Urbix Resources has announced the first economically viable graphene-enhanced lightweight concrete, an achievement that according to Urbix represents an industry breakthrough.
Designed in collaboration with one of the world’s largest producers of lightweight concrete, Urbix’s solution is said to deliver material performance improvements, but at a cost that is lower than current lightweight concrete alternatives. A graphene industry first.
Urbix’s R&D team has created what they call a Graphenesque additive that reportedly provides a 33% increase in compressive strength, a 32% reduction in CO2 emissions, and at a cost that is 16.6% lower than the next best lightweight concrete alternative on the market.
“It is ultimately the cost of the additive versus benefits of performance that have to be compared with any incumbent technology, especially graphene products,” explains Urbix Chairman Nicolas Cuevas. “That cost versus benefit is the real barrier that’s been keeping graphene out of commercial products until now.”
“The material performance of our solution for lightweight concrete is great,” says Urbix Chief Marketing Officer Adam Small. “But the low costs and large-scale capabilities are what makes this achievement so profound. By leveraging our existing global graphite mining relationships, we offer near vertical integration, an aspect that is almost mandatory for any company entering the graphene space.”
The additive is made in a way that is similar in infrastructure to Urbix’s proprietary purification process, for which a full-scale plant is currently being developed in the Phoenix area. At pilot scale production, it is expected the plant will be capable of producing in excess of 100 metric tons of the concrete additive monthly by the end of 2019. For reference, that amount will be enough material to produce between 10,000 and 40,000 metric tons of the new Urbix-enhanced lightweight concrete. This production figure will be scaled significantly higher beyond 2020.
At present, testing and certification continues. Urbix and their associates anticipate that they will bring the technology to market in 2020.