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M&I Materials and First Graphene Collaborate to Develop Graphene-enhanced Products

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Thursday, October 8, 2020
Specialist materials manufacturer M&I Materials Ltd and leading graphene raw material supplier, First Graphene Ltd., have agreed to collaborate to develop an extended range of graphene-enhanced products.

Based in Trafford Park in Greater Manchester, M&I Materials boasts a leading portfolio of brands supplying to global industrial and scientific markets. The company counts household names such as Siemens, Boeing, CERN and NASA among its client base who specify its range of engineered materials.

Both companies are partners at Manchester’s Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC), which is a facility dedicated to the commercialisation of graphene.  The GEIC has played a big part in enabling this collaboration and has benefited both parties in terms of the close working relationship at the same location and the extensive facilities and support available on site.

Mark Lashbrook, Technical Director of M&I Materials Ltd, commented: “The GEIC has provided an ideal environment for us to collaborate with First Graphene Ltd, an innovative materials supplier. We have been impressed by First Graphene’s focus on quality and technical excellence which aligns with our own heritage, and we are very excited to find out what can be achieved together.”

Paul Ladislaus, Chief Technology Officer for First Graphene Ltd., said, “M&I Materials are a very innovative supplier of formulated products to specialist markets around the world. As materials scientists, they understand the potential of graphene materials for their product range and we are pleased to be able to support their evaluation of the performance of our PureGRAPH® products in their systems.”

James Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Graphene@Manchester said “This is exactly the type of development that the GEIC is designed to deliver, in terms of enabling two innovative local companies to collaborate together in the graphene space. In these uncertain times I am pleased that the GEIC can support collaborations like these, which I am sure will have a positive impact in our region and the wider United Kingdom.”

David Hilton, Head of Business Development Advanced Manufacturing of MIDAS commented “It’s great to see two locally based SME’s collaborating in Manchester, the hub of Advanced Manufacturing, and home of Graphene. Midas have been delighted to support First Graphene on their journey in Greater Manchester.”

Tags:  David Hilton  engineered materials  First Graphene  Graphene  Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre  James Baker  M&I Materials  Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency  Mark Lashbrook  Paul Ladislaus 

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‘Graphene ecosystem will help drive regional economy’ says sci-tech MP after GEIC virtual tour

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Monday, October 5, 2020
A Greater Manchester MP and science advisor has praised a new approach to innovation based around the commercialisation of graphene, citing its aim of supporting investment and new opportunities in the region.

Mark Logan, MP for Bolton North East and a member of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee, was shown facilities at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), including specialist labs and the 'high bay' area, which are home to highly specialised equipment used in the testing and scale-up of products using graphene and other 2D materials.

Mark was the first VIP visitor to take a virtual tour of a graphene facility at The University of Manchester following lockdown.

The tour was led by James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, using a digital 360 video (filmed pre-Covid) to ensure compliance with current health protocols and safeguard workers on site.

“It was really helpful to be shown the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre in this way – and the virtual tour provided me with a real insight into the pioneering work being led in this world-class facility,” said Mark.

“But the real lesson for me was that these amazing facilities are part of a unique innovation ecosystem that has the potential to attract investment and new jobs to the Greater Manchester region, potentially including my own constituency in Bolton.

“Essentially, this exemplar ‘Manchester Model of Innovation’ looks to fast-track cutting-edge science from the lab to market - and by doing this will help drive our regional economy and support local supply chains.”

James Baker added: “Graphene@Manchester has always operated an open-door policy. So it was a great to welcome Mark and for him to get an insight into our work in this virtual way that was completely safe.

“We hope this provided the next best thing to seeing how we work on commercialising 2D materials in the real, 3D world.

“In fact, we have taken advantage of new technology such as video conferencing and webinars not only to maintain existing relationships but also to engage proactively with new contacts and partners from across the world.

“In some ways, technology has helped us to fast-track new opportunities and we have learned some valuable lessons for future engagement.”

Tags:  2D materials  Covid-19  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  Healthcare  James Baker  Mark Logan  University of Manchester  Virtual Reality 

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SpaceMat: graphene’s answer to recycling tyre rubber launches to market

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Friday, October 2, 2020

A Greater Manchester start-up company has launched the first of a range of products aimed at reducing wastage from vehicle tyres, supported by the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre’s (GEIC) ERDF Bridging the Gap programme at The University of Manchester.

In conjunction with the GEIC, Dr Vivek Koncherry developed SpaceMat – a flooring product that uses graphene to improve dramatically the performance of recycled tyre rubber compared to previous efforts.

It’s estimated that 1.5 billion waste tyres are generated globally every year and most end up in landfill or being burned. Numerous attempts have been made to produce high-quality recycled rubber from tyres, but the shedding of microparticles from resultant products has raised concerns over environmental health.

Vivek’s company Space Blue has successfully developed graphene-enhanced recycled rubber products for mass-market applications that address this issue.

Graphene-enhanced performance

The SpaceMat product is constructed from 80% waste tyre material and 20% graphene-enhanced natural rubber. The graphene more than doubles the compressive strength of the rubber, in turn increasing the durability of the mat. Using graphene, it is possible to engineer the mechanical performance of the recycled material, bringing it close to the performance of a virgin polymer system.

James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester, said: "Our Bridging the Gap programme specifically targets Greater Manchester-based SMEs and has been a great opportunity to support local innovation. It's really exciting to see this new company entering into the market, in particular with its focus on supporting environmental sustainability and a good re-use of scrap tyres, which otherwise could cause significant pollution and waste product."

Avoiding the 'valley of death'

Innovation in the area of sustainability is one of the criteria governing research activities at GEIC and is also vital in securing funding from the Bridging the Gap programme.

Bridging the Gap aims to help SMEs like Vivek’s make the transition from original idea to market-ready product, avoiding the so-called ‘valley of death’, where many potential innovations founder due to lack of funds and/or industrial know-how.

Paul Wiper, Application Manager for Bridging the Gap at the GEIC, said: “This is exactly the type to enterprise and concept our BtG programme aims to address. We offer technical input and R&D programmes to Greater Manchester start-ups and existing companies to accelerate graphene-based products and processes.”

Having launched SpaceMat to market, Vivek is now developing a series of products, including traffic cones and anti-viral doormats, and is looking for partners to licence and promote the technology globally.

“SpaceBlue is on a mission to solve the global problem of waste tyre using graphene by developing sustainable and circular economy products,” said Vivek. “Thanks to colleagues at the GEIC and funding from Bridging the Gap, we’re making real progress towards achieving that goal.”

Tags:  environment  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  James Baker  Paul Wiper  rubber  SpaceBlue  tyres  University of Manchester  Vivek Koncherry 

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Graphene providing a firm foundation for a more sustainable construction industry

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, September 23, 2020

If we want to achieve a zero carbon world we literally need to build it in a different way. Here, James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester talks about the need to support and accelerate graphene innovation to help make building materials much more sustainable in a bid to meet regional and national net zero targets.

• Greater Manchester (UK) aims to ensure all new buildings and infrastructure built in the city-region to be net zero by 2028

• Innovation in new materials and processes could help build a zero carbon world from the foundations up – but this pioneering work needs to be expedited through national investment to keep pace with policy ambitions

• A recent review has suggested the addition of just 0.03% graphene powder can increase the strength of concrete by a conservative average of 25%

• A UK advanced research catalyst modelled on the USA’s Advanced Research Projects Agency should adopt a ‘fail fast, learn fast’ series of projects to fast-track the testing of sustainable building materials

A headline aim of Greater Manchester’s ambitious policy blueprint for homes, jobs and the environment proposes all new buildings and infrastructure that are built in the city-region to be net zero for carbon emissions by 2028 – a move the local authority has said is key to achieving its overarching pledge to become a carbon-neutral region by 2038.

Under the new policy, buildings will be required to produce no operational carbon emissions. But another important consideration is to look at the opportunities to support carbon-neutral construction and encouraging ‘greener’ supply chains.

Innovation in new materials and processes will help planners to build a zero carbon world from the foundations up.

Graphene and 2D materials can help provide some of the technology breakthroughs needed for sustainable construction – and an obvious candidate is putting graphene in concrete. According to Chatham House, the international affairs institute, the global production of cement – the ‘glue’ that holds concrete together – accounts for a staggering 8% of the world’s CO2 production.

Interestingly, recent experiments with graphene enhanced concrete have been really promising. Adrian Nixon, editor of the Nixene Journal (an independent publication dedicated to graphene and 2D materials science news), has conducted a review of the various studies on adding tiny amounts of graphene and graphene oxide to concrete. Adrian said the addition of just 0.03% graphene powder increased the strength of concrete by a conservative average of 25%.

So, bearing in mind worldwide cement production equates to 8% of all global CO2 emissions, it could therefore be argued that by effectively reducing all concrete production by a quarter through the addition of graphene, we could in turn see this run through the supply chain and potentially deliver a 2% reduction in CO2 levels. That is an exciting proposition and one that could be debated at great length – but the essential point is this; adding a modest amount of graphene to a building material such as concrete could have a transformational impact on our environment.

And why not connect our sustainable cities of the future with a ‘graphene road’? Pioneering work with Highways England and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre is looking at developments to build more resilient road surfaces and motorway infrastructure that would support advances in both safety and performance. Hopefully, this will mean less potholes – but we could also feasibly have roads that one day feature embedded technologies that are more receptive to the next generation of electric cars and vehicles.

Another example of graphene-based sustainability is at the other end of the product lifecycle and how to better reclaim materials from redundant structures and unwanted fittings. My colleague Dr Vivek Koncherry from Graphene@Manchester has a proven method of adding tiny amounts of graphene to discarded tyres that once chopped up and reformed can produce a recycled product that has the performance that almost matches brand new rubber. What if we applied a similar method to re-purpose old building materials so we can build something brand new?

The disruptive role of graphene and 2D materials in sustainable construction is very exciting and works across the sector – but we need to rapidly accelerate the innovation if we are to realistically hit any of our targets. I would ask decision-makers act in number of ways:

UK National:

Grand challenge for building: I have previously welcomed UK government plans for an advanced research catalyst modelled on America’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). I would recommend that a nationally-funded programme of ‘fail fast, learn fast’ development projects are commissioned and funded by this type of body to fast-track the testing of sustainable building materials. This work could be expedited by delegating across the UK with, for example, regional expertise at The University of Manchester leading on graphene enhanced products. This grand challenge approach is similar to the UK’s national Faraday battery challenge that is looking to transform energy storage technologies.

Regional:

• ‘Lighthouse’ projects: with innovation delegated to regional centres of excellence, it would be ideal if local authorities looked to support exemplar build projects that are made wholly or partly from sustainable materials. These would act as ‘lighthouse’ projects and provide a full-scale demonstrators on real world application of new building technology. For example, Greater Manchester could look to build a stretch of road featuring a graphene-enhanced surface or commission a public building or bridge that is made, or partly made, using graphene concrete for examle.

Green procurement: local authorities could consider introducing planning recommendations at the bidding/competition stage to proactively attract contractors who are willing to use new and sustainable building materials within their development projects.

Tags:  2D materials  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  James Baker  Vivek Koncherry 

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Beyond chip-and-PIN: graphene’s quick, hygienic solution to restaurant payment

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, August 26, 2020
A new graphene-based contactless payment system, developed in collaboration with the University of Manchester, has begun a restaurant pilot that could pave the way for the end of chip-and-PIN, cutting customer wait-time and reducing the risk of infectious transmission.

‘Payper’ allows the customer to tap their phone on a smart till receipt that features a printed electronic antenna. The smartphone reads data from the antenna, triggering the bill, which is shown via the customer’s default browser. Android or Apple Pay checkout is then completed with two clicks, in less than five seconds with no app required.

Strength and flexibility

The role of graphene in the antenna is to provide high flexibility, conductivity and mechanical strength, which can be imparted onto the tight and variable curvature of the till roll.

The project is led by Manchester start-up Payper Technologies, co-founded by Dr Thanasis Georgiou and Renate Kalnina (pictured right). Thanasis said: “Payper’s antennas combines graphene with metals and other components to realise a near-field communication device that can used as a direct swap for existing restaurant till rolls. 

“By introducing just a small amount of graphene in the manufacturing process, we can translate its unique range of benefits into our ‘smart’ receipt rolls,” he added.

Lowry trial

The team has begun a live trial of the system at the River Restaurant of The Lowry Hotel in Salford.

 “We are delighted to be the flagship hotel in the UK trialling this new enhanced safety payment method to our customers,” said Adrian Ellis, General Manager at The Lowry Hotel.

“The University of Manchester first isolated graphene, so it really is a privilege to be using a product that not only makes the customer journey safer and more convenient, but is also supportive of the city in which the product was founded.”

Thanasis added: “The trial will be used to demonstrate the technology and provide validation of this pay-at-table solution, along with potentially demonstrating other benefits for restaurants, including increasing customer lifetime value, repeat visits and tips, and reducing table-turn time”.

Bridging the gap

Concurrent with the Lowry Hotel trial, the team is conducting further research and development on the system at the University’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) ‘Bridging the Gap’ programme. This will include moves towards an ‘all-graphene’ system, removing the metal components to make the product more sustainable and recyclable.

James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester said: “This is a great example of how we can help industry partners - including local SMEs - to accelerate graphene products towards the marketplace and deliver real-world benefits.

“Payper isn’t just about convenience,” he added. “The card machine is the one thing that all the waiting staff and at least one person from every table will touch over the course of a shift in a restaurant. If you can reduce those touchpoints with a truly contactless system, you have an elegant solution to reducing the risk of Covid transmission.”

Tags:  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  James Baker  Payper Technologies  Renate Kalnina  Thanasis Georgiou  University of Manchester 

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GKN Aerospace joins Graphene@Manchester as Tier 1 partner

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, July 2, 2020
GKN Aerospace - one of the world’s leading suppliers of manufacturing to the aerospace industry - is the latest company to join the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at The University of Manchester as a Tier 1 partner.

The collaboration will explore multiple areas of graphene application, including the use of graphene in innovative coatings for aerospace applications, and development of new composite materials.

James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, said: “We are pleased to welcome GKN as our latest Tier 1 partner. My background is in aerospace, so I’m really excited about the potential for a collaboration with such an influential player in the industry.

“GKN supplies products to 90% of the world’s aircraft and engine manufacturers, so we have an opportunity to make a genuine difference to the next generation of lighter, more sustainable aircraft through innovation in 2D materials.”

GKN Aerospace CTO and Head of Strategy Russ Dunn (pictured) said: “The GEIC’s core capabilities and wealth of knowledge in 2D materials and manufacturing make it an excellent partner for GKN Aerospace. It offers a practical path from the development of materials science all the way to industrial application. This includes support to establish new supply chains and collaboration to increase the speed of development, maintaining the UK’s global leadership position in research and development.

“Graphene has the ability to increase the life of products in-service and reduce cost, for example by reducing the need for platinum in fuel cells,” Russ added. “We look forward to working with the University and the local ecosystem to explore commercial applications that meet the growing demand for more sustainable, lighter-weight technology, with increased functionality.”

Partnership model
The Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) is a £60 million, industry-led facility, designed to work in collaboration with commercial partners to create, test and optimise new concepts for delivery to market, along with the processes required for scale up and supply chain integration.

Tier 1 membership of the GEIC offers partners a dedicated laboratory within the GEIC facility, plus access to our unique application labs and specialist equipment, and the chance to work with our academic partners.

Tier 2 membership provides a lower-cost route to rapid feasibility studies, with access to a specific application area, designed for SMEs and start-up companies or larger firms looking to investigate the opportunities for incorporating graphene into their business.

Tags:  Aerospace  GKN Aerospace  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  James Baker  Russ Dunn 

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Manchester launches spin-out to bring innovative water-filtration technology to market

Posted By Graphene Council, Saturday, June 20, 2020
Scientists and innovation experts from The University of Manchester have worked together to successfully develop a new, market-ready technology using 2D materials that could be a game-changer for the water filtration sector.
ollowing an 18-month technical development and business planning programme - funded by the University - the team of innovators has launched a spin-out company called Molymem Limited to help take the new membrane product into the marketplace. The technology has applications in the pharmaceutical, wastewater management and food and beverage sectors.

The breakthrough development of a high-performing membrane coating is based around a new class of 2D materials, pioneered by Manchester researchers Professor Rob Dryfe and Dr Mark Bissett (pictured right), working with Clive Rowland, team leader for the Molymem project and the University’s Associate Vice-President for Intellectual Property.

Clive explained that membranes are used globally for separation applications in a wide range of valuable markets. “But all of these applications can be expensive,” he added. “They consume high energy and are prone to fouling - and, as a result, require frequent deep cleaning with corrosive chemicals. This causes lost production time and, due to the harsh nature of chemicals being used, it also leads to a deterioration in membrane quality over time.”

Using chemically modified molybdenum disulphide (MoS2), which is widely available at low cost and easily processed, Molymem has developed an energy-efficient and highly versatile membrane coating.

Fast-track innovation
Much of the lab-to-market work was carried out at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), which is dedicated to the fast-tracking of pilot innovation around graphene and other 2D materials. Graphene is the world’s first man-made 2D material and offers a range of disruptive capabilities.

Molymem is now ideally placed to raise investment capital to embark on its commercial journey – and interest has already been shown by industrial partners.

James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester, said: “The Molymem project demonstrates how the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre can help to accelerate a breakthrough development in materials science into a brand-new, market-ready product.

“Molymem will now be mentored within the Graphene@Manchester innovation ecosystem as part our portfolio of graphene-based spin-outs. This includes bespoke support such as fundraising for future business development and rapid market development.”

Clive Rowland added: “Over the summer, I will hand-over the team leadership to Ray Gibbs, who is managing the University's graphene and 2D materials spin-out portfolio. Ray will look to fundraise and help take Molymem to the next stage of its exciting innovation journey.”

Tags:  2D materials  Clive Rowland  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  James Baker  Mark Bissett  Rob Dryfe  University of Manchester  water purification 

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Rolls-Royce chooses to partner with GEIC and 2-DTech

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, April 23, 2020
Versarien plc is pleased to announce that, following an open innovation call, multinational engineering company Rolls-Royce has selected to work with The University of Manchester's Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and its Tier 1 partner, Versarien subsidiary, 2-DTech Limited.

The initial programme of work will use the state-of-the-art chemical vapour deposition (CVD) equipment located within the GEIC. The collaboration will look to explore, understand and create technological advances surrounding the use of graphene and other 2D materials used in wiring for next-generation aerospace engine systems.

The work conducted will seek to use the unique properties of these 2D materials to reduce the weight of electrical components, improve electrical performance and also increase resistance to corrosion of components in future engine systems.

The programme aims to present potential economic benefits, through the possibility of significant cost reductions, and global environmental benefits, through the reduction of energy use and lower emissions from electrification.

Neill Ricketts , Chief Executive of Versarien commented:
"The pursuit of sustainability has become an important goal for many companies in recent years. Rolls-Royce is one of the world's leading industrial technology companies and today, the size and impact of the markets its serves makes this task more urgent than ever. Taking advantage of advanced materials such as graphene, has the potential to revolutionise these markets and add real benefit.

" The partnership with Rolls-Royce is a significant endorsement to 2-DTech's work over the years and we are delighted it has been chosen by such a renowned business and look forward to working together."  

Dr Al Lambourne , Materials Specialist at Rolls - Royce, commented:
" Partnering with the GEIC and its members makes perfect sense to Rolls-Royce as we explore the opportunities and properties of a new class of 2D materials. Using the unique capabilities of 2-DTech and the GEIC we hope to address some of the challenges facing materials in the global aerospace industry , as we pioneer the electrification of future aircraft . "

James Baker, Graphene@Manchester CEO, commented:
"The GEIC is intended to act as an accelerator for graphene commercialisation, market penetration and in the creation of the material supply chain of graphene and 2D materials. It's great to see a company like Rolls-Royce partner with us and our other Tier 1 member, 2-DTech, to capitalise on our world-leading expertise and experience, along with specialist equipment, which will accelerate the product and process development and market entry."

Tags:  2D materials  2-DTech  Aerospace  Al Lambourne  chemical vapour deposition  corrosion  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  James Baker  Neill Ricketts  Rolls-Royce  University of Manchester  Versarien 

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Graphene Industry Showcase in Manchester

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, December 16, 2019

This week Graphene@Manchester hosted a jam-packed two-day (10-11 December) event showcasing the hottest topics in the field of graphene.

The event saw over 100 delegates take to Manchester for a chance to find out how they can benefit from working with the one-atom-thick material.

Featuring talks from BAC, inov-8 and Lifesaver, delegates were able to witness first hand the practical applications of graphene and 2D materials.

The showcase also featured an exhibition of some of the newest products and prototypes using the revolutionary material such as water filtration devices and hydrogels used for crop production to suitcases and doormats as well as the BAC Mono R- the first production car to use graphene-enhanced carbon fibre in each body panel.

Delegates also had the opportunity to participate in practical hands on workshops in the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) focusing on subjects such as energy, printed electronics, health and safety and standards and characterisation.

James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester said: “We are now seeing rapid developments and an increasing change of pace over the last year, dramatically changing the graphene landscape. More products are entering the market using graphene and we’re starting to see real-world benefits living up to the early excitement of just a few years ago.

With the National Graphene Institute and GEIC, our infrastructure is designed to work in collaboration with industry partners to create, test and optimise new concepts for delivery to market.”

“We are now seeing rapid developments and an increasing change of pace over the last year, dramatically changing the graphene landscape.„

James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester

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Tuesday evening also offered a rare chance to hear from Nobel laureate Professor Sir Andre Geim, on his creative approach to scientific research, from levitating frogs to the fascinating phenomena of what happens to discarded graphite after graphene has been made.

The GEIC focuses on industry-led application development in partnership with academics. It will fill a critical gap in the graphene and 2D materials ecosystem by providing facilities which focus on pilot production, characterisation, together with application development in composites, energy, solution formulations and coatings, electronics and membranes.

Tags:  2D materials  Electronics  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  Healthcare  James Baker  University of Manchester 

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Entrepreneur has sustainability challenge covered - with a SpaceMat

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, December 12, 2019
An entrepreneurial academic from The University of Manchester has produced a prototype graphene-enhanced product that could help the UK recycle tonnes of unwanted tyres – a waste product that is sometimes shipped overseas for disposal.

It is claimed that Western countries like the UK export waste tyres to developing nations like India where they are destroyed by burning - and so impacting on the local environment.

Dr Vivek Koncherry has launched a company called SpaceBlue Ltd that aims to recycle waste tyres by converting them into attractive and extremely hardwearing floor mats which have been enhanced with tiny amounts of graphene.

The hexagon-shaped SpaceMat™ can interlock to cover any desired floor area. They can be used at the entrances of homes, offices, public and industrial buildings, as well as wider applications such as anti-fatigue or anti-slip coverings in areas like workplaces, gyms, playgrounds and swimming pools.

Prototype mats will be revealed at a Graphene Industry Showcase to be hosted on December 10 and 11 at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC). This two-day event aims to put a spotlight on innovations associated with graphene and two-dimensional materials and will therefore feature a wide range of pioneering products.

“The innovation ecosystem at Manchester has been really supportive to someone like me who has a new business idea they want to take to market,” explained Dr Koncherry, who is an expert in materials applications and new manufacturing techniques.

“It all began when I first read newspaper reports that several thousand tonnes of waste UK tyres are being shipped abroad each year for disposal. I thought that needs to change and I became determined to find a much more sustainable way of using this end-of-life product.

“The intention of SpaceBlue is to enhance the physical properties of recycled rubber waste that has come from discarded vehicle tyres or footwear - and convert this material into a high-value product,” explained Dr Koncherry.

“The intention of SpaceBlue is to enhance the physical properties of recycled rubber waste that has come from discarded vehicle tyres or footwear - and convert this material into a high-value product”
Dr Vivek Koncherry

“SpaceMat™ is made of up to 80 per cent recycled rubber plus 20 per cent of graphene-enhanced natural rubber. Floor mats undergo compression and a fundamental study had shown that by adding graphene into the rubber it can double the compression strength - and this in turn increases durability.”

James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, added: “Vivek’s vision to support a more sustainable society by creating a better performing product through the use of graphene is really exciting and has already generated interest.

“Moreover, we’re looking forward to collaborating with SpaceBlue via our ‘Bridging the Gap’ programme which will further support the development of the mats.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) the ‘Bridging the Gap’ initiative has been developed to proactively engage with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Greater Manchester and allow them to explore and apply graphene and other advanced two-dimensional materials in a wide range of applications and markets.

Tags:  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  James Baker  University of Manchester  Vivek Koncherry 

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