Company Profile

Graphene Leaders Canada

One Edmonton company is poised to capitalize on an innovative new material with revolutionary potential.

Various Graphene Substances

The Miracle Material of the Future

It has been called the “Miracle Material of the Future.” Three hundred times stronger than steel and seven times harder than a diamond, it is the strongest material ever tested. A million times thinner than a human hair, it is nearly transparent and it is extremely flexible. It can withstand extreme temperatures; it is a thousand times more conductive than copper.

It is called graphene, and it is the focus of one company located here in Edmonton.

Graphene is the two-dimensional, single atomic layer of graphite, the mineral commonly used as pencil lead. Theorized about since the late 1940’s, graphene was only first isolated, extracted, and characterized in 2004 by scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of the University of Manchester. They, notably, were knighted and received the Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering research. Following the demonstration that commercial scale production was possible with the element, the commercialization of graphene and the search for its applicable uses has been quickly advancing. 

Graphene Leaders Canada

Vials of Graphene Leaders Canada's G+ Liquid Pristine Graphene

Caught up in this search is Donna Mandau. As the Founder, President & CEO of Graphene Leaders Canada (GLC), she is working to help her company capitalize on the material’s revolutionary capabilities.

As Mandau explains, “Our focus is to develop high quality, high purity graphene nanomaterials and use those materials in the development of applications…We're proudly Canadian looking for our Canadian partners who have global reach.”

GLC is the only graphene production and application solutions company in Western Canada, and one of four in Canada. And with industry partners lined up to use this technology, they are now poised to enter the market.  

Currently, their focus is on finding application solutions where their graphene can improve a product. Their slogan is “Making Great Products Even Greater”, and their competitive advantage is material science expertise that allows them to easily integrate their technology into existing product development. This is done through the utilization of their liquid phase and green production process. They produce high quality, high purity graphene nanomaterials, from aerogels, hydrogels, and fiber filtrations, to their patent-pending G+ Protective Coating for metal surfaces. These serve as a platform technology, which are leveraged to add value to many varying applications, depending on need.

“Not only do we make quality product but we know how to work with it. We can develop a formulation that's specific to an application that our clients can then work into their existing technology”, Mandau says.

For instance, while able to support a nearly unlimited number of vertical development opportunities, one application for GLC is to use their G+ Protective Coating on pipelines in place of traditional metal coatings like standard Electroless Nickel. This would significantly increase lubricity and hardness and improve on the resistance to wear abrasion and corrosion, resulting in cost savings and a safer product—one that requires less maintenance and fewer replacements compared to others utilizing less resilient solutions.

Unique to every other graphene company, though, is that they are developing products that utilize graphene as a filtration platform for water and air purification, which could have massive implications for environmental, remediation, and sustainability industries.

Research and Development

More than just business, GLC is also advancing the scientific and regulatory frontier of this new industry. Their researchers, led by Director of Research and Development, Dr. Leah Coumont, are trying to further unlock graphene’s potential, while also attempting to implement a regulatory framework and common standard by which the material can be assessed. Doing so will hopefully curb the sale of counterfeit graphene. As Mandau explains, “There are a lot of companies that are mass producing, or claiming they’re making tons of, graphene, but many are not producing the quality material that would meet the criteria of what graphene really is.” As an analogy, she adds, “You can have a cubic zirconia and you can have a diamond. They might look the same, but their properties and their value are very different…Dr. Leah Coumont is a voice and a representative for graphene standardization, developing guidelines for testing and quality material development.”

Dr. Leah Coumont, Director of Research and Development at GLC

The Benefits of Edmonton

Based here in Edmonton, GLC has found our city to have some distinct advantages for a company working in such innovative areas. Of particular value are the world-class research institutions present, which have been “fabulously supportive”, according to Dr. Coumont. Mandau adds:

"One benefit from being in Edmonton, from a technical perspective, is that we're in very close proximity to the National Institute for Nanotechnology. That's a great facility we have intimate access to, as well as the Nanotechnology Research Centre at the University of Alberta. So really all those facilities, through the NRC and the University of Alberta, are infinitely important to us in the work that we do…We’re also just down the road from Alberta Innovates, which is a great resource for us as well."

GLC is one of many local companies that embodies the hardworking and innovative spirit of Edmonton, and Mandau is confident that the work they are doing here will have far-reaching effects.

“This is a chance for Canada to be in the race. It's called the global graphene race. We're in it. We're in it to win.”