Thursday, July 28, 2011

Focus Metals could realize a huge benefit in regards to the success and speed of graphene research

Focus Metals (TSXV:FMS)(OTCQX:FCSMF) is currently working diligently to bring their Lac Knife graphite deposit to production. There is of course much work to be done before the company reaches this goal, but with the amount of dedication and commitment that management is expending on this project, it is quite conceivable to view this goal as attainable. Lac Knife is a graphite deposit, that although lacking a NI 43-101 compliant document which is being completed currently, does have according to historical records 8.1MT of large flake graphite. The historical data is considered to be accurate to a large degree, since this property has had studies completed regarding resource size and grade, due to the fact that Lac Knife was nearly put into production twice.
The first feasibility study on Lac Knife was completed in 1989 by Mazarin Inc., and updated by Cambior Inc., in 1991. A recession and falling commodity prices delayed further progress for 10 years.
In 2001, Graftech International entered the picture in a joint agreement with Ballard Power Systems Inc. to produce fuel cell batteries. Strathcona Mineral Services did a worldwide search of graphite deposits and found Lac Knife’s quality of graphite to be two to three times the average grade of most deposits being mined at that time.Although Focus Metals has many advantages that help to bring Lac Knife to the forefront of most, if not all graphite deposits currently known, the one that really stands out is the "Factor 17". Focus Metals’ Lac Knife, Quebec, property holds the highest concentrate flake graphite resource in the world at nearly 17% (pre-NI 43-101). It has attracted worldwide attention because of its purity and its economic value. When comparing Lac Knife to the average graphite deposit globally we will find that 17% is not only uncommon, we will come to learn that the average graphite deposit grades at between 2.5% and 5%. To help you grasp the depth of this statement, here is a link that will help you see just what this Factor 17 means in financial terms for Focus Metals, http://www.focusmetals.ca/investors/reasons-to-own-fms/the-7-factors.

We now know that graphite holds a large value for Focus Metals. What if Focus Metals could increase this financial benefit many fold? Well that is exactly what the potential is for Focus Metals, and this comes because of a product being discovered that ultimately led to two scientists receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics. I'm sure you have already heard of this product by now, as it continues to gain attention on many fronts. Yes, it is the world's next wonder material, and it is called graphene. Since its discovery, graphene has had a virtual avalanche of interest in research. Currently there are very few universities, corporate, and government labs that do not have some type of research program in place. The future for this product appears to be so huge at this time that many are describing this as the next product that will change the world as we know it. With all the recent attention being garnered upon graphene research, and the fact that some of these research projects are reaching rather successful results, helps us to gain some insight into just how quickly graphene could become a part of our everyday life.

The novel material graphene makes faster electronics possible. Scientists at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) developed light-detectors made of graphene and analyzed their astonishing properties. This research has found a way for graphene to considerably improve the speed at which data can be exchanged between computers. The exact speed is not definitively known, since we have no known technology that can measure at these speeds. http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-material-faster-electronics.html

What has turned out to be some very interesting research, is something that is being done at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Graphene, a form of pure carbon arranged in a lattice just one atom thick, has interested countless researchers with its unique strength and its electrical and thermal conductivity. But one key property it lacks -- which would make it suitable for a plethora of new uses -- is the ability to form a band gap, needed for devices such as transistors, computer chips and solar cells. The research being conducted at MIT may have found a way to overcome this deficiency. http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-layer-method-two-three-tier-graphene.html

Graphene researchers have been troubled with one aspect of graphene. According to Dr. Dan Li, of the Monash University Department of Materials Engineering, “The reason graphene isn’t being used everywhere is that these very thin sheets, when stacked into a usable macrostructure, immediately bond together, reforming graphite. When graphene restacks, most of the surface area is lost and it doesn’t behave like graphene anymore.” However, Dr. Li and his team feel they may have discovered the key to this obstacle. Here is a link to an article that was released July 15, 2011, by Monash University, http://www.monash.edu.au/news/show/graphite-water-the-future-of-energy-storage. This is the type of research that brings an understanding of just how quickly graphene could be implemented into many uses in our daily lives.

Quantum dots are something that have been studied considerably, but most of these studies have involved the composition of toxic substances, such as lead and cadmium. The seriousness of the threats posed, by large-scale application of these, is completely unacceptable. In contrast, the 9-nm quantum dots made of graphenegraphene has a high charge carrier mobility, which means that it can quickly transport charges to the electrodes, reducing current losses and improving solar cell efficiency. In their experiments, the researchers found that GQDs blended with a conjugated polymer exhibit significantly enhanced characteristics compared to graphene sheets blended with the same polymer. http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-07-graphene-quantum-dots-low-cost-solar.html

One of the more interesting avenues of research being conducted with graphene currently is the research involving supercapacitors. Supercapacitors have the ability to hold a charge, but unlike a battery which relys on a chemical reaction to store the electric energy, supercapacitors hold this charge in the form of ions. Supercapacitors have been around for quite some time, but with the advent of graphene, now have the potential of being produced to much higher standards. Research teams from the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Texas-Austin developed a new material using graphene, a carbon-based nanomaterial, to increase the storage performance of supercapacitors. This research has led to a seemingly positive outlook for activated graphene, to become quite useful in the creation of supercapacitors capable of high storage performance. When we make reference to high storage performance, this would mean a supercapacitor capable of dramatically increased performance. http://www.ecoseed.org/technology-article-list/article/2-technology/9818-supercapacitors-reach-high-storage-performance-with-activated-graphene-


As has been mentioned numerous times, the amount of research being conducted on graphene is virtually without limit. In many instances graphene has been viewed to have tremendous potential for any number of potential uses. In the case of possible renewable energy applications, researchers have had difficulties in attempting to grow graphene. In this article by Kristin Dian Mariano, it is explained how researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered how hydrogen plays a vital role with graphene. http://www.ecoseed.org/technology-article-list/article/2-technology/10454-hydrogen-influences-graphene-growth-–-o-r-n-l-

This is of course, just a sampling of some of the research being done with graphene, and with new discoveries being made almost daily, it truly is a very exciting time to witness the birth of such a pivotal product with huge potential in so many areas of our lives.

From all this, which like I have pointed out is just a sampling, it stands clear in my opinion that this world changing product known as graphene will come to benefit Focus Metals immensely. As I pointed out at the beginning of this post, Focus Metals has a world class project, which is open to further exploration and therefore further possible expansion of resources. This coupled with a continual rising of graphite prices recently, especially the highly purified large flake graphite capable of producing graphene, and further global demand expected to sustain this trend, leaves one sensing the significant financial benefit available. On that note, I would urge anyone who may find Focus Metals of interest, as a possible investment choice, to do your own due diligence. The company's new website is an excellent place to start. Here is the link to Focus Metals' site, http://www.focusmetals.ca/

For disclosure purposes, I have received no compensation of any kind for this post. I do own shares in Focus Metals.

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