Speaker interview: Christopher Ahmer, NanoXplore
This year, Christopher Ahmer, NanoXplore's Business Development Manager, will be speaking at the Plastics Recycling World Expo conference. Ahead of the event, we had the pleasure of speaking to Christopher to find out more about NanoXplore and what will be covered in his presentation.
Christopher is responsible for matching NanoXplore’s GrapheneBlackTM with market applications that can take advantage of this technology. In practice, this means working to find and understand new markets, proactively reaching out to companies that could utilize graphene, responding to external requests for graphene, and guiding companies through the process of evaluating and commercializing products that use graphene.
One of the key markets that the organization has identified as being well-positioned to take advantage of its technology, is the recycling market, and thus some of his key responsibilities are related to helping people understand how graphene can be used to improve the functionality and utility of recycled resins.
What are the biggest challenges facing the market today and how can this be overcome?
Price and supply availability of graphene were previously the primary roadblocks to adoption of NanoXplore’s technology. Those have recently been overcome though, and we can now offer an order of magnitude increase in supply that is also concurrent with a similar reduction in price compared to other graphene providers. This makes graphene something that can finally be considered for use in compounding recycled resins, which helps the recycling industry take more advantage of what would have previously been almost entirely unusable material. With the current tight supply of all sorts of resins the demand for recycled material has of course increased as well, but not all recycled resins can be considered equal and for many users a vast majority of recycled materials are simply not capable of being used. We aim to change this with the incorporation of graphene in these wide-spec or low quality recycled resins, and hope that this will allow more companies to further build their sustainability story by using more cost-effective recycled material.
In your opinion, what do you consider to be the greatest development in your industry in the last decade?
I’m bias of course, but probably the IP related to the more cost-effective production of high quality graphene from NanoXplore. This is obviously more related to graphene directly, but I think this could have a big impact on the recycling industry as well, for the reasons stated in my answer to the previous question.
How do you see the sector developing in the next five to ten years?
First, graphene for recycled resins will enable the use of wider spec and lower quality material. This will give people some important experience and comfort with graphene to begin with. After that, companies will likely begin to work to take advantage of graphene’s other value-add properties in virgin materials.
You will be speaking at AMI’s plastics industry expos in Cleveland in November, could you give us a preview on what you will be talking about?
I’m going to be talking about graphene for the recycling industry. Both from the standpoint of processing and mechanical performance, graphene helps restore highly variable recycling streams so that they can continue to be a part of the recycling stream. We are hoping that this not only improves sustainability around the globe by increasing the amount of material capable of being re-used, but that it also helps ease tight supply for both high end recycled and virgin resins.
Register for your free ticket to this year's Plastics Recycling World Expo conference to hear valuable insights from Christopher Ahmer.