Graphene, a "wonder material" according to the American Physical Society, has a vast array of groundbreaking properties, including the highest strength of any isolated material. It has extraordinary conductivity, flexibility, and transparency. In fact, its initial discovery in 2004 won graphene pioneers Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. Since then, graphene has been moving quickly from research laboratories to industrial applications. Leaders in industry and academia (including Samsung, Ford, IBM, Harvard, and MIT) consider graphene as a choice material for the future of electronics, energy storage, drug delivery, and composite materials.
Graphene is a single-atomic-layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, similar to the arrangement of a chicken wire fence. Natural graphite, a mineral whose structure can be visualized as a stack of 2D graphene layers, can be used as the precursor for making graphene nanoplatelets. In the process of making graphene nanoplatelets, the graphite crystal is broken into individual graphene sheets. The Company holds a new proprietary technology encompassing the preparation and separation of atomic thin graphene platelets. This technological breakthrough represents a new, energy efficient process to manufacture, sort and classify graphene nanoparticles resulting in the potential for large-scale production of high-grade graphene at lower costs that exist in today's marketplace.
Advanced Solutions for Cryptocurrency Mining
Our technology addresses an overwhelming need for more efficient energy management in data centers, computational facilities, and cryptocurrency mining farms. Bitcoin's recent exponential rise is driving an extraordinary surge in energy usage by centers dedicated to mining cryptocurrencies. According to Bloomberg Technology, the electricity required to mine Bitcoin has risen 43% since October 2017. This not only creates a unique challenge but also an amazing opportunity.
The technology invented by our research team allows harvesting the heat generated by computational hardware in data centers or cryptocurrency mining farms and converting it into a cooling source. This cooling could be further utilized for a variety of purposes ranging from air conditioning these very data centers to food preservation. The systems built based on this technology not only increase ROI for data center operations but also reduce the environmental footprint of blockchain operations.
The electric power that has been spent for cryptocurrency mining is eventually converted to heat. In a conventional operation, this heat is wasted not only making the electricity expenses unrecoverable but also damaging the environment and contributing to climate change. This heat could be harvested and used for heating houses, industrial facilities or greenhouses. For example, the excessive heat generated by the computational facility could be removed by circulating a heat carrier fluid. Then the hot fluid is directed to the place where this heat will be removed and utilized. An example is a heat exchanger mounted on a greenhouse where the air is pumped through the heat exchanger by a fan, heating the greenhouse. The heat carrier fluid is then cooled down and directed back to the computational facility. A similar approach can be applied in a range of industries including hospitality (heating of swimming pools), food processing, distilleries, farming, and paper and plastic manufacturing.
Our technology allows using this heat energy to produce cooling by coupling the computational hardware with an absorption refrigeration system. The absorption refrigerator consists of 3 parts: the generator (where the heat is used to produce the vapor of the refrigerant), the condenser (where the refrigerant is converted into the liquid form), and the evaporator (where the refrigerant evaporates producing the cooling). The heat energy produced by the computational hardware is removed by the cooling fluid and supplied to the generator of the absorption refrigeration system that converts this heat into cooling.
An important component of the absorption refrigeration system is the absorber. The absorber is a compound either liquid or solid, that could couple with a refrigerant forming the working fluid. A part of the invention is the method of using functionalized graphene nanoplatelets as the absorber. The graphene has the gigantic specific surface area, which makes it potentially an attractive candidate for an absorber compound. Chemical groups could be attached to graphene surface making the graphene-based
Energy Management Systems for Cryptocurrency Mining
Mining is an energy-intensive computational process by which new crypto coins are created and transactions performed in the cryptocurrency space are verified. This immense amount of energy and its cost are the critical elements impacting the profitability of mining facilities. A vast majority of large-scale mining facilities use hardware based on Application-Specific Integrated Circuit Chips (ASICs) for Bitcoin mining and Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) for Ethereum mining. Cryptocurrency mining is a fast-growing industry, and the amount of energy used has been estimated to make up 0.15% of all global power utilized in 2017, and this number is expected to grow in 2018.
As of February 2018, cryptocurrency mining is estimated to be a 20 billion USD per annum industry. Most commercial ASIC miners use 1-3 kW/h each and a mining facility can host up to several thousand units. As an example, a popular Antminer S9 produced by the Chinese manufacturer, BitMain, consumes 1.25 kW/h at a 13.5TH/s hash rate. Practically all of this energy converts to heat, which means each of these machines generates a waste heat output.
Because of this, there is a global race to generate cryptocurrencies in the most cost and energy efficient manner to positively impact profitability. In the United States, the typical cost of electricity for different sources are: coal (6-14 cents/kW), gas (5-21/kW) including gas peaker plants, wind (3-6 cents/kW), nuclear (10-14 cents/kW), utility-scale solar (5-6 cents/kW), and rooftop solar (9-19 cents/kW). At the same time, hydropower is produced for an average of 85 cents/kW and the end user pays no more than 2-3 cents/kW.
While many cryptocurrency facilities are located in regions with favorable energy costs, very little attention has been given to diverting the heat generated by mining facilities for other energy-intensive enterprises located in the vicinity of these mining facilities. Therefore, the Company is capitalizing this opportunity with a potential to cut energy costs of cryptocurrency mining facilities by half.
Advanced Materials and Composites
The Industrial Materials division has capacity to incorporate graphene materials in various matrices such as thermoplastics, epoxies and inks. Our facility is equipped with materials analysis and processing equipment. We have advancing in several thrust areas:
- Ultralight functional materials
- Electrical conductive elastomers
- Materials for thermal management
- Materials for 3D Printing
- Mechanically reinforced resins