Could graphene be an answer to the problems of sustainable development and resource preservation? That, in fact, is the game plan for Carbon Waters, which is applying its environmentally responsible policies to the production, logistics, and development of raw materials. A discussion with Alban Chesneau, CEO of Carbon Waters, follows.
Carbon Waters CEO Alban Chesneau began our talk by explaining that “the chemistry sector has to embrace new practices that are more respectful of the environment in its activities, its processes, and its products.” He added, “From the very beginning, we have paid special attention to the impact of our manufacturing processes, transportation, and the uses for our waste products.” The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint and preserve resources. And that starts with its imports of raw materials, mostly graphite, directly from the United States. “The pandemic showed us how important it was to have a more local, more flexible supply chain, so we don’t have any interruptions or delays,” Chesneau continued. “That’s why, today, we are looking into raw materials from Europe, mainly Germany and France.”
Synthetic Graphite—and Methane!
With that same goal in mind, Carbon Waters is considering using custom-made synthetic graphite, to preserve natural resources. In addition to synthetic graphite, the start-up is interested in new sources of carbon materials, in particular, methane-based products. Chesneau informed us, “By using pyrolysis, we can convert the gas into a solid carbon. But it is still too early to tell if this type of carbon truly has potential in terms of sustainable development, because of the high temperatures required to transform the gas into carbon material.” That is the challenge for the future: use more technology, but less energy.
The start-up is also introducing new manufacturing practices, such as replacing toxic solvents, mainly THF, with bio-based organic solvents. “In 2020, we ran our first assessment of the carbon impact of our industrial process to identify our successes and our areas for improvement,” stated Chesneau. “Some areas we considered were using water resources, solvent recycling, and developing and exploiting by-products.”
One thing is certain: Carbon Waters graphene checks all the boxes for progress toward a more sustainable mode of production and the adoption of renewable methods to reduce the environmental impact of coatings, plastics, and composites.