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University attracts major graphene manufacturer to Manchester

09 Sep 2013

One of the world’s largest graphene manufacturers has agreed a £5m collaborative research partnership to open its European base at The University of Manchester.

Bluestone were attracted by the University's wealth of graphene expertise
Bluestone were attracted by the University's wealth of graphene expertise

The decision by Bluestone Global Tech to locate their European production plant at the home of graphene could attract a significant number of jobs to the city.

The partnership will allow the University of Manchester’s foremost academics to work closely on research projects with Bluestone, in order to produce the next generation of graphene applications.

Graphene was first isolated at The University of Manchester by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov in 2004, earning them the Nobel prize for Physics in 2010.

Work has begun on the £61m National Graphene Institute (NGI), funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the European Regional Development Fund, which will provide a centre for industry and University academics to work side by side on emerging graphene applications. The deal with Bluestone marks the first strategic partnership of the NGI.

The University has more than 100 scientists and engineers working on graphene and other 2D materials, across all disciplines providing the expertise and critical mass Bluestone and other industrial partners require.

Bluestone, who currently have laboratories in New York and Taiwan, are leading the emerging graphene market, providing mass production of high-quality 2D materials to enable the commercialisation of many graphene-enhanced applications such as advanced displays, flexible electronics, energy storage materials, and cosmetics.

In addition to providing the material for research projects, Bluestone will initially open a pre-production facility and offices at the University to partner with a few leading consumer companies, before setting up larger European headquarters and a pilot production plant within Manchester.

Bluestone joins Graphene Industries and 2D-Tech, the University spin-out companies supplying graphene and other 2D materials around the world, in a group of graphene manufacturers based at the University.

Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Professor Colin Bailey said: “We are delighted that Bluestone has chosen to base themselves at The University of Manchester.

“It’s clear that their decision is based on the wealth of knowledge we have at the University, with more than 100 scientists and engineers working on graphene and 2D materials.

“This partnership will help in the commercialisation of graphene creating further jobs in Manchester which will be of benefit to the UK economy.” 

Dr. Chung Ping Lai, Chief Executive Officer for Bluestone Global Tech, added: “Bluestone has led the production of large area graphene since the establishment of its North American operation in New York. The increasing demand for our materials and expertise in Europe has prompted our decision to establish the Bluestone Global Tech brand in Europe with the setting of its operation in the UK.

“The link with The University of Manchester and the National Graphene Institute is integral to our strategy of working with our customers to bring products and processes from the lab to the workplace. With our long term commitment and cooperation with The University of Manchester, BGT will have access to a critical mass of world-class research talent, facilities and resources and we are very excited to be located at the home of graphene.”

Notes for editors

Research projects Bluestone will be involved in include:

•    Plasmonics (rapid transmission of information using wires), led by Professor Alexander Grigorenko.
•    Supercapacitors using graphene and other 2D materials, led by Professor Rob Dryfe.
•    Graphene oxide membranes, led by Dr Rahul Nair.

More information about graphene research at The University of Manchester can be found at www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk.

More information about Bluestone Global Tech can be found at http://bluestonegt.com.

Professor Bailey is available for interview on request.

For media enquiries please contact:

Daniel Cochlin
Graphene Communications and Marketing Manager
The University of Manchester
0161 275 8382
07917 506158
www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk
www.manchester.ac.uk
Twitter: @UoMGraphene

Aeron Haworth
Engineering and Physical Sciences Media Relations Officer
The University of Manchester
0161 275 8387
07717 881563
aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk