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University launches company to commercialise graphene

The University of Manchester has launched a new company to further the development and commercialisation of innovative products that make use of the ‘wonder material’ graphene.

The University of Manchester has launched a new company to further the development and commercialisation of innovative products that make use of the ‘wonder material’ graphene.

The new company, Graphene Enabled Systems Ltd, aims to support the creation of profitable spin-out enterprises by identifying new markets for graphene-enhanced products and developing prototypes to showcase the technology to industry.

The company is wholly owned by the University of Manchester and is based at its Innovation Centre (UMIC).

‘Wonder material’

Graphene, dubbed a ‘wonder material’ by scientists and industry, is the world’s first two dimensional material, consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is super-conductive, super-strong, ultra-flexible and easy to manufacture.

The material was isolated at the University of Manchester in 2004 by scientists Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, earning them the Nobel Prize for Physics.

Industry applications

Graphene has already led to some exciting developments in environmental technologies.

For example, a graphene coating added to an LED filament allows electricity and heat to be transferred more efficiently, resulting in lower energy consumption and a longer product life than standard LEDs.

Scientists from the University of Manchester are also developing a new application for the development of fuel-efficient vehicles by using graphene to harvest the heat produced by motor engines and convert it into electricity.

Meanwhile, Manchester-based HMG Paints has joined an EU-funded project to develop graphene-reinforced ‘thermosetting’ coatings and adhesives for industry components. 

‘Unique position’

Newly appointed chief executive of Graphene Enabled Systems, Andrew Wilkinson, said: “The University of Manchester has been at the forefront of this scientific breakthrough and we are now in a unique position to harness the full potential of graphene and other 2D materials.

“At Graphene Enabled, we plan to create a huge range of exciting new products such as stronger, lighter composite materials; new flexible conductive inks; super-tough abrasion resistant coatings; special filters designed only to let selected materials pass through them and a huge array of new high-performance electronic components and energy storage devices such as batteries and capacitors.

“All of these potential new products are made possible by the work that is being carried out at the University and our job, at Graphene Enabled is to work with industrial partners, investors and entrepreneurs to turn this innovative science into real products.”

The first raft of product demonstrators developed by the company is expected to be delivered within the next 12 months.