Graphene manufacturer to set up facility at Manchester University

One of the leading names in the emerging graphene industry, New York based Bluestone Global Tech is to open a European production plant at Manchester University.

The £5m partnership will allow the University’s academics to work closely with Bluestone on the development of applications the material.

Graphene was first isolated at Manchester University by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov in 2004, earning them the Nobel prize for Physics in 2010. The two dimensional material - which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb structure - is the thinnest, and one of the strongest, known materials.

The deal with Bluestone marks the first strategic partnership of the university’s £61m National Graphene Institute (NGI), which is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the European Regional Development Fund and has been established to provide a centre for industry and University academics to collaborate on applications for the material.

As well as providing the material for research projects, Bluestone will initially open a pre-production facility and offices at the University to partner with a few leading consumer companies, before setting up larger European headquarters and a pilot production plant within Manchester.

Bluestone will work alongside University spin-outs Graphene Industries and 2D-Tech, which are both supplying graphene and other 2D materials around the world.

Bluestone’s CEO, Chung Ping Lai, said in a statement that the decision to set up an operation in the UK was prompted by growing European demand for graphene materials and expertise.