Japan's Sojitz invests in Singapore graphene start-up 2D Materials
SINGAPORE, NNA - Japanese trading house Sojitz Corp. has acquired an equity stake in 2D Materials Pte. Ltd. to take advantage of the Singaporean start-up's manufacturing technology to commercialize "graphene" nanocarbon materials.
The investment amount and other details were not disclosed about a deal that marks Sojitz's first foray into the field of next-generation new materials. Its partner was spun off from a national university lab in the Southeast Asian country.
Graphene is a mesh-like sheet of hexagonal carbon atoms with a honeycomb structure that resembles the cross section of a beehive.
It is drawing global attention as the "ultimate nanomaterial" for its diverse properties such as being atomically thin, light, flexible, transparent and as strong as diamond, according to Sojitz.
Sojitz expects its capital participation will help overcome the challenges in bringing into practical use the highly conductive material with strong mechanical performance, which also is very costly and difficult to manufacture.
2D Materials, also known as 2DM, was spun out in 2015 from the National University of Singapore's Centre for Advanced 2D Materials, one of the world's most advanced graphene research bodies.
With the use of eco-friendly solvents, the company is capable of producing high-quality graphene that can be sold at a lower price than products from its industrial rivals, Sojitz said.
A Sojitz official said the high level of 2DM's technology led to the decision to invest.
The Tokyo-based company hopes its global network of roughly 5,000 customers in the chemical sector will help advance its efforts to commercialize 2DM's graphene products along with its own sales and procurement channels.
2DM said it has also signed an investment agreement with CSN Inova Ventures, the corporate venture capital fund of Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderurgica Nacional, or CSN. (NNA/Kyodo)