Progress in the Commercialization of Graphene

European Plastics News posted an article on it's site last week,("Graphene developers seek routes out of the lab"), focusing on challenges to and progress in the commercialization of graphene, specifically its "potential as a mutlifunctional reinforcement in composites".

Among the challenges the article raises are:

1) Entangling of 3D carbon nanotubes (CNTS) bundles

2) Individual graphite sheets restacking themselves

3) Handling of such shets during transportation to processing facilities

4) Reduction of costs of production and transportation

5) A need to develop standard operating procedures for potential health hazards

While these challenges may seem daunting, the success of three companies - Vorbeck Materials of Maryland,Cabot Corporation of Massachusetts, and Thomas Swan & Co., based in the United Kingdom - are highlighted.

The article also discusses the ongoing support of  the European Commission (EC) and the UK's government of research in graphene and how to commercialize it.:

The European Commission is planning to channel €1bn over 10 years into co-ordinated graphene research and commercialisation. The UK government has announced it wants to spend another £50m (€60.7m) to keep the UK at the forefront of graphene research, with the University of Manchester set to host a national institute of graphene research. Commercialisation of graphene by this route could arrive by late 2012.

Converted in US dollars, the EC will be spending $1.278 billion and the UK $78.153 million.

New Edition of NanoLawReport

Here is the Summer 2010 edition of NanoLawReport.  Heading out to the beach for a few days to top off the summer.  :)

Are Nano Consumer Products Headed Underground?

EurActiv.com (EU News, Policy Positions, and EU Actions on line) published an article on June 15, 2009 entitled "Nanotech claims 'dropped' for fear of consumer recoil." 

The article reported on a nanotechnology conference which took place in Brussels during the week of June 10 at which a scientist from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies maintained that some of the current environmental, health, and safety controversy accompanying certain nanoscale materials is not grounded in scientific fact, but has nonetheless led some manufacturers to remove "nano" from their product labels and advertising. He further stated that "we have seen some companies drop the 'nano' claim while continuing to use nanotechnology. This suggests nanotechnology is going underground."

Providing a counterpoint, the Director of the European Nanotechnology Industries Association said that "[v]arying definitions [of nanotechnology] leads to claims that the industry is not open to information. But nobody is lying and nobody is misleading the public or authorities. Let's agree on what we're talking about and work together to inform consumers."

Nanotechnology Law Report -- Spring 2009

EC Official Urges International Cooperation

According to a FDAnews Device Daily Bulletin dated October 30, 2006, Philippe Martin, principal administrator for the EC’s nanotechnology and policy efforts, recently advocated international cooperation and self-regulation in the world-wide nanotechnology industry. Martin was quoted as saying that the “U.S. industry’s ‘catch me if you can’ approach to dealing with regulators is not useful.”

I am sure U.S. industry takes issue with Martin's characterization of its self-regulation efforts.  

For proposed international approach to nanotechnology regulation see: (1) Abbott, Kenneth W., Gopalan, Sandeep, Marchant, Gary E. and Sylvester, Douglas J., "International Regulatory Regimes for Nanotechnology" (June 8, 2006); (2) Sylvester, Douglas J., Abbott, Kenneth W. and Marchant, Gary E., "A Framework Convention for Nanotechnology?" (August 21, 2006); and (3) Marchant, Gary E. and Sylvester, Douglas J., "Transnational Models for Regulation of Nanotechnology" Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Forthcoming .