Local Lancashire company partners with National Graphene Institute

William Blythe Ltd and The University of Manchester launch new energy storage project. 

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.”

Advanced materials is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet. #ResearchBeacons

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
Prof Vladimir Falko

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.

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