Graphene composites could reduce reliance on critical raw materials for automotive, aerospace, and energy applications. This was the message at the workshop co-hosted by EIT RawMaterials, Hub Innovation Trentino and the Graphene Flagship in Trento, Italy, on 12 October 2017.

The Graphene Composite Innovation Day workshop, held at the Foundation Bruno Kessler (FBK) in Trento, Italy, and co-hosted by EIT RawMaterials, Hub Innovation Trentino (HIT), and the Graphene Flagship, was focused on how graphene’s benefits can be applied in the composites industry. Industry and academic participants shared ideas on how graphene can be used in composites for the automotive industry, in new energy technologies and to solve critical issues with supply of raw materials.

After the introduction of the activities carried out for the promotion of the innovation by the organisers EIT RawMaterials and Graphene Flagship, the first session on the “highlights from the labs” made an overview of the advancement ongoing from the research side. In this session, Prof Nicola Pugno from the University of Trento presented the use of graphene in Bio-inspired products, Prof Luca Valentini from the University of Perugia, presented Nano-elastomers with multifunctional properties, while Matteo Testi showed the activities ongoing in FBK.

Daniele Pullini, from Centro Ricerche Fiat, a partner in both EIT RawMaterials and the Graphene Flagship, in the “industry” session described the visions that Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) has for graphene’s potential uses in the automobile industry, such as the use of graphene-composite switches for dashboard panels, substituting wiring and cabling.

The last part of the day named “Innovation Garden”, included a start-up competition, in which four European startups pitched their companies to a panel of expert judges from industry and academia from EIT RawMaterials and the Graphene Flagship. The company Gnext from Italy won the €1000 prize awarded by EIT RawMaterials, with their own method to produce liquid phase exfoliated graphene used to produce a first mass product: graphene-coated films in electronics packaging, replacing the aluminium typically used in anti-static packaging, with reduced cost and environmental benefits.

The workshop demonstrated the shared goals of EIT RawMaterials and the Graphene Flagship in supporting innovation and translating research into new technologies.

Learn more about the Graphene Composite Innovation Day here.

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