The Halifax company known as GIT has developed a marine coating out of graphene, a carbon-based material that is 200 times stronger than steel and efficiently conducts heat and electricity. Co-Founders Mo Algermozi and Marciel Gaier had been planning to use the coating on the hulls of boats and ships, but during a recent trip to San Diego realized it could have other applications.
“We realized that this paint doesn’t just go on ships and boats,” said Algermozi during an interview. “It goes on everything, We are now targeting any marine application where corrosion and marine growth is an issue.”
The duo conducted extensive market research and validation while on the Pacific coast and discovered that their coating, called GrapheneCoat, has multiple market applications.
“It also works for buoys, unmanned vessels or fishing traps,” said Gaier.
GrapheneCoat undercoats ships, buoys or unmanned marine exploration vessels with a hard coating that prevents corrosion and buildup and in turn, extends the life and efficiency of what it’s coating. The coating is also environmentally friendly since it doesn’t leach into the water, and reduces CO2 emissions by easing the drag of long-haul ships.
The specifics of GIT’s revolutionary concoction are now patented. Protecting the IP of GrapheneCoat is an important business move for Gaier and Algermozi.
“That was one of the biggest milestones we needed to reach,” said Algermozi. “We have to be very selective with who we pilot with because a lot of people contact us as clients and then they want to know more about the coating itself.”
Since launching the pilot program, the duo say they are receiving a steady stream of emails and have already lined up several clients for the first month of the beta-test. Algermozi and Gaier have also added to their team, growing their staff by about 60 percent.
GIT has received no new funding since racking up wins in programs offered by Innovacorp and COVE but it has had assistance from the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program. As the pilot program continues, the company will start a pre-seed round of funding, next month.
“We already have a private investor interested; they are just waiting for us to open the pre-seed round,” said Algermozi.
The company is also currently enrolled in the Creative Destruction Lab at Dalhousie University, where the company is currently based. The team has plans to move outside of Dalhousie for the end of the summer, but still plans to keep an office at the university.
Currently, GIT is able to produce around a 55-gallon barrel of GrapheneCoat per week but the founders hope to produce seven to eight barrels per week by the end of this year.
Through a partnership with The Boat Shop in St. Margaret’s Bay, GIT is conducting its first live test on an actual boat and has recently coated its second test vessel. Though GIT started with long-haul ships in mind, the team has pivoted slightly to test the waters in other industries.
“We’re exploring what other markets and industries we can get into.”