Graphite is a critical resource to mankind, which uses lubricants and nuclear reactors. While it can be made synthetically, natural graphite is the preferred raw material for a number of industrial applications including the production of anodes for lithium-ion batteries. With the advent of hybrid and electric vehicles, the demand for these batteries is predicted to increase immensely in the next few years. Hence, it is timely to question whether there is enough of this resource to keep up with demand. In 2011, the European Union listed 14 raw materials that were considered as critical to their economic stability. Natural graphite was one of them, expected to be of higher economic importance and to be at a higher supply risk than cobalt, gallium or platinum, to name a few. Likely, ensuring a supply-demand balance for graphite worldwide will require mankind to push forward the current boundaries of science and engineering of carbon materials.
Pedro Da Costa
Dr. Pedro M. F. J. Costa is the Principal Investigator of the Laboratory for Carbon Nanostructures and Assistant Professor at the Materials Science and Engineering Program of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). He lives in KAUST with his wife and three children.
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