The University of Nottingham and its spin-out business, Promethean Particles, have secured a major EU research project with an overall value of €9.7 million.
This will fund further research work alongside key industrial partners, into the large scale manufacturing of nano-materials.
The University and Promethean were successful with their proposal for the SHYMAN project (Sustainable Hydrothermal Manufacturing of Nanomaterials).
The University will co-ordinate the project, while Promethean will play the leading role in terms of the manufacturing work.
SHYMAN is part of the EU’s Framework Programme 7 (FP7) and enables universities and businesses across Europe to explore the potential of new technologies in industry.
Promethean was set up as a University spin-out business in 2008, after researchers developed a unique method of manufacturing nano-particles suspended in water.
In the SHYMAN project, Promethean will aim to increase its manufacturing capability to an industrial scale, enabling it to produce over 100 tons of nano-materials per year.
The SHYMAN project will take place over the next four years and includes partner universities and businesses from 12 European countries.
Several end users of nano-materials will also be working with Promethean and the University as part of the project. These businesses include Solvay, Fiat, PPG, Repsol, Itaprochim, Endor, Ceramisys and TopGaN.
All are looking to have specific nanomaterial developed into commercial products in a variety of applications including healthcare, coatings and nanocomposites.
Professor Ed Lester of The University of Nottingham, and Technical Director of Promethean, said: “The SHYMAN project offers a great opportunity for us. It will enable us to develop the groundbreaking work that we have been doing in the manufacture of nano materials. We will also be working on new materials that have been identified as key future targets but which either cannot be made using conventional processes, or made in significant quantities”.
“The consortium is founded on the principle that everyone in the value chain, from the producers of the nanoparticles through to the final product, has to be involved in the development of the technology. This will ensure that we develop products and solutions which have specific industrial applications.”
In addition to the SHYMAN project, Promethean also recently secured £500,000 of private investment funding which will allow it to increase its manufacturing capabilities and staffing.
To enable this growth, the business will soon be moving into two units at the Highfield Science Park in Nottingham, from where it will be able to service existing and newly-acquired clients in the USA, Japan, Korea and Europe.
Speaking about the SHYMAN project and the success of Promethean, Mike Carr, The University of Nottingham’s Director of Business Engagement, said: “The work that Promethean is doing in nano-technology is a great example of how technology developed by researchers at The University of Nottingham can have potentially enormous benefits in industry.
“There is a wide variety of University technologies that businesses are able to develop under license from us. We always welcome the opportunity to meet with businesses that are interested in exploring ways in which we can work together to commercialize innovative ideas and launch new products onto the market.”