Shengquan bet­ting big on biomass graphene industry

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By LYUCHANG in Bei­jing and ZHAO RUIXUE in Ji­nan Con­tact the writ­ers at lvchang@chi­ and zhaoruixue@ chi­

Edi­tor’s note: In this on­go­ing se­ries on the birth and growth of pri­vately owned Chi­nese com­pa­nies that are re­defin­ing in­no­va­tion, China Daily pro­files Ji­nan Shengquan Group, a bio­engi­neer­ing com­pany which is bet­ting big on a new biomass-graphene ma­te­rial.

Ji­nan Shengquan Group, a bio­engi­neer­ing com­pany, is bet­ting big on a new biomass-graphene ma­te­rial that may trig­ger a tril­lion­dol­lar industry.

The Ji­nan-based com­pany de­vel­oped a kind of ma­te­rial known as biomass graphene, ex­tracted from straw and corn cob and claims it can be used for the far-in­frared ther­apy, which some re­ports said can stim­u­late blood cir­cu­la­tion and oxy­genate the body’s cells.

A study by Fatma Vatan­sever and Michael Ham­blin, re­searchers at Mas­sachusetts Gen­eral Hospital and Har­vard Med­i­cal School, con­cluded: “If it can be proved that non-heat­ing far-in­frared has real and sig­nif­i­cant bi­o­log­i­cal ef­fects, then the fu­ture ap­pli­ca­tions are wide-rang­ing ... there is a large po­ten­tial mar­ket in lifestyle en­hanc­ing ap­pli­ca­tions .”

Graphene, a sin­gle layer of car­bon only one atom thick, is re­mark­ably strong for its very low weight — 100 times stronger than steel — and it con­ducts heat and elec­tric­ity with great ef­fi­ciency. But, the so-called biomass graphene is a mul­ti­layer car­bon.

Tang Yilin, chair­man of the board of the bio­chem­i­cal com­pany, said that though the ma­te­rial is 10 times or even 30 times thicker than graphene, what re­ally mat­ters is it ben­e­fits hu­man’s health and yields more added value than a nor­mal cot­ton prod­uct.

Anor­mal pair of socks costs gen­er­ally 10 yuan ($1.5) to 50 yuan, but when they are added with biomass graphene, the price will rise to 200 yuan to 300 yuan. He said this ma­te­rial can be used in many in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing cloth­ing, in­ter­nal dec­o­ra­tion for ve­hi­cles and plas­tic surgery treat­ment ma­te­ri­als.

“We are now pro­duc­ing more than 100 kinds of prod­ucts such as pil­lows and un­der­wear with the ma­te­rial of fiber graphene,” Tang said. “The smart ma­te­rial can keep us warm and also has anti-virus and anti-bac­te­rial fea­tures, an­ti­static ca­pa­bil­ity, and pro­tec­tion from ul­tra­vi­o­let ra­di­a­tion.”

Tang said com­pared with the tra­di­tional way of mak­ing graphene, the new ma­te­rial made from crops is gen­er­ally cost-ef­fi­cient.

The com­pany now has a pro­duc­tion line that can pro­duce 100 met­ric tons of biomass graph en ea year. A new pro­duc­tion line with an­nual ca­pac­ity of 1,000 tons is un­der de­sign to meet the in­creas­ing de­mand for biomass graphene.

Last year, Yao Mu, an aca­demi­cian from the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing, and a team of ex­perts ex­am­ined and ap­proved the “Heal­fiber” de­vel­oped by Shengquan. “The tech­nol­ogy is very ad­vanced by many ex­ist­ing bench­marks, an­dit is in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized,” he said.

Set up in 1979, Shengquan started to de­velop biomass graphene sev­eral years ago, as it is shift­ing from the busi­nesses of mak­ing fu­ran resin and phe­no­lic ma­te­rial, which have seen a large drop in sales amid fall­ing prices and over­ca­pac­ity.

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