Graphene – a single layer of graphite or carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice – present almost limitless potential to protect against pathogens, detect and treat disease, produce clean water, make building materials stronger, and generate cleaner energy.
Graphene can be added to plastics, metals and many other materials to make them stronger, lighter, disease resistant, more durable and more conductive of electricity.
During the pandemic, Zentek (Nasdaq: ZTEK; TSX-V: ZEN) worked with its partners at the University of British Columbia to develop ZenGUARD™, a proprietary, patent-pending technology that uses a graphene compound to produce an antimicrobial layer that transforms critical items like surgical masks and HVAC filters into advanced protective tools.
ZenGUARD™ has received authorization from Health Canada, with FDA approval underway. The product is a 2021 Mitacs Award winner for Commercialization in Canada.
ZenGUARD™ masks include four layers: a hydrophobic exterior that prevents infectious droplets from penetrating the mask; a ZenGUARD™-coated layer that filters dangerous pathogens; a melt-blown layer that filters dust and other particles; and a hydrophilic interior that traps droplets inside the mask to prevent transmission of disease.
In scientific testing, ZenGUARD™- coated masks removed 98.9 per cent more bacteria and 97.8 per cent more virus compared to surgical masks standardly used in clinical care, resulting in over 99.99 per cent bacterial and viral filtration efficiency ratings.
The Zentek team is currently exploring additional uses for ZenGUARD™, including advanced protection for air filtration (HVAC) systems.
“In addition to masks, we are exploring ZenGUARD™ for use in supporting energy efficient indoor air quality in schools, buildings, transit and others,” said Greg Fenton, CEO. “Our antimicrobial coating could be a game changer in the HVAC space. “
Zentek has recently expanded its operations in Guelph, opening a new 25,680-square-foot manufacturing facility in June. It has an estimated capacity to coat the equivalent of 720 million masks per month, and is one of the world’s largest graphene based production facilities.
The company, which has partnerships with 100 researchers at universities and tech firms globally, also operates an advanced research lab and scaleup facility in Guelph.