SEJONG, April 6 (Yonhap) — South Korea will move to start producing and selling products using graphene by as early as 2017, becoming one of the world’s first countries to commercialize the new advanced material, the government said Monday.
Graphene is an atom-thin sheet of carbon that can transmit electric currents by up to 1 million times faster than conventional conductors, such as copper, and has twice the strength of diamonds. The material can be used in various applications, including flexible display panels and touch-screen panels.
South Korea’s aim to become one of the world’s first nations to commercialize the new material began a decade earlier while the government named six consortia made up of 45 private firms and research institutes in 2013 to develop related technologies.
“The country believes it can create a new global market for graphene under its leadership as the country has developed leading technologies through over 10 years of research while it also has enough demand for the material in the mobile phone, display and secondary cell battery sectors,” the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a press release.
Under the latest plan, unveiled and endorsed at a meeting of the National Science and Technology Council, the government will continue to support research and development of related technologies that will enable mass production of the material by 2020.
“We expect to secure 85 key technologies related to graphene by 2020 through cooperation between the public and private sectors under the new plan,” the ministry said, noting it expects to see the first commercial product, an electromagnetic shield, in 2017.
The new technologies and products will help create some 52,000 new jobs while generating over 19 trillion won (US$17.46 billion) in sales in 2025, it added.