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Graphene Nanochem (AIM:GRPH) Bets Big on Oil Market

Biofuels Company Enters the Graphene Market

Written by Briton Ryle
Posted March 27, 2013

It’s one thing to look to the future and make yourself aware of what is coming at you over the horizon. But it’s another thing to align yourself with what you see to embrace it when it comes.

While countless companies are aware of new technologies in the energy industry, Biofutures International Plc is going after them. And this is bound to set it apart, keeping it far ahead of the pack.

It’s a classic case of a brash young modern-thinking upstart coming out of nowhere to shake the establishment and teach the old boys on the block a thing or two about moving forward. The upstart couldn’t make its intensions any clearer when it recently changed its name from Biofutures International to Graphene Nanochem (AIM:GPRH).

“BIP was incorporated in February 2006, and was listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market in May 2006, when it raised £3 million on flotation,” the company’s bio recounts.

Like a young, forward-thinking optimist with just a handful of bills in its pockets—(really, what can you get with just 3 million pounds, or U.S. $4.5 million?)—the company made certain its first purchase was a cash generator:

“BIP made its first investment in November 2006, when it acquired the entire issued share capital of Zurex, a Malaysian company that had been issued with a licence to produce biodiesel from palm oil in Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia.”

With that acquisition, the company jumped into the energy business, looking well ahead over the horizon at biodiesel, making fuel from agriculture.

Graphene
Graphene Structure

With a cash generator in its portfolio, it went to the market again, this time raising 11 million pounds—some U.S. $16.6 million. With a much thicker wallet, the company officially became an investing company in 2008, with a mandate to acquire more businesses within the energy field.

“The Group's strategy,” the company proclaims, “is to invest in, or acquire projects, assets, partnerships, joint ventures, businesses or companies (public or private) in Europe, Asia and the Middle East within the energy and utility sectors and their related infrastructures.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that the modern-thinking company has recently embraced what could possibly turn out to be the most revolutionary energy technology in a generation: graphene.

The company has “successfully raised 32.5 million pounds [U.S. $49.2 million] via share placing in conjunction with its proposed acquisition of Platinum NanoChem … a Malaysian biofuels specialist,” the Borneo Post reported. “Platinum NanoChem is a global nanotechnology company whose established revenue-generating business model is to design, formulate, manufacture and market a range of IP (Intellectual Property)-backed speciality chemicals and advanced materials including Graphene from waste feedstocks.”

GRPH has once again gone after an established cash-generator. But not just any revenue maker—one that already has a grasp of that new technology graphene.

“The enlarged group,” continues Borneo Post, “will aim to exploit the global megatrend towards sustainability through the supply of waste-based, high-performance, cost-competitive products into global markets and to focus on the opportunities afforded by Graphene-enhancement.”

Hence the company’s new name Graphene NanoChem, a measure of just how convinced the company is that graphene is the place to be.

“Graphene is made of a single layer of carbon atoms and could revolutionise a range of industries from power generation to medical devices,” explains the UK paper Express. For a more indepth look at this new technology, its discovery and potential uses, have a look at my previous article on graphene.

But never satisfied with just what is happening now, GRPH is still looking to what will be happening tomorrow. Rather than making graphene using present methods, the company is looking at the next way to make it. It’s rather comical, but the company is taking a brand new technology and, well, making it even newer!

Another UK paper, the Investors Chronicle, elaborates on what the company is up to:

“[Graphene NanoChem] holds intellectual property for a process known as Catalyx - a method that extracts graphene from biogases such as methane, instead of more expensive technologies that derive the material from graphite.

“Part of the attraction of the Graphene NanoChem business model is that it utilises low-cost palm oil waste and processing residues as feedstock for its speciality chemicals, biofuels and advanced materials businesses.”

Can you see how all the pieces fit together? In 2006, GRPH acquired Zurex, a Malaysian company that produces palm oil and converts it into biodiesel. And recently it purchased the Malaysian company Platinum Nanochem, which owns intellectual property in the production of speciality chemicals and advanced materials including graphene from, you guessed it, palm oil—or more specifically, “palm oil waste and processing residues”.

So the company recycles the waste from one business to feed the processes of its other business. Forward-thinking, indeed.

As for the applications of the company’s graphene production, the Investors Chronicle informs:

“Graphene NanoChem will initially use its proprietary technologies to produce graphene-enriched biodegradable drilling fluids for the shale gas industry. The group already boasts a number of high-profile customers and partners in the oil & gas industry, including Shell and Chevron.”

With a keen eye on what is coming over the horizon, Graphene NanoChem is looking to make the oil and gas industry cleaner and more environmentally friendly. And this should help petroleum and gas giants win greater public approval for their continuing efforts to tap into new deposits.

All thanks to the new wonder material graphene and a group of forward-thinkers.

Joseph Cafariello

 

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