The Arms Race for Graphene is Officially On
While the world’s next super-genius invents a device that’ll make our smartphones look silly, a quiet war is being waged amidst tech heavyweights like Apple (AAPL), Samsung (SSNLF) and Google (GOOGL).
It’s a vicious cutthroat war, too.
Whoever wins this war will reap the bottom-line benefits for the next five years.
The battle is over access to a certain wonder material known as “graphene.”
You see, with the explosion of smartphones and tablets behind us, profits now hinge on who can build the fastest, lightest, most flexible device.
Such is the nature of innovation.
A market must reach full saturation before the innovation cycle begins again.
Since the next genuine innovation won’t hit until at least 2018, he who controls graphene rules the tech world.
Surprisingly, Samsung owns the edge in this arms race.
While Apple has historically owned a distinct design advantage, Samsung is the one on the leading edge of manufacturing. Especially when it concerns the application of new materials.
What Makes Graphene So Incredible?
Graphene is super-conductive.
It weighs next to nothing.
It’s stronger than steel.
Oh, and it bends, too!
Yet graphene is also immensely difficult to produce.
It doesn’t gush from the ground like oil.
Nor is it easily mined like base metals.
Now you appreciate why demand outstrips supply by such a historic margin.
Dare I say that graphene is the perfect investment? Yes! I’d say that.
But therein lies the problem. Graphene represents such a production challenge that a leader in this hyper-lucrative space has yet to emerge.
That being said, a clever backdoor into graphene may have just opened.
On such merits, I asked tech expert, Marty Biancuzzo, to share his insights with our readers.
Is it finally time to invest alongside the most powerful force of the next five years? Find out by listening to the interview above.
Onward and Upward,
Founder, Wall Street Daily
Robert Williams: Marty, thanks for joining us today, and I think it’s best if we just start right at the basics. Please get our readers up to speed: What, exactly, is graphene?
Marty Biancuzzo: Thanks for having me, Robert. Now, graphene is actually derived from the same material that you see in the center of a No. 2 pencil. It’s graphite, which is thousands of carbon atoms that are really tightly compacted together in multiple, millions of layers that creates this larger structure that you would see as the center of, again, like a No. 2 pencil, graphite.
Robert Williams: Okay. So then how do we get graphene from the graphite?
Marty Biancuzzo: Well, they have to take this graphite and they actually submerge it in a solution that dissolves it down. Then they take this graphite solution, place it into a printer cartridge, and then they print this out just like any other printer would. They print out this graphite solution on top of cellophane plastic. Because this material is so thin, it’s actually almost invisible to the naked eye, they have to have a structure, basically a backbone to be able to print this out to, and that’s where the cellophane comes in.
Robert Williams: Wow, that’s fascinating. Okay. And what exactly are the properties graphene possesses that are making it such a sought-after material?
Marty Biancuzzo: Well, one of the really intriguing properties is the conductivity of graphene. It’s actually more conductive than say copper or gold, which is highly conductive. It’s actually the most conductive material man has seen really. It’s actually also very, very strong. It’s stronger than diamonds, and that’s because of the carbon-to-carbon atom bonds. The bonds between the multiple carbon atoms are so strong. It’s 200 times stronger than steel, but yet it’s also flexible, so it has a bit of a rubbery, flexible property to it, as well. But really it’s the conductivity I think that’s really the most intriguing part of graphene at this point.
Robert Williams: Is the science far enough along that we’re actually seeing it in use today?
Marty Biancuzzo: It’s not quite in use yet. It’s still a very young technology. They’re still really figuring out how to make it. This printer solution that they have now, the printing it out on cellophane, that’s the most recent way that they have found out how to do this. Is that gonna be the final way that they’re making this? We don’t know yet. It’s not in any products at this point, because again it’s still something that’s being made in a lab. So until they know how they can make this the same time every time – I’m sorry. Until they know how to make this product the same way every single time in a cost-efficient manner, it’s really not gonna show up in products for a little bit. But it will show up in electronics mostly, probably sooner than anything else.
Robert Williams: So, we’re early, and that’s a good thing in investing. The problem I’m having is having a pure-play into graphene. I think this is a material we’d all like to invest alongside, but I haven’t been able to find a direct route in, Marty. Are you finding anything different?
Marty Biancuzzo: You know there really isn’t a pure-play in on graphene. Again, it’s being made in labs, and that’s not something you can really invest in. You could go and try to go a roundabout way in investing into graphite, which would get you into mining companies, but it’s so far from a pure-play because these mining companies aren’t mining graphite; they’re mining other materials, other minerals, other metals. And graphite is part of what they’re mining, so it’s part of a larger portfolio from these mining companies. So it’s really far from a pure-play.
Robert Williams: Some of our readers know how early we are on graphene, and the early investors are the ones that usually make the most, and they’re gonna want to play this graphene trend regardless. What would you tell those folks?
Marty Biancuzzo: You know, I’d be really hesitant at this point to recommend jumping with two feet into anything. But for those listeners who are really chomping at the bit and have to get in immediately, there’s a company named CVV; the symbol for that is Charlie Victor Victor, CVV. It’s kind of a pick-and-shovel company for graphene. They’re the companies that make the printers that are being used in the lab at the moment to create graphene. They’re also making the equipment to test graphene at this point. So it’s not necessarily a pure-play on it, but their equipment is being used in the labs that are currently creating graphene.
Robert Williams: Okay, there you have it. Marty, thanks for your time.
Marty Biancuzzo: Thank you for having me.
Robert Williams: Marty Biancuzzo is the chief technology analyst with Wall Street Daily, and I can assure you any breaking news in the graphene market or if a play develops, Marty will be the first to report it. From Wall Street Daily, I’m Robert Williams.