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New step towards 'wonder material' graphene applications

European Commission - MEMO/14/316   23/04/2014

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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 23 April 2014

New step towards 'wonder material' graphene applications

Researchers of the AMBER centre @ambercentre in Dublin have developed a new process to mass produce graphene-based material. The method – which promises to be simple and affordable – could be used by industries for applications such as highly efficient batteries. The research team participates in the Graphene flagship @GrapheneCA, a €1 billion EU initiative to boost new technologies and innovation during the next 10 years.

Vice-President of the European Commission @NeelieKroesEU, responsible for the Digital Agenda, welcomed this progress: "From lighter aircraft to better batteries – graphene truly is the new "wonder material". By getting top European researchers and businesses to work together, we can ensure Europe takes the lead. This is the EU investing in an innovative future".

Graphene is a single-atom thick sheet of carbon. It is exceptionally light and stronger than steel, yet extremely flexible and has outstanding electrical, optical and thermal properties.

Graphene will enable new applications and products in a whole range of industries:

  • high speed, transparent and even flexible and printable consumer electronics

  • highly efficient energy storage solutions, such as lightweight and rapidly rechargeable batteries for portable devices and electric cars

  • alternative to precious materials such as platinum in chemical processes

  • ultra-strong coatings and lightweight composite materials, e.g. for making reinforced and more energy-efficient airplane components

Some of these applications are getting closer to market with research undertaken by AMBER research team in the CRANN Institute @cranntcd at Trinity College Dublin @tcddublin.

The team, led by Professor Coleman, also a grantee of the European Research Council @ERC_Research, has developed a new method to mass produce graphene-based material. This discovery was highlighted by Nature Materials @NatureMaterials.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "EU research funding supported the discovery and development of graphene, and will continue to do so with Horizon 2020, our new €80 billion innovation programme. I congratulate Professor Coleman and his team. It's no coincidence that he has also received funding from our European Research Council, the premier blue-sky funding agency in Europe."

Thomas Swan Ltd. has worked with the AMBER research team for two years and has signed a license agreement to scale up production and make material available to industry globally.

Background

The Graphene flagship is part of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships @FETFlagships announced by the European Commission in January 2013 (press release). The goal of the FET Flagships is to encourage visionary research with the potential to deliver breakthroughs and major benefits for European society and industry. FET Flagships are highly ambitious initiatives involving close collaboration with national and regional funding agencies, industry and partners from outside the European Union.

Research in the next generation of technologies is key for Europe’s competitiveness. This is why €2.7 billion will be invested in Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) under the new research programme Horizon 2020 #H2020 (2014-2020). This represents a nearly threefold increase in budget compared to the previous research programme, FP7. FET actions are part of the Excellent science pillar of Horizon 2020.

Contacts

Email: comm-kroes@ec.europa.eu Tel: +32.229.57361 Twitter: @RyanHeathEU


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