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Local Lancashire company partners with National Graphene Institute

23 Nov 2017

William Blythe Ltd and The University of Manchester Launch New Energy Storage Project

National Graphene Institute
National Graphene Institute

This week, William Blythe Ltd has started a new research project with the National Graphene Institute (NGI) at The University of Manchester, targeting the development of novel high capacity graphene-related materials for use in the electric vehicle market.

The partnership between the North-West-based company and The NGI will further strengthen the graphene knowledge eco-system and advanced manufacturing supply-chain based in the region. With the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre also set to open in 2018 the base for Graphene City is taking shape.

The project will combine William Blythe’s core capabilities in inorganic synthetic chemistry and their high-quality graphene-oxide with the specialist experience of The University of Manchester’s Professor Robert Dryfe and the energy storage team at the NGI.

Professor Vladimir Falko, Director of the National Graphene Institute said: “Searching for the ways to implement graphene in the new generation of anodes and cathodes in lithium-ion batteries is very high on our priorities list. This new partnership with William Blythe allows the University’s graphene scientists greater access to necessary materials to work with, in tandem with a project exploring the possibilities of 2D materials and new battery technologies.”

Graphene-oxide is one of many different forms of graphene which has already been proven to show remarkable material properties and potential new product applications.

The two year project will be devoted to the development of anode materials which will enable the range of electric vehicles to compete with traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. Cameron Day, who developed William Blythe’s graphene-oxide manufacturing process, will be seconded to the NGI for the duration of the project.

Commenting at the start of the project, Cameron said: “Renewable energy technologies will dominate the energy market in years to come, and advanced energy storage methods will be key to its progression. I feel honoured to be working on such an important project in my hometown with the National Graphene Institute.”

This project marks another milestone in William Blythe’s history of pioneering work in the development and application of inorganic chemistry for demanding applications, as well as their commitment to the development of commercial applications for graphene oxide materials. The energy storage sector is a new market for William Blythe and collaborating on this project with the NGI will serve as an excellent platform to accelerate product development.

Andrew Hurst, Managing Director at William Blythe commented: "We are excited to be undertaking this important development project with Professor Dryfe and his team at the NGI. A combination of William Blythe’s capability in inorganic chemistry and the Institute's global pre-eminence in graphene offers real potential to solve one of the significant problems limiting the adoption of electric vehicles." As part of the project, William Blythe will also supply graphene oxide to researchers throughout the NGI, allowing easier access to William Blythe’s material which is already in use in a number of projects at the Institute.

About William Blythe: William Blythe is an inorganic speciality chemicals and advanced materials manufacturer based in Lancashire, UK. Founded in 1845, William Blythe is focussed on delivering speciality chemical solutions to help its customers meet the technological challenges of the 21st century in markets as diverse as life sciences, performance coatings, polymers, electronics, catalysts and renewable energy. After launching their graphene oxide R&D programme in 2015, William Blythe has moved quickly to provide the market with the reliable supplier of high quality graphene oxide needed by supplying material through their online webshop, GOgraphene. As the project turns towards commercialisation of applications, William Blythe is focussing on technology areas which could feel a truly disruptive impact from the inclusion of graphene oxide.  William Blythe is a wholly owned subsidiary of Synthomer Plc.

About the National Graphene Institute: The National Graphene Institute (NGI) is the national centre for graphene research in the UK, drawing in specialists from across the globe. It houses state-of-the-art cleanrooms, plus laser, optical, metrology and chemical labs and equipment - the ideal environment for world-class graphene research.

The NGI is fundamentally important to continue the world-class graphene research started in Manchester. Our researchers and scientists collaborate with colleagues from other universities and from some of the world's leading companies, to accelerate leading scientific research and commercial applications.

Industry has a vital role to play in just how the world's first 2D material will be used. The NGI houses both academics carrying out fundamental research and their also industrial partners. The NGI is focused on collaboration between The University of Manchester and its partners to develop graphene applications of the future.