Kerala will set up a graphene industrial park to tap the opportunities of the nanomaterial as a range of vistas are opening up across multiple sectors, said Minister for Industry, Law and Coir, P Rajeeve.

The Minister was speaking at an investor meeting that deliberated on a graphene policy for the State, its applications, market potential, research and development, and challenges. The investor meeting was organised by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation.

The Kerala Budget 2022-23 announced that a suitable ecosystem for the development of R&D institutions and industries related to graphene would be set up in the State.

A new knowledge centre

The India Innovation Centre for Graphene (IICG) will be developed as a centre of knowledge conducting researches on the new technology. It is a project jointly implemented by the Kerala government and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) with Tata Steel Limited as an industrial partner and C-MET and Digital University as implementing agencies.

The Union Ministry has given administrative sanction for this while the State government has earmarked ₹15 crore as the first instalment. Meanwhile, a draft ‘Kerala Graphene Policy’ has been shared among the stakeholders for suggestions.

Graphene and its benefits

After graphene was mechanically obtained, applications within a wide range of scientific disciplines have exploded, with significant advances made in high-frequency electronics, biochemical and magnetic sensors, ultra-wide bandwidth photodetectors, and energy storage and generation.

Graphene is an allotrope of carbon consisting of a single layer of atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb nanostructure. It has become a valuable and useful nanomaterial due to its exceptionally high tensile strength, electrical conductivity, transparency, and being the thinnest two-dimensional material in the world.

Carbon is the second most abundant mass within the human body and the fourth most abundant element in the universe (by mass), after hydrogen, helium and oxygen. This makes carbon the chemical basis for all known life on earth, making graphene potentially an eco-friendly, sustainable solution for an almost limitless number of applications.