23 Jul 2024


$10.4m project will use graphene to boost motor performance

A Canadian company called NanoXplore, which specialises in the production and application of graphene and derived materials, has joined forces with Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to support the commercialisation of lighter, more reliable and higher-efficiency components for electric motors using graphene-enhanced engineering plastics instead of metals. The value of the project – which is targeting transport applications, in particular – is $10.4m.

Today’s motors and related systems for electric vehicles use mostly metal components, which can be heavy, require labour-intensive assembly, and result in undesirable heat losses. Plastics, by comparison, are lightweight, easy to shape or mould, and do not rust. However, replacing the metals with plastics will require innovative polymers with unique thermal, electrical, and strength characteristics.

By adding trace amounts of graphene to selected polymers, NanoXplore says it can tailor engineering plastics to improve electric motors and the systems they are used in.

“Next-generation electric and hybrid vehicles need to address the range limitation issue,” explains the company’s president and CEO, Dr Soroush Nazarpour. “NanoXplore uses graphene to enable next-generation commercial vehicles, in part through extremely lightweight polymer structures.

SDTC – an arm’s-length foundation created by the Canadian government to support innovative and entrepreneurial clean-technology projects – is contributing $3.3m to the project. “SDTC’s support,” says Nazarpour, “will help us accelerate our product development and market launch efforts both in Canada and in international markets”.

Montreal-based NanoXplore, founded in 2011, is Canada’s biggest producer of graphene. Its core technology is a patented, low-cost and environmentally friendly process for manufacturing graphene from natural flake graphite. It disperses small amounts of graphene into polymers to produce high-performance composites with enhanced mechanical, thermal and electrical properties.

NanoXplore inaugurated a new blow and injection-moulded plastic facility earlier this year to manufacture engineered plastics products, and is already supplying to more than 30 customers. Applications include enclosures with built-in EMI shielding and thermal management, impermeable containers, piping and next-generation batteries.

By the end of the year, a new 1,580m2 graphene production and engineering facility will increase NanoXplore’s graphene production capacity to 65 tonnes per year.