Jounghoon Lee, CEO of STANDARD GRAPHENE tells us about mass-producing Graphene and Graphene Oxide and offering these products to their customers.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jounghoon Lee: Fortunately, we are all doing fine here. Despite a high number of cases early on, South Korea is now one of the safest countries at the moment, and people are calmly following the regulations. I think that what we need is a bit of tolerance and sacrifice to overcome the pandemic together. I hope that things will go back to normal soon through the continued rollout of vaccination programs around the world.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded STANDARD GRAPHENE.
Jounghoon Lee: Since I first encountered the then-new field of nanotechnology in the 90s while studying in the US, I have firmly believed that nanotechnology will one day change the world. When graphene, defined as a single layer of carbon atoms combined in a hexagonal structure, was first discovered in 2004 – I knew that it would be the nanomaterial to effect that change.
Our company, STANDARD GRAPHENE, was initially founded in the 90s as a research center for the study of carbon nanotechnology and commenced graphene research right after its discovery. Over the following years, we have made tremendous progress and are now one of just a few companies in the world that can mass produce high-end graphene.
How does STANDARD GRAPHENE innovate?
Jounghoon Lee: Quite simply – we innovate through failure. It is easy to see that graphene has such great potential, but as a new nanomaterial, the questions of how to mass-produce it, or even how to make it usable – these were all unknowns. It was a path on which no one had ever gone down; in fact, one can say that we had to build a new road altogether. On this journey, we have been through countless experiments and failures, and these experiences have become great assets for innovation. I am proud to say that we have built a company that believes strongly in improving and safeguarding the environment through our commitment to constant innovation and technology.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Jounghoon Lee: It has affected us in both positive and negative ways. As with many others, our overseas businesses in the US and Europe had to be halted due to physical shutdowns; several of these were quite close to the mass-scale supply. At the same time, however, as the importance of hygiene and anti-bacterial technology has significantly increased, general interest in graphene has grown exponentially as well, opening many new doors for us.
The anti-bacterial characteristics of graphene are truly outstanding, and our technology can be applied to masks, anti-bacterial coatings, water purification systems, and a myriad of other applications. We are accelerating this side of the business with our Applications Division – a truly exciting area for us.
The applications of graphene are truly endless – to mention but a few. We are currently also studying the many applications of graphene polymers, which exhibit great strength, lightness, conductivity, and flexibility. Our Applications Division is also studying graphene applications in the groundbreaking Urban Air Mobility (UAM) space, which will forever change the way we travel. We hope to deliver all of these exciting new graphene technologies to our customers soon.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jounghoon Lee: We are trying to coexist rather than compete. Graphene has so much potential in almost every industry, and we already know that we can’t cover the entire market alone. Our mission is to be at the forefront of realizing graphene technology, and we believe that a coexistence strategy is more effective.
Your final thoughts?
Jounghoon Lee: People all around the world are going through tough times these days, but let’s continue to be strong and not lose hope. In Korea, we say that another word for “crisis” is “opportunity.” Find out what you can do, and do it at your best – you will then survive any crisis. Thank you.
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