Has the graphene age come?
Guotai Junan released a research report saying that under the background of carbon neutrality, the scarcity of coal mines is prominent, and the value of assets will continue to increase. The high point of capital expenditure in the coal industry appeared in 2012. Under the general direction of carbon neutrality, the overall investment in the industry has slowed down, and capital expenditure has gradually declined. From 2021 to now, the Energy Bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission has only newly approved 17.4 million tons of graphene.
Not long ago, Ren Zhengfei claimed in an interview with the media that a technological revolution would break out in 10 to 20 years. "I think the biggest subversion of this era in the future will be the subversion of the silicon era by the graphene era." The limit is seven nanometers, which is close to the boundary, and graphite is at the forefront of the technological revolution." What is the sacredness of the graphene mentioned here? Can it bring about disruption?
Graphene — a two-dimensional carbon film just one atom thick — is an excellent material. Although the name has the word graphite, it neither depends on the reserves of graphite nor the characteristics of graphite at all: graphene is highly conductive, bendable, and has good mechanical strength, and it looks pretty like a magical material in the future. Another list of its potential uses—protective coatings, transparent bendable electronics, ultra-capacity capacitors, etc.—would be a world-changing invention. Even the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to it!
But it has been ten years since its birth; where is my transparent phone?
In fact, in 2012, Konstantin Novoselov, who won the Nobel Prize for graphene, and his colleagues published an article in "Nature" to discuss the future of graphene and its development in the past two years has also Basically proved their prediction. He believes that graphene "has a bright future and a tortuous road as a material." Although it may play a significant role in the future, this scenario will not come until several significant difficulties are overcome. More importantly, given the enormous cost of industrial renewal, the benefits of graphene may not be enough to allow it to replace existing devices simply—its real promise may lie in entirely new applications tailored to its unique properties.
What is the fate of graphene?
Because there have been no breakthroughs in the academic world in the past few months, the recent wave of sudden "hotness" may be the result of capital operation's hype and should be treated with caution. As an industrial technology, graphene appears to have many hurdles to overcome. Novoselov pointed out that the current application of graphene is still limited by material production, so those products that use the lowest and cheapest graphene (such as graphene oxide nanoparticles) will be the first to be available, which may only take a few years; But those products that rely on high-purity graphene could be decades away from developing. Novoselov remains skeptical about whether it can replace the existing product line.
On the other hand, if the commercial world exaggerates its magic, it may cause the graphene industry to become a bubble; if it bursts, perhaps technological and industrial progress will not be able to save it. Science author Philip Barr once wrote, "Don't expect miracles from graphene" in The Guardian, pointing out that all materials have their application: steel is hard and heavy, wood is light but perishable, even if it seems "universal" In fact, the plastic is also a variety of very different polymers. Graphene is bound to play a huge role, but there is no reason to think it could be a miracle material and change the world. Or, in Novoselov's own words: "The true potential of graphene can only be fully realized in entirely new fields of application: those designed with this material property in mind, rather than replacing existing ones. Other materials in the product." As for whether the current new fields such as printable and foldable electronics, foldable solar cells, and supercapacitors can realize their potential, let us wait and see calmly.
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With the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the market is increasingly worried about the potential disruption of Russia's energy supply. Geopolitical premiums have pushed up the price of crude oil and natural gas, and the energy price is expected to remain high in the short term. Affected by this, the market price of the graphene may continue to rise.