Article Date: August 12, 2014
Grafoid Inc. is set to open in Kingston next week following the acquisition of the local advanced materials group ALCERECO Inc. earlier this summer, bringing with it scores of jobs and a boost for the local economy. Founded in 2011, Grafoid is an Ottawa company that is engaged in the development, investment and research of a newlydiscovered substance named Graphene. The material is comprised of a one atom thin carbon element extracted from natural graphite.
Graphene boasts some remarkable applications as the strongest material ever measured. But the truly outstanding part is the incredibly light weight of the product as well as its conductive properties. Once graphite has been drawn from a mine in Quebec, the ore will be transported to the refining facility opening in Kingston on Aug. 20. Grafoid uses a completely unique, proprietary process to create a purified material. Their product has been trademarked 'MesoGraf' and stands out as a forerunner in the industry. Grafoid's offer is a material with the capacity for mass production at a low cost combined with a consistently defect-free production process. Liam Burtt, a project co-ordinator at Grafoid, said that these patent-pending breakthroughs put 'MesoGraf' ahead of competitors.
The use of 'MesoGraf' can be adapted to a number of diverging markets because of its widely desirable characteristics. The versatile product can be mixed to bolster plastic, or combined with steel to strengthen construction projects. Burtt gave the example of defence contracts where 'MesoGraf' could be used to armour vehicles and create protective vests but the company has shown interest in scores of other industries. Renewable energy, bio-medicine and thermal dispersion are just three of the many markets that Grafoid are engaged in.
"That's only the tip of the iceberg," Burtt said. The purchase of ALCERECO for USD$1.25 million means that Grafoid will adopt the Kingston company's global customer base as well as its facilities. Grafoid hopes to find value in the deal by drawing on ALCERECO's technical expertise to scale and expand their distribution of 'MesoGraf'-based materials. The expansion into Kingston is expected to bring 160 jobs, and stimulate the economy with a $32.7 million dollar impact. Burtt said that at least 10 of the workers from ALCERCO will stay on in positions with Grafoid. The company will use a facility at Queen's
Innovation Park where scientific and engineering experts will oversee the purification process. Burtt said that the move made great sense because of a working relationship that Grafoid had already fostered with the university.
"The facility was already equipped with a variety of labs of which held technology that the people at Grafoid can utilize," he said. Burtt said that the company will be "focusing a lot of a time and energy" into Kingston's Innovation Park. "Grafoid is investing in Kingston for the long-term," he said.