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The Graphene Flagship Means Business

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Saturday, October 19, 2019

Leiden University spin-off, Crucell, is a world-famous biotechnology company. Johnson & Johnson acquired the business for close to $2.4 billion back in 2011. This mammoth sum of money highlights the potential of university or corporate spin-offs and their investment attraction.

There is a growing appetite for spin-offs and SMEs that have grown out of research. Here are four SMEs that are setting the pace in graphene and related materials (GRM) commercialisation in the Graphene Flagship.

EMBERION

Emberion develops and produces graphene photonics and electronics that revolutionise infrared photodetectors and thermal sensors. Applications include hyperspectral and thermal imaging, night vision and X-ray detection.

The business was a spin off company from Nokia. Following a long history of graphene research inside Nokia’s research organisation, the team joined the Graphene Flagship to take the work carried out on optoelectronics to the commercial market.

“Emberion was established in quite an early phase of product development,” explained Tapani Ryhänen, CEO of Emberion. “We had promising results and functional prototypes from our research and above all, we were able to get an agreement with venture capital investors.

"Emberion is focusing on various spectrometer and machine vision applications by producing novel image sensors. We provide products with broad wavelength range and low noise. Our image sensors can be used for example in agriculture, food processing and pharma industries."

During the next year, Emberion will start delivering its first imager products. The business will also commence with the Graphene Flagship GBIRCAM spearhead project, together with its partners, to bolster the readiness of graphene-enabled optoelectronics in industry.

GRAPHENEA

World leading graphene producer Graphenea, founded in 2010, was one of the first industrial partners to join the Graphene Flagship program. Graphenea participated in the proposal stages of the Graphene Flagship, collaborating closely since the inception of the EU-funded program.Business is booming for Graphenea. In 2018, the business generated €1.6 million, and is on track to grow by 25% in 2019.

Graphenea’s facilities are located in San Sebastián, Spain and Boston, USA. The 25 employees at Graphenea contribute to the successful development of graphene applications, including supplying CVD Graphene films, Graphene Field-Effect-Transistors chips (GFETs), Graphene Foundry Services (GFAB) and Graphene Oxides. Graphenea’s operation spans across more than 60 countries and a wide range of sectors.

“The collaboration between Graphenea and the Graphene Flagship has evolved over the last six years,” explained Iñigo Charola, business development director at Graphenea. “Our work has become incredibly industry-orientated, with focused spearhead projects to bring applications to market quickly and effectively.”

“Today, we are focusing not only on the production of graphene, but also developing our processing capabilities of the material. Our partnership with the Graphene Flagship provides the support to help reach this goal.” 

BEDIMENSIONAL

BeDimensional produces and develops graphene and 2D crystals for the manufacturing and energy industries. Its main target applications relate to coatings and paints and material production for energy applications.

As a start-up, BeDimensional was created as a spin-off company of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologica (IIT).

The research group started out their research in fundamental studies of electronic properties of two-dimensional semiconductor systems. They were also investigating some possibilities to tune the interaction of hydrogen and carbon by curving a graphene sheet. For this latter study, the team were approached in the initial stages of the Graphene Flagship project to set-up a work package on hydrogen storage.

After a two-year incubation period within the institute itself, BeDimensional moved onto the market after the acquisition of 51% of its shares by the Camponovo. The definitive push towards the path of industrialisation came at the end of 2018, after the €18 million investment from Pellan Group.

So, what’s next for BeDimensional?
After closing this round of investment, BeDimensional is now fully immersed in implementing its industrial and commercial strategies. The first production line of two-dimensional crystals is already operational and the business is in the process of setting up more laboratories for research and development.

“We need to strategically position ourselves at the right level of the industrial value chains linked to each specific application,” explained Vittorio Pellegrini, founder and scientific advisor for BeDimensional. “We believe it is crucial to establish partnerships and joint ventures with appropriate global players. At the same time, we will reinforce our investment in R&D by attracting the best people on board.”

BeDimensional has a clear mission and knows how it’s going to reach its business goals. Watch this space. 

VERSARIEN

Versarien, headquartered in Cheltenham, UK, is an engineering solutions company that delivers novel technologies for industrial applications. Through subsidiary companies, Versarien delivers targeted solutions as well as research and development into new, complementary technologies.

Versarien was founded in 2010 and has been an associate member of the Graphene Flagship since 2018, collaborating closely with researchers in the project.

The company has acquired multiple businesses under the Versarien group, including two spin-offs from high-profile universities carrying out graphene research.

In 2014, 2-DTech joined the group. 2-DTech was originally formed by the University of Manchester to manufacture and supply high quality graphene for research and development. It has now grown into a commercial operation not only supplying high grade graphene and other 2-D materials, but also working on the application of graphene in product development projects.

In 2017, Versarien acquired Cambridge Graphene Ltd. from the University of Cambridge. Cambridge Graphene develops inks, composites and supercapacitors based on graphene and related materials, using processes developed at the Cambridge Graphene Centre.

The Cambridge Graphene Centre’s mission is to investigate the science and technology of graphene and other carbon allotropes, layered crystals and hybrid nanomaterials. The spin-out company has commercialised graphene inks for novel technology applications.

These two Graphene Flagship spin-offs join the numerous other companies in the Versarien group, creating a real force to be reckoned with for graphene commercialisation and business growth.

Tags:  BeDimensional  Cambridge Graphene Centre  CVD  Emberion  Graphene  Graphene Flagship  graphene oxide  Graphenea  Iñigo Charola  Leiden University  Tapani Ryhänen  Versarien  Vittorio Pellegrini 

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NovoCarbon Enters Collaboration Agreement with Versarien Graphene

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, May 13, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Great Lakes Graphite Inc., doing business as NovoCarbon Corporation, announced that the Company and Versarien Graphene have executed a collaboration agreement.

Highlights

  • Versarien will qualify NovoCarbon as a supply chain partner.
  • The Companies will develop a robust graphene supply chain with processing in the USA.
  • The Companies will work to enable a number of applications for a variety of industries.
  • The collaboration between Companies will afford opportunities to create a strong market presence and an improved ability to target significant technology opportunities.


Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien plc said, “We are very pleased to have our dedicated facility in Houston up and running. This has enabled us to more efficiently progress a number of new and existing relationships and accelerate our traction in the US. We now have relationships with over 25 companies in North America, encompassing sectors as diverse as automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, oil and gas, sports equipment and specialty plastics."

“We continue to receive a high number of enquiries for the supply of our graphene and other 2D materials from leading US companies and others globally. Versarien is now truly operating on a global basis and I look forward to providing further updates on our activities with our multiple collaboration partners in due course.”


NovoCarbon CEO Paul Ferguson said, “NovoCarbon’s mission is to enhance the ability of companies such as Versarien to serve their customers and markets with consistent, high quality materials.  We are excited to be working with Versarien and their highly capable team.”

Tags:  2D materials  Great Lakes Graphite  Neill Ricketts  NovoCarbon  Patrick Abbott  Paul Ferguson  Versarien 

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Versarien achieves "Verified Graphene Producer" status.

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Monday, April 1, 2019
Updated: Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Graphene Council is pleased to announce that Versarien plc is the first graphene company in the world to successfully complete the Verified Graphene Producer program, an independent, third party verification system that involves a physical inspection of the production facilities, a review of the entire production process, a random sample of product material and rigorous characterization and testing by a first class, international materials laboratory. 

The Verified Graphene Producer program is an important step to bring transparency and clarity to a rapidly changing and opaque market for graphene materials, providing graphene customers with a level of confidence that has not existed before. 

“We are pleased to have worked with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the UK, regarded as one of the absolute top facilities for metrology and graphene characterization in the world.
 
They have provided outstanding analytical expertise for the materials testing portion of the program including Raman Spectroscopy, XPS, AFM and SEM testing services.” stated Terrance Barkan CAE, Executive Director of The Graphene Council.
 
Andrew Pollard, Science Area Leader of the Surface Technology Group, National Physical Laboratory, said: “In order to develop real-world products that can benefit from the ‘wonder material’, graphene, we first need to fully understand its properties, reliably and reproducibly.
 
 “Whilst international measurement standards are currently being developed, it is critical that material characterisation is performed to the highest possible level.
 
As the UK’s National Measurement Institute (NMI) with a focus on developing the metrology of graphene and related 2D materials, we aim to be an independent third party in the testing of graphene material for companies and associations around the world, such as The Graphene Council.” 
 
Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien said: “We are delighted that Versarien is the first graphene producer in the world to successfully complete the Graphene Council’s Verified Graphene Producer programme.”
 
“This is a huge validation of our technology and will enable our partners and potential customers to have confidence that the graphene we produce meets globally accepted standards.”

 

“There are many companies that claim to be graphene producers, but to enjoy the benefits that this material can deliver requires high quality, consistent product to be supplied.  The Verified Producer programme is designed to verify that our production facilities, processes and tested material meet the stringent requirements laid down by The Graphene Council.”

 “I am proud that Versarien has been independently acclaimed as a Verified Graphene Producer and look forward to making further progress with our collaboration partners and numerous other parties that we are in discussions with.”

James Baker CEng FIET, the CEO of Graphene@Manchester (which includes coordinating the efforts of the National Graphene Institute and the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre [GEIC]) stated: “We applaud The Graphene Council for promoting independent third party verification for graphene producers that is supported by world class metrology and characterization services."

"This is an important contribution to the commercialization of graphene as an industrial material and are proud to have The Graphene Council as an Affiliate Member of the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) here in Manchester ”. 

Successful commercialization of graphene materials requires not only the ability to produce graphene to a declared specification but to be able to do so at a commercial scale.

It is nearly impossible for a graphene customer to verify the type of material they are receiving without going through an expensive and time consuming process of having sample materials fully characterized by a laboratory that has the equipment and expertise to test graphene. 

The Verified Graphene Producer program developed by The Graphene Council provides a level of independent inspection and verification that is not available anywhere else. 

If you would like more information about the Verified Graphene Producer program or about other services and benefits provided by The Graphene Council, please contact;

Terrance Barkan CAE

Executive Director, The Graphene Council 

tbarkan@thegraphenecouncil.org  or directly at  +1 202 294 5563

Tags:  Andrew Pollard  Andy Pollard  Graphene  Graphene Standards  James Baker  Manchester  National Physical Laboratory  Neill Ricketts  NPL  Standards  Terrance Barkan  The Graphene Council  University of Manchester  UoM  Verified Graphene Producer  Versarien 

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Versarien PLC - USA Update

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Saturday, March 23, 2019
Versarien plc, is pleased to provide an update on the Company's activities in the United States of America. Versarien has recently established a new US corporate entity, Versarien Graphene Inc, to facilitate the Company's graphene and other 2D materials activities in the USA.  The Company is additionally in the process of establishing a new office, laboratory facility and applications centre in Houston, Texas that will act as a hub for the Company's activities in North America.

Patrick Abbott has been appointed as Versarien's Vice President North American Operations to oversee these activities and he will be based at the Company's Houston facility once established.  Patrick is an experienced speciality materials professional with over 20 years' experience in the sector.  

He is a former US Marine Corps Officer who spent over 16 years in a variety of global business development and marketing roles at BASF. In 2015 and 2016, Patrick was part of the team transitioning specific product lines to Huntsman Corporation. Subsequently he established Global Marketing Empire Solutions, a disruptive technology consulting company and joined XG Sciences, a company focussed on graphene nano technology, as their global sales manager.  At XG Sciences he was tasked with assisting the executive team in transitioning the company from an academic company to full commercialisation.

The establishment of this US presence follows on from collaboration with partners in the region.  Further North American potential collaboration partners and customers have been identified, both through inbound enquires and proactive approaches, and it is intended that the Houston facility and additional resource will enable these to be more efficiently progressed.

The Company is pleased to be participating in the UK Government organised "UK Technology and Capability Showcase" being held at Collins Aerospace in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 25 March 2019 where the Company will be presenting its 2D materials technology to Collins Aerospace representatives.

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented: "We are very pleased to be moving to the next stage of our development in the US with the establishment of Versarien Graphene Inc and a dedicated facility in Houston. 

"We are already pursuing a number of substantial opportunities in the US and I expect our level of activity to significantly increase in the coming months, particularly given the high number of enquires we have had for the supply of our graphene and other 2D materials from leading US companies."

"I am also particularly pleased we have secured the services of Patrick Abbott and I would like to formally welcome him to the Versarien team.  His skills and experience will be invaluable as we look to build more relationships and commercialise graphene enhanced products with US companies."

"Coupled with the recent progress we have made in China and elsewhere we remain confident that we can make further rapid progress this year.  I look forward to providing further updates on our US and other activities in due course."

Tags:  2D materials  Graphene  Neill Ricketts  Patrick Abbott  Versarien 

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Versarien PLC - Appointment of BEIS Secondee

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, February 28, 2019
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2019

Versarien plc has announced that Yi Luo is joining Versarien on secondment from the UK Government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy as Deputy Head of International Strategy and Government Relations. Yi will replace Peter Jay who is returning to the Department for International Trade to take up a new senior role.

Yi will be focussed on progressing the Company's international expansion, particularly in China, working alongside Matt Walker who has been on secondment to Versarien from the DIT since May 2018.

Yi read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, majoring in chemistry, and is completing her PhD in organic chemistry at University College London, alongside her work for the UK Government.  Her previous roles in Government have included working with the DIT's London and Devolved Administrations teams, where she provided analytical insights to help achieve foreign direct investment targets. 

Following this, she was a Private Secretary for ex-BEIS Minister Lord Prior, covering technology, rail and materials.  Her most recent role was as a Senior Policy Adviser for the BEIS Future Sectors team, where she led the team's international portfolio, pushing forward the Government's robotics and drones agenda, and was responsible for publishing the artificial intelligence sector deal as part of the Government's industrial strategy to put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data-driven economy.

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented: "I would like to thank Peter for his significant contribution to Versarien over the last six months, particularly in relation to the development of our business in China.  During that period we have made substantial progress in China through entering into partnerships with a number of leading manufacturers across a variety of sectors, together with securing formal relationships with Chinese provincial government bodies.

"I look forward to Versarien benefiting from Yi's skills and experience to help further progress both our existing Chinese relationships and others that we are discussing.  I would again like to thank the BEIS and DIT for their support and I am confident that Versarien's plans in China and globally will contribute to DIT's goal of ensuring there is an economic benefit to the UK from our overseas activities."

Tags:  Graphene  Neill Ricketts  Versarien  Yi Luo 

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Versarien announces collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Versarien plc, an advanced materials engineering group, has announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries ("IAI") to enable both groups to work together to develop and test Versarien's proprietary Nanene few layer graphene nano-platelets in aerospace composite structures.

IAI is a world leader in both the defence and commercial markets, delivering state-of-the-art technologies and systems in the domains of: air, space, land, sea, cyber, homeland security and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

IAI has agreed to purchase Nanene from Versarien, in a variety of forms, which will then be incorporated into composite panels for testing and evaluation, with a view to developing commercial applications for the technology. The collaboration is additionally expected to incorporate discussions and work with IAI's supply chain.

Moshe Medina, EVP and General Manager of IAI's Engineering and Development Group, commented: "IAI looks forward to collaborating with Versarien on graphene based composites, which we believe will help us create stronger and multi-functional materials. It is an ongoing challenge to harnesses the excellent micro- properties of graphene for enhancement of our composites."

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented: "We are delighted to be working with IAI, a global leader in aerospace technologies, to incorporate our graphene into a variety of composite structures. We will be working closely with the teams at IAI and their suppliers to test and evaluate the benefits of adding graphene to a variety of composite structures.

"The agreement with IAI is a significant step forward for Versarien, our first graphene collaboration in the aerospace sector, but it is just one example of the global relationships we are developing. There is increasing interest in the benefits that high quality graphene, of the types manufactured by Versarien, can add to material properties and we look forward to announcing further collaborations in due course." 

Tags:  composites  few layer graphene nano-platelets  IAI  Israel Aerospace Industries  Nanene  Versarien 

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