UK ‘falling behind’ in race to commercialise graphene

UK industry, with the help of government, must do more to develop practical uses for graphene, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has warned.

A policy statement released by the organisation today describes the UK's commercialisation of the material as 'woeful'.

Dr Helen Meese, head of materials at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: "At the moment, there's a very real possibility that this incredible British material could one day be best known for never fulfilling its enormous potential.

"The graphene community has to agree on a timescale for commercialisation now and develop a clear road map for ongoing research and development. The UK must also establish how it intends to compete in terms of market share and mass production."

To date, more than 7,500 graphene based patents have been filed worldwide. The UK, however, only has 54 (less than 1%) of them, compared to China which has 2,200 and South Korea which has 1,754.

To resolve this, the IMechE wants industry to establish a 'robust strategy' for identifying viable applications for the material and engage investors in education and training programmes.

Additionally, the institution has called on the government to continue to assist SMEs in developing technical demonstrators to show graphene's viability, and establish a public engagement strategy for emerging technologies.

"If these issues are not addressed soon, the UK could miss out on the limitless potential of the material it has spent so long developing," Dr Meese concluded.

Author
Laura Hopperton

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The UK needs a 'King Arthur' of Graphene to see the full potential - a visionary leader that will pour money into this material to help make up for the time lost in the last decade since 2004.

Comment A. Paul Gill, 31/10/2013
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