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Ionic Industries

Matter of Interest

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 15:37 :02 ): I rise today to speak about Ionic Industries and graphene technology. Ionic Industries is Australia's only company focused on the commercialisation of graphene technologies. After achieving a range of critical milestones over the past five years and a number of recent successes, they are currently planning for their next stage of growth and progress toward developing real applications for graphene-based technologies in the fields of energy storage, nanofiltration and water treatment.

This is an Australian company developing cutting-edge technologies with potential application across diverse sectors, including electronics, industrial processing, telecommunications, renewable energy, defence and aerospace. Ionic's base technology is graphene oxide, which is produced in commercial quantities in its pilot plant at the new Tonsley high-tech industrial precinct.

Graphene and its oxide have many extraordinary properties. It is extremely thin, transparent, and is considered one of the strongest materials in the universe. It is conductive and heat resistant. Ionic's strategy for exploiting graphene's unique characteristics is to modify the chemical, structural and electrical properties of graphene to tailor its performance to the application.

Their research and development team have experience with customising graphene in innovative ways and are developing three primary graphene-based product ranges that can be applied in many industrial contexts. The first is SuperSand which can be used in various forms as cost-effective water filtration solutions for removal of different pollutants and organic compounds. It will compete very effectively in activated carbon markets worth approximately $5 billion globally.

The second is nanofiltration membranes, which have extraordinary properties applicable in a range of industries including water treatment, mining, pharmaceuticals and food processing. These membranes have very high chemical resistance, making them safer and lower maintenance; are 10 times higher flux than polymer membranes, resulting in much greater efficiency; have very high mechanical strength for reduced maintenance and lifetime cost; and are highly modifiable during manufacture, which enables precise customisation for different applications.

The third product range is high performance supercapacitors that will provide unique performance characteristics targeting a number of high-value energy storage applications, including those currently addressed by lithium ion technologies. There has been a lot of media attention on graphene in recent times and there has already been a number of success stories outside of Australia.

Ionic is pursuing the commercialisation of technologies and is taking its next developmental steps in South Australia. The South Australian government has been very supportive of Ionic Industries, and they believe that the incubative environment that the government is creating at Tonsley will generate a range of opportunities as Ionic moves towards the commercialisation of its technologies.

Furthermore, there are skills, equipment and resources available in South Australia that will be able to be leveraged to the mutual benefit of all stakeholders. South Australia will be better able to maintain its position as a leader in the defence sector by leveraging existing expertise in manufacturing and turning it to new innovative applications. Within the right environment, this could lead to many opportunities for the state and increase employment whilst clearly identifying South Australia as a state that supports innovative technology and manufacturing.