Cleantech mass-production of carbon nanomaterials from unrecyclable materials and other carbonaceous sources

R.G. Presswood Jr., I. Bishop
Elemental Advanced Materail,
United States

Keywords: graphene, turbostratic, nanoonions, plastic recycling, hydrogen, supercapacitor, EV batteries, platlets, high purity, CO2 neutral, single step


The dramatic growth in demand for carbon nano materials (especially graphene) has been highlighted by several recent studies. Projections of graphene demand over the next five to 10 years range from a CAGR of 30% to 40%. Also, the Chinese government announced new restrictions on the exportation of graphite. The combination of dramatic increases in demand with restricted supply could presage price and supply shocks. Currently, mass production of graphene is mostly dependent on graphite chemical exfoliation or other complex synthesis processes that require high energy discharges. For example, the chemical exfoliation of graphite requires further adaptation of the process according to contaminants mixed with the raw feedstock, such processes raise concerning environmental issues due to their heavy use of harsh chemicals (e.g., acids, base, permanganates, etc.) which demand neutralization before environmental release. Clearly, there is a need for an alternative technique for mass-production of carbon nanomaterials (especially graphene). Elemental Advanced Materials has developed a continuous feed method to produce these carbon nano materials from non-recyclable materials such as landfill-plastics, long lasting waste carbon rich wastes, or carbon rich gases (acetylene, ethylene, methane, etc.). The method produces Turbo Stratic Graphene, high purity graphite, Carbon Nano-onions and high purity hydrogen as a byproduct of the synthesis. Moreover, the production of 1 ton of carbon offtake by this technique upcycles 1.2 tons of “non-recyclable” plastic and consumes only 4.22 MJ of energy with zero consumption of water or other chemicals. By comparison, other techniques such as graphite chemical exfoliation and flash Joule graphene require at least 1.3 TJ along with ~ 2,5000,000 L of water, plus a few tons of potassium permanganate, acids, H2O2, hydrazine, etc. for the first, and 261.9 GJ, 84,580 L of water, 0.25 tons of pet-coke and 5 tons of depolluted and disassembled shredded end of life plastic for the latter. The produced Graphene from Elemental’s process has been tested as a strengthening additive to thermoplastics, resins, urethanes, concrete and as a base material for Supercapacitors and batteries. Testing has shown: - A minimum 30% increase in mechanical properties of thermoplastics, resins and concrete when blending Elemental's produced graphene. - Increase in the mechanical properties of urethane, even making the urethane hydrolysis tolerant, increase life in down hole tools. - Supercapacitor life of over 100,000 cycles, with a 15% decrease in charge capacity over this testing period. - Promising results of increased charge capacity for LiOH batteries. - Indications of flame resistance, decrease fouling and longer life for marine paints.