Anti-counterfeiter Dotz Nano says it has perfected microscopic dots that can be used to tag fuel so it can be identified when stolen.

The nano-technology company (ASX:DTZ) has successfully developed a process to tag fuels such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene via microscopic graphene dots.

DTZ’s graphene quantum dots (GQDs) are tiny particles that emit different colours when irradiated with ultraviolet light. DTZ hopes they will be used in everything from olive oil to medical imaging.

Ernst and Young estimates $133 billion worth of fuel is stolen from oil and gas enterprises every year – numbers likely to be understated due to entrenched levels of corruption and government involvement.

Thieves are best known for tapping into fuel pipelines in Nigera and Mexico but theft can also occur via pirates or in ship-to-ship transfers.

“Fuel theft has become a global issue,” Dotz chief Dr Moti Gross said. “The high price and high rate of taxation on fuel makes it an attractive target for theft, particularly within a company that has private fuel storage.

“Companies and governments globally are looking for the right solution to decrease the high level of fuel theft. Most fuel markers are dye-based and can be laundered out of the fuel.”

The growing petrol and fuel marker market is already worth upwards of several billion dollars with first tier players such as Germany’s BASF, Switzerland’s SICPA or Authentix from the US.

DTZ announced it was developing a similar product fit for human consumption earlier this year, adding to its applications in medical imaging, sensing, consumer electronics, energy storage and solar cells.

Today’s update didn’t excite investors, however, who sold the shares down 4 per cent to 12.5 cents. Dotz Nano company made a loss of $US1.9 million in the half year.