Why US Graphene Manufacturers Should be Utilizing the REACH Graphene Consortium
Let’s be honest, we’re all graphene enthusiasts here, and we all know that standards and regulations aren’t the sexiest area of graphene to be discussing.
Nevertheless, they are vital areas if graphene is going to reach the potential that has been prophesized. Regulations and standards are now starting to become ever important for graphene as industries start to adopt graphene in their products.
One of the main issues, especially within the U.S., is that a different level of standards can be a barrier to some markets — particularly the EU market, where regulations in all forms tend to be more stringent that anywhere in the world.
So, U.S. graphene companies are going need to start adopting a global view and ensure their processes meets these standards if they are to sell in some of the key global markets.
I recently spoke Bernhard Münzing, who chairs the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) graphene consortium about what US companies need to do to sell large volumes of graphene in EU markets, and how the consortium can help US companies to become certified for these markets.
The REACH Graphene Consortium
The REACH graphene consortium is an industry led group that uses a collective knowledge to develop accurate registration documents so that companies can sell graphene within the EU.
While it’s possible to sell small amounts, capitalizing on a market requires a large production output that can fill minimum order quotas (MOQs), and if you want to produce and sell over a tonne per annum of graphene (or graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide) to EU markets, then you will need a REACH registration.
The aim of the graphene consortium is to help companies obtain the registration much easier than they could on their own, and because many minds (with different data) come together, it is an appealing way of gaining a competitive advantage rather than trying to go it alone.
So, for those who are looking for assistance in selling large quantities of graphene outside of the US, then the graphene consortium is a group who can help.
The Need for U.S. Involvement
The graphene consortium is a sum of its parts and more working partners are required from every region of world. As it stands, there is only one U.S. company involved with the graphene consortium, and this is the Global Graphene Group.
There are no extra barriers for U.S. companies to get involved with REACH and any company who is a part of the consortium is able to influence testing strategies, definitions and costs, and is a much cheaper alternative to buying a letter of access (which has recurring costs).
The consortium is also working on a global dossier that will help any company from any country to apply for a REACH registration.
However, in some cases, original studies surrounding graphene quality, graphene volumes, and applications are required from the country that the company is applying from. For cases where an original study is required, companies can only get access to the full study report (including copies) if they are a member of the consortium.
The more U.S. companies that get involved with US-focused studies, the more likely it will be that U.S. companies get accepted (providing they meet the standards in the studies), so it’s a collective effort that could be of benefit to both US companies and the industry as a whole.
There’s lots to think about when it comes to regulations, standards and procedures, especially when we’re talking about a global market.
The US graphene industry has been developing for a number of years and there is a large volume output collectively from the companies across the U.S.
However, if the U.S. graphene industry is to become a global player, then it’s going to need access to some of the biggest markets in the world, and the EU is one of the biggest (especially when it comes to advanced materials).
So, despite a lack of participation and involvement from U.S. companies so far, it’s something that a lot of companies should be thinking about, as a collective approach will not only help U.S. companies to reach new markets, it will also help to bolster the amount of U.S. studies and data available, which can be utilized in the efforts to clarify the various graphene standards and regulations taking place.
The basics of it all is, the more people who get involved, the quicker the processes will be, the more the costs will be reduced, and more companies will benefit as a result.
Those interested in joining the consortium should reach out to Bernhard directly.