MSMEs in nanotechnology: Why graphene is ‘wonder material’ for small businesses

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Published: September 18, 2019 7:06:16 PM

SME of the Week: Among the most profitable branches of nanotechnology is Graphene-based and is also hailed as the ‘wonder material’ as the carbon material is known for being the thinnest and strongest material.

Currently, India has about 40 nanotech focused small and medium businesses. (Image for representation, Source: Pixabay)

SME of the Week: Nanotechnology is an emerging but one of the fastest-growing areas of science and tech-industry as technology has incorporated itself in electronics, medicines, space, fuels, solar, sports, to a better quality of air and water etc., in some form or the other.  The Indian government has been making efforts to promote research in nanotechnology for over a decade now with initial funding of Rs 60 crores followed by larger capital support of $250 million. “Due to this, India has published over 23000 papers in nanoscience and there have been 300 patent applications,” Kartik Hajela, Founder, Log 9 Materials told Financial Express Online. The company operating in the nanotechnology domain works on developing commercially viable end products using graphene material.

Currently, India has about 40 nanotech focused small and medium businesses (SMBs) but the growth is steady even as there is a significant room for improvement. The biggest challenge, much like for small businesses in other sectors, is capital as India spends only a fraction of research and startup funding when compared to the US, Japan and China, according to Hajela. Moreover, the private sector is still not investing enough here. “Apart from long term funding, it is important to raise a major awareness campaign, train a larger workforce, initiate more research programs if Indian SMBs expects a high-impact out,” he added.

Also read: MSME procurement worrisome: Govt buying from small businesses lag behind halfway through FY20

Among the most profitable branches of nanotechnology is Graphene-based and is also hailed as the ‘wonder material’ as the carbon material is known for being the thinnest and strongest material. SMBs have a vast opportunity here since Graphene is being tested and used in many sectors including flexible electronics, solar cells/photovoltaics, semiconductors, water and air filtration, superconductivity, etc.

Among the key challenges for businesses here include lack of proper interface with the statutory bodies and ease of setting up manufacturing for core product based ventures, (SMBs). Also, with respect to cost, statutory compliances or licenses costs for technology-intensive startups “should be reduced or processes should be eased out so as to eradicate consultancy costs for the same,” said Hajela. Log 9 leverages graphene to develop aluminium-air batteries for EV and stationary applications. The technology is end-to-end clean and is cheaper across its life cycle compared to currently available solutions.

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