Gerdau, the Brazil-based steel giant and Tier 1 Partner of Graphene@Manchester, has inaugurated a new company called Gerdau Graphene, which will develop and market products based on graphene applications.

The firm is also in the process of increasing its presence and capabilities in the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at The University of Manchester.

The GEIC was co-funded by Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership in support of its work to further the economic impact of innovation in applications for advanced materials across the city-region.

Advanced materials were identified as a global frontier sector strength in the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy.

Gerdau Graphene will work in partnership with the University as part of a global strategic alliance, with the aim of becoming a leading developer of graphene-enhanced products in the Americas.

It will operate independently from its parent company’s steel business divisions. It will offer pioneering technology to the construction, industrial and automotive lubricants, rubber, thermoplastics, coatings and sensors industries in Brazil and in countries across North America.

The new company is part of the portfolio of Gerdau Next, the new business division launched by Gerdau in the second half of 2020 to operate in new segments apart from steel.

“Our market entry is unique, thanks to our proposition of making graphene production on a large scale commercially viable,” explained Alexandre Corrêa, General Manager of Gerdau Graphene.

“We are reaching the market with the advantage of being part of a solid group that enjoys high global credibility, whilst operating under the philosophy of open innovation in collaboration with multiple ecosystems and partners.

“We have already been working with graphene in Manchester – the ‘home of graphene’ – since 2019. Thanks to strategic alliances already established in this new business, we are confident that Gerdau Graphene will be an important player in the Americas.”

Gerdau has been researching graphene for four years. In 2019, it entered into a partnership with the GEIC to conduct research on graphene. At the time, Gerdau joined a select group of companies across the globe with exclusive space for research at the GEIC, a global centre of excellence in graphene innovation, whose leaders advocates open innovation and collaboration.

“Having Gerdau as a Tier 1 Partner of the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre has been rewarding for all concerned,” said James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester.

“This is a company that has a strong heritage but also continues to pioneer and through Gerdau Graphene will open a new chapter for partnership and collaboration between us. This is a very exciting opportunity.”

Senior Project Manager for Gerdau Graphene, Danilo Mariano, who is based in the GEIC, added:

“When you live for advanced materials innovation there is no better place to be in Europe than Manchester.

“We are adding personnel and equipment to support material platform development in our lab space in the GEIC. We’re also expanding our collaborations within academia through the Henry Royce Institute as well as partnering with high-potential start-ups.”

Inside the GEIC: the Partner’s story – Gerdau