“Greatest opportunities in anti-corrosive and chemical-resistant coatings“

Universal Matter UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal Matter, has agreed to takeover all shares of Applied Graphene Materials UK and Applied Graphene Materials. We spoke to John van Leeuwen, CEO of Universal Matter about the acquisition.

John van Leeuwen

John van Leeuwen: We see the greatest opportunity for growth in the near future in building on the commercial success that AGM already has established in anti-corrosive coatings and chemical-resistant coatings. These are two market segments where AGM has demonstrated the superior results of graphene-based coatings compared to more traditional zinc phosphate-based coatings in anti-corrosion and glass flake in chemical-resistant coatings. Another market where we are seeing great interest and early customer adoption is for protective graphene-based coatings in after-market car-care.

What concrete plans do you have to accelerate the adoption of graphene in coating applications?

John van Leeuwen: The acceleration of graphene in coatings applications is governed by a number of factors: convincing test results, synergy with the existing chemistries, attractiveness and strength of the value proposition of graphene-based coatings, ability to ship stable graphene dispersions, availability of the graphene, and regulatory approval for these new graphene-based coating products.

We are in the final phase of building a new 300 mt per annum graphene demonstration plant in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. This quantity of graphene will support very large volume protective coatings applications. At the same time, we are investing in UM-UK’s dispersion capability by expanding it by a factor of 20x.

What do you believe are the key challenges ahead?

John van Leeuwen: The key challenge that I see is the acceptance by the market that graphene is a viable partial or complete replacement for zinc phosphate in anti-corrosive coatings and of glass flake in chemical-resistant coatings. There are many arguments for this change and there now is a new and convincing solution. Up until now, the arguments have been grounded in the superior corrosion testing results of graphene over zinc phosphate along with the superior environmental impact of graphene.

Universal Matter will be strengthening this value proposition from an environmental perspective as well as delivering a better economic value proposition. Despite these two significant advantages, it remains to be seen how rapidly the market will adopt this new technology. The good news is that graphene is compatible and synergistic with both zinc phosphate and glass flake, which makes partial replacement now a path to full replacement over time.

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