Graphene and 2D Materials for Sustainability

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Graphene and 2D materials are a class of materials that consist of single or few layers of atoms arranged in a twodimensional lattice structure. Graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice, is the most wellknown example of a 2D material. These materials exhibit unique and remarkable properties, such as exceptional strength, high electrical and thermal conductivity, and flexibility, making them promising for various applications in electronics, energy storage, composites, and other fields.

Impact on climate action

Graphene and 2D Materials for Sustainability within Advanced Materials revolutionize climate action by enabling lightweight, high-strength materials for various applications. By enhancing energy efficiency, improving renewable energy storage, and reducing resource consumption, these innovations contribute to a more sustainable and low-carbon future, advancing the transition to green technologies.


  • Atomically Thin Structures: The unique properties of graphene and 2D materials arise from their atomically thin structure. The arrangement of atoms in a twodimensional lattice leads to strong covalent bonds within the plane of the material, resulting in exceptional strength and stiffness.

  • Electronic Properties: Graphene and other 2D materials exhibit unique electronic properties, such as high electron mobility and tunable bandgaps, making them suitable for applications in electronics, optoelectronics, and energy storage.

  • Thermal Properties: These materials have high thermal conductivity, making them suitable for heat dissipation applications in electronics and other devices.

  • Mechanical Properties: Graphene and 2D materials are incredibly strong and flexible, making them ideal for use in composites and other structural applications.

TRL : 4-7 (depending on the specific material and application)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Graphene Production Methods: Researchers and companies are developing new and improved methods for producing highquality graphene at scale, including chemical vapor deposition (CVD), exfoliation, and liquidphase exfoliation.

  • 2D Material Heterostructures: Combining different 2D materials into heterostructures can create materials with tailored properties for specific applications.

  • Functionalization of 2D Materials: Functionalization involves modifying the surface or structure of 2D materials to enhance their properties or introduce new functionalities.

  • Applications in Electronics and Energy Storage: Graphene and 2D materials are being explored for use in transistors, sensors, batteries, supercapacitors, and other electronic and energy storage devices.

  • Composites and Structural Materials: These materials can be incorporated into composites to improve their strength, stiffness, and electrical conductivity.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Advanced Graphene Synthesis Techniques
  • Tailored Properties through 2D Material Heterostructures
  • Surface Functionalization for Enhanced Performance
  • Next-Generation Electronics with Graphene
  • Energy Storage with Graphene Batteries
  • Graphene Composites
  • Graphene Sensors for Precision Detection Solutions
  • Graphene in Optoelectronics
  • Biomedical Applications of 2D Materials
  • Graphene-Based Flexible Electronics
  • Sustainable Energy Solutions with Graphene
  • Graphene Nanoplatelets for Industrial Applications
  • Graphene in Aerospace for Lightweight Innovations
  • Graphene Reinforced Concrete
  • Graphene Coatings for Corrosion Protection
  • Graphene for Water Purification
  • 2D Materials in Quantum Computing
  • Graphene-Based Wearable Technology
  • Graphene for Smart Farming Solutions

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • Graphenea:
    • Technology Enhancement: Graphenea is a leading manufacturer of high-quality graphene and related 2D materials through a proprietary chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Graphenea’s expertise lies in producing large-area, uniform, and high-purity graphene films with precise control over thickness and properties, enabling applications in electronics, energy storage, sensors, and more.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Graphenea serves industries requiring advanced materials with exceptional electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties, including electronics, photonics, aerospace, automotive, and healthcare.
  • Haydale Graphene Industries:
    • Technology Enhancement: Haydale specializes in functionalizing graphene and other 2D materials to enhance their dispersion, compatibility, and performance in various applications.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Haydale’s proprietary plasma-based processes enable the functionalization of graphene and other nanomaterials, allowing for improved material properties and easier integration into composites, coatings, polymers, and more.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Haydale caters to industries seeking enhanced materials for applications such as conductive inks, reinforced polymers, energy storage devices, thermal management solutions, and anti-corrosion coatings.
  • XG Sciences:
    • Technology Enhancement: XG Sciences specializes in the production of graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) and related graphene-based materials using a scalable exfoliation process.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: XG Sciences’ graphene nanoplatelets offer a cost-effective solution for improving the mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties of various materials, including polymers, composites, coatings, and lubricants.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: XG Sciences serves industries seeking lightweight, strong, and conductive materials for applications such as automotive components, aerospace structures, energy storage devices, sports equipment, and electronics.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Research Focus: MIT is a leading institution in the study and application of graphene and other 2D materials, focusing on their synthesis, characterization, and integration into various devices and systems.
    • Uniqueness: Their research often explores novel methods for large-scale production of high-quality graphene and other 2D materials, as well as their functionalization and manipulation at the atomic level to tailor their properties.
    • End-use Applications: MIT’s work spans a wide range of applications, including electronics, photonics, energy storage, and biomedical devices. For example, they’re developing graphene-based transistors for faster and more energy-efficient electronics and 2D material-based electrodes for high-performance batteries and supercapacitors.
  • University of Manchester:
    • Research Focus: The University of Manchester is renowned for its groundbreaking work on graphene, including its isolation and characterization, as well as the exploration of its properties and potential applications.
    • Uniqueness: Their research played a pivotal role in the discovery of graphene and continues to push the boundaries of its applications, from fundamental studies of its electronic properties to the development of practical devices.
    • End-use Applications: The University of Manchester’s research has paved the way for innovations in electronics, materials science, and healthcare. For instance, they’re exploring graphene-based sensors for detecting gases and biomolecules, as well as transparent conductive films for flexible electronics and displays.
  • National University of Singapore (NUS):
    • Research Focus: NUS conducts cutting-edge research on graphene and 2D materials, with a focus on advancing their synthesis techniques, understanding their properties, and exploring new applications.
    • Uniqueness: Their research often involves the development of hybrid materials and heterostructures combining graphene and other 2D materials to create multifunctional systems with enhanced properties.
    • End-use Applications: NUS’s research has applications in areas such as optoelectronics, sensing, and environmental remediation. For example, they’re investigating graphene-based membranes for water purification and 2D material-based photodetectors for high-speed optical communication.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Graphene and 2D materials are being implemented in various commercial applications, including:

  • Electronics: Graphene is used in touch screens, transistors, and other electronic devices due to its high electrical conductivity and transparency.

  • Composites: Graphene and other 2D materials are being incorporated into composites to improve their strength, stiffness, and electrical conductivity.

  • Energy Storage: Graphene is being explored for use in batteries and supercapacitors to improve energy density and charging speed.