Manchester start-up wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry prize

Eksagon Group Ltd has won second prize in the energy & environment category of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2016.


Eksagon Group a start up company based at The University of Manchester utilises the unique physicochemical properties of 2D materials to boost the performance of energy systems.

These electrochemical devices could provide 10 times the energy density of standard lithium batteries, whilst being environmentally sustainable. This has the potential to create the next generation of energy devices by increasing the length of time until the device needs to be recharged. Potential applications include portable electronics, vehicles and energy storage systems.

The Emerging Technologies Competition is an annual competition, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of the best European technologies for the benefit of society and the economy. The competition is aimed at universities, research institutions and small companies, and welcomes technologies in healthcare & wellbeing, energy & environment, food & water, and materials. First, second and third prizes were presented in each category.

40 shortlisted entrants pitched their ideas to a panel of expert judges at Chemistry Means Business, a two-day event for the chemistry-using industry by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Over 300 people attended the event uniting SMEs, multinational organisations, investors and academic entrepreneurs across the UK and Europe. The winners were announced at an award ceremony hosted by TV personality Hugh Dennis, on 15th June as part of the same event.

Applications were judged on the degree of innovation of the technology, its potential impact, and the quality of the science behind it. Eksagon will receive tailored business support from multinational partner companies, business training, media support, and a cash prize of £3,000.

The unique properties of graphene and two-dimensional materials offer compelling benefits not only for energy applications, but for other technology areas which we currently explore
Dr Antonios Oikonomou

Dr. Antonios Oikonomou, Managing Director at Eksagon said: “Eksagon Group is a technology incubator of graphene and two-dimensional materials with a key focus on technology feasibility, product development and commercialisation. The unique properties of graphene and two-dimensional materials offer compelling benefits not only for energy applications, but for other technology areas which we currently explore. We are privileged that the Royal Society of Chemistry has recognised our potential as we accelerate towards commercialisation.”

Dr Steve Pleasance, Head of Industry at the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “Increasing innovation in the chemical sciences is one of the key elements of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s industry strategy.

“Our Emerging Technologies competition, now in its fourth year and supported by our industry partners, is proving to be highly successful in accelerating the commercialisation of the cutting-edge research taking place in both universities and small companies.”

Winning the competition gives businesses the platform they need to make the industry aware of their technology. Since the initiative began in 2013, winners have gone on to raise a combined total of over £16 million in further funding, grown their companies and entered commercial contracts.

Other applicants from the University shortlisted include Professor Cinzia Casiraghi in the Materials category and Dr Gyorgy Szekely in the Food & Water category. Sci-Tron a spin out company of The University of Manchester also won first prize in the Materials category.

More information about the Emerging Technologies Competition, and a full list of the winners, can be found on our webpage at: http://rsc.li/emerging-technologies