Directa Plus pioneers graphene use as sector evolves

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What it does

Textiles

Directa Plus PLC (LON:DCTA) has signed deals with consumer brands Oakley and Bioracer, which used the company’s Graphene Plus (G+) to launch a cycling jersey in early July.

Alfredo Grassi, another customer, is one of Italy’s largest workwear suppliers while G+ will also be used to treat a range of jeans made by Arvind, one of India’s top textile groups. 

Directa Plus is also part of a €1mln EU-sponsored initiative to develop a digital printing method for textiles using graphene.

Transport, oil and gas

Directa is working with Marangoni – one of Italy’s leading re-tread companies – to produce better performing tyres for commercial buses and lorries.

Cycle tyre maker Vittoria was the first manufacturer to use Directa’s products, firstly in a carbon fibre wheel, and then in “intelligent” bicycle tyres.

Grafysorber 

In the oil and gas sector, the firm has joined forces with Italian firm Sartec to develop a commercial-scale industrial system using its graphene-based Grafysorber product for treating oil-contaminated produced water.

Directa owns a majority stake in oil services partner, Romanian firm Setcar.

 

How it is doing

The end of May 2021 will see Giorgio Bonfanti take up the position of chief financial officer. Bonfanti has been employed by the global accountancy network PwC since 2014, working out of their Milan office. His most recent role was as a senior manager in their Deals practice, which is focussed on assistance with stock exchange listings, due diligence, company valuations, business plans, financial restructuring and accounting audits.

The company had a good 2020, beating revenue guidance. Turnover for 2020 is expected to clock in at around €6.7mln; the company had previously issued guidance for 2020 of €6.5mln for revenues.

The momentum continued into 2021, with revenues in the first quarter expected to be some 20% higher year-on-year at roughly €1.8mln.

The group’s order book stands at around €4.3mln and is expected to be delivered over the remainder of this year, while the order pipeline was described as “strong”.

Progress at the group’s environmental subsidiary, Setcar, continues to be very positive, the group said.

Deals and partnerships continue to flow through at a healthy pace.

The latest was a technical and commercial agreement with NexTech Batteries, a company in the field of lithium-sulphur batteries based in Nevada.

Under the agreement, Directa will supply NexTech with its pristine graphene nanoplatelets, a key raw material for manufacturing the cathode of Lithium Sulphur batteries.

The relationship appears to be steadily deepening, with Directa Plus announcing in March that it had participated with NexTech in a joint presentation on a roadshow aimed at potential industrial customers and universities in Italy. In addition, Directa and NexTech have now established a joint laboratory in Lomazzo, with the objective of developing new specific grades of G+ graphene nanoplatelets for the next generation of higher performance lithium-sulphur (Li-S) batteries. Scientists from both companies are participating in this development.

Elsewhere, Setcar’s contract with OMV Petrom has resulted in some 7,700 cubic metres of emulsion being treated in 2021 up to the middle of March, recovering roughly 1,800 tonnes of crude oil. With a treatment rate of about 80 cubic metres per day, the company expects to treat 8,800 cubic metres of emulsion and recover more than 2,000 tonnes of crude oil by the end of the first quarter of this year.

Directa also published a two-year research study into the benefits of the use of its graphene additive G+ in advanced textiles and fashion, while research by the Catholic University of Rome confirmed the strong antiviral properties of its graphene-enhanced coronavirus mask. The company revealed in March it has developed an improved version of the face mask filter.

 

What the boss says: Giulio Cesareo, chief executive

“During the period we have made strong advances across our key industrial verticals, with significant contract wins for Setcar and material progress in the commercialisation of the Gipave with our partner, Iterchimica.”

“Our strategy of partnering with leading Italian and European industrial partners to bring G+ graphene-enhanced products to existing markets is working well. In addition, new collaboration agreements with globally recognised product design partners, often backed by leading multinational manufacturers, demonstrate that we have a strong pipeline of additional research and development options.”

“The development of our new Co-mask from concept to production and sale in just a few months is something of which I am personally particularly proud. The recently announced testing showing the mask’s efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 proves that our efforts have been worthwhile and that we can help fight against Covid-19 and its effects. Directa Plus Co-Mask now offers end users an upgrade from the basic functionality of a normal face mask, going beyond simply filtering droplets to providing antiviral qualities, improved thermal comfort and improved environmental sustainability.”

 

Video

 

Inflexion points

  • Setcar investment keeps improving
  • High demand for face masks
  • New San Giorgio Bridge in Genoa built with Iterchimica’s Gipave asphalt supermodifier 

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