Exclusive: James Baker says graphene can disrupt different industries

Firm is looking at graphene commercialisation through its partnership with Masdar

Graphene is a disruptive technology that could open up new markets and even replace existing technologies or materials in different industries, according to James Baker, CEO at Graphene@Manchester.

In an exclusive interview with MECN, Baker noted: “Graphene, while it is a new material, is really carbon. But when graphene is added to things, it really starts to enhance the performance of the combined product. For example, in construction, by adding a very small amount of graphene to concrete, we can actually get the equivalent performance of 20 percent less concrete material.”

“So, it’s a good example for roads or infrastructure where we could use less concrete, which means lower carbon footprint, lower weight, and lower cost, which is all achieved by adding a very small amount of graphene.”

He noted that in the last couple of years there has been a pronounced shift in the market and that there is a focus on pre-fabrication in the industry. Graphene can also aid in making modular structures, which can be thinner and lighter and multi-functional, he said.

He added: “My role is focused on how we take this science from the lab at the University into everything from aircraft to batteries to concrete to roads to biomedicals. So, there are different applications which can be achieved with graphene, and now we are looking at working with industries in partnerships and collaboration models to make a real difference to those products and ideas.”

Abu Dhabi-based Masdar is the principal funder of the purpose-built Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at the University of Manchester in England. It is aimed at marketing products and technologies made from graphene and also directly supports graphene commercialisation.

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