Teesside firm Applied Graphene Materials UK (AGM) says it is well on the way to becoming a world leading business in its field following a trio of key announcements in 2021.
A manufacturer of graphene nanoplatelets, based at Wilton Centre near Redcar, the company says that Graphene offers a wide range of exciting attributes.
Already this year AGM has successfully raised £6m to not only ensure the company has a solid cash runway well in to 2023 but also to enable the business to invest further in the technology and production growth plans.
It has also announced that one of its customers – Infinity Wax, a manufacturer of car care products based in the UK – has extended its graphene-based product range with the launch of a second product enhanced with AGM’s Genable technology.
Graphene Wax is designed to make it easy to wipe away dirt, enabling car owners to achieve a professional wax shine and provide long-term protection for their vehicle.
The third piece of positive news is the approval by the European Union regulator, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), for an increase in the volume threshold up to ten tonnes of powder usage per year of graphene products supplied by individual members of the Graphene REACH registration consortium.
As a leading member of the consortium, AGM is confident this approval will be game-changing for the growth of its business across Europe.
Adrian Potts, the CEO of AGM, said the ECHA’s decision was the result of four years of hard work. “Strategically, we identified the critical importance of regulatory registration to the long-term success of our business and have committed significant resources to achieving this result.
“Importantly,” he added, “It underpins the effective and safe use of AGM’s graphene materials at higher volumes.”
Underlining the importance to the company, Mr Potts said: “AGM continues to demonstrate the excellent utility of our graphene products with our customer engagements, and the ECHA registration will ensure we can meet our ambitions for larger volume orders as our commercial pipeline continues to develop.”
In its purest state it is stronger than steel, but lightweight and flexible, and a better conductor than copper. With the correct incorporation, graphene nanoplatelets have the potential to significantly enhance an array of material properties including mechanical, barrier, thermal management, lubrication and electrical performance.
AGM began as a spin-off business at Durham University, founded by Professor Karl Coleman. It was established at Wilton Centre in 2010 where it developed its “proprietary bottom-up manufacturing process” to produce high quality graphene nanoplatelets which are then used in their industry-leading Genable dispersions.
The company says its unique approach allows its customers to fully realise the potential of graphene nanoplatelets in a simple, safe and easy to formulate way.
AGM’s products are used across a wide range of industries to enable the creation of high-performance functional materials. Paint manufacturing customers, for example, are using the technology to protect metal structures such as steel roofs from corrosion, and it is enabling customers in the in-car care market to enhance the properties of waxes, polishes and detailing products.
AGM is also working with a United States-based polymer composites company on the development of ultra-lightweight cryogenic storage tanks for aerospace applications. The company has now set its sights on graphene’s potential in a range of other market opportunities including energy storage and batteries, and there are more potential applications of graphene emerging all the time.
The company has evolved from one which initially concentrated on developing its technology into what is now a commercially-focused business, and it has invested heavily in its manufacturing capability at The Wilton Centre.
Despite the challenges faced by businesses globally during the pandemic, AGM has taken the opportunity to take stock of its business development position and outline the key areas it is aiming to develop and strengthen.
Having recently joined NEPIC, a not-for-profit organisation that supports the needs and interests of the chemical-processing sector in the North East of England, AGM is looking forward to positive growth as part of a thriving business community on Teesside.
The Tees Valley Combined Authority’s successful bid to become the largest freeport in the UK has further boosted the region’s status, and AGM says it is extremely excited about the potential for future engagement with new business moving to Teesside as well as the prospect of further developing its export business.
“AGM is yet another example of an innovative business which has thrived at Wilton Centre and there couldn’t be a better time to be here,” said its accommodation manager Claire Morton.
“We’re on the doorstep of Teesworks – which is seeing an incredible level of investment because of its freeport status – and we’re spending nearly £2m on a range of new facilities at Wilton Centre to benefit all of our occupiers and provide them with the appropriate working environment for businesses post-pandemic.”
Wilton Centre is home to a number of global multi-national scientific companies. It has also become increasingly attractive for businesses based in Teesside because of its range of amenities, including restaurants, gym, lecture theatre, flexible space and ample parking.