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Applied Graphene Materials, near Redcar, reveals flotation plan
A NORTH-EAST firm behind a revolutionary material has unveiled plans to increase commercial production and dominate a £400m global market.
Applied Graphene Materials (AGM), near Redcar, wants to float on the Alternative Stock Market to raise about £10m and fund its development of graphene.
The incredibly strong ultra-light carbon material, which is as thin as a human hair, conducts electricity a million times better than copper, and a sheet stretched over a hole could support a ten-tonne truck.
The Government wants the UK to be a pioneer in graphene markets, which are expected to be worth about £400m by 2020, and AGM, which employs 10 workers at the Wilton Centre, can make a tonne of the product every year.
However, bosses believe the £10m investment could increase production to eight tonnes in the next 18 months, putting the firm at the forefront of growing demand that is expected to soar from 40 tonnes a year to 400 tonnes by 2017.
The company is already working with vacuum cleaner maker Dyson, and Procter and Gamble, which makes Head and Shoulders shampoo and Fairy washing up liquid, on use of graphene in consumer products.
Jon Mabbitt, AGM chief executive, said: “Our planned admission to the stock market is a significant step forward in our development.
“The global appetite for graphene is growing at a rapid pace and many industries have recognised the significant qualities it possesses.
“We have seen considerable interest from businesses, which have recognised the advantages of our production process, enabling us to continuously produce graphene cost efficiently on a commercial scale.
“The admission to the stock market will provide us with the funding for the next phase of development and build our position as a global graphene maker.”
The North-East has played a key role in the development of the material since it was isolated by scientists at Manchester University in 2010.
Last year, a team from Durham University won the Times Higher Education award for Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology for developing a cleaner way to produce graphene.
Chancellor George Osborne also handed the university extra funding to find commercial uses and refine production methods.
WHAT IS GRAPHENE? Graphene is tougher than diamond yet ultra-light and arranged in a honeycomb lattice.
It can conduct electricity a million times better than copper and is more transparent to visible light than any other known conductor.
Its potential uses are vast, ranging from solar cells and electric vehicle batteries, protective coatings in consumer gadgets, and next-generation computer chips.
Researchers say pouring water over graphene generates a tiny amount of electricity and believe it could be used to generate power from the underside of a boat.
Applied Graphene Materials was founded by Professor Karl Coleman, a professor of inorganic chemistry at Durham University.
He found existing production methods to be costly, time-consuming, and environmentally unfriendly, and opted to build graphene from the bottom up.
When he pitched his discovery to Durham University Business and Innovation Services, it recognised the potential and spin-off Durham Graphene Science was set up in 2010.
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