flame retardancy market, of which $0.31 billion is attributable to coatings or paint.

FGR is also looking into energy storage and enhancing longevity and storage capabilities of lithium ion batteries with graphene.