Cheltenham graphene manufacturer secures £1.95 million MoD contract


Versarien, the Cheltenham-headquartered advanced materials engineering group has been awarded a product development agreement for £1.95 million by the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), a part of the Ministry of Defence.  DSTL is responsible for ensuring that innovative science and technology contribute to the defence and security of the UK.

The agreement is to develop graphene loaded polymer composites for certain defence related applications, the details of which remain confidential.  The company has been awarded the agreement due to its technical applications capability in conjunction with its accredited graphene quality.

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, said: “Versarien is delighted to have been awarded this agreement by DSTL, which acknowledges the quality of our products and technical ability.  We look forward to completing the project on time and to supporting the Ministry of Defence in applying graphene to military applications.”

In July, Versarien secured a £5million loan facility from Innovate UK to fund Versarien’s G SCALE project. It said the loan would enable the advanced materials engineering group to significantly increase the manufacture of quality assured graphene.

In August, the company announced a drop in revenues to £8.3 million this year, down from £9.1 million the previous year and a loss before tax of £4.7 million (2019: £2.8 million). At that time, Neill Ricketts said: ““Monetisation of our technologies is now the focus of the company’s attention, although we will continue our stated strategy of acquiring additional IP should suitable opportunities arise. With a strengthened balance sheet following the Lanstead placing and the Innovate UK loan, coupled with a particular focus on those collaborative projects that are expected to deliver commercially in the near term, we are very well positioned to execute this strategy.”

Highlights for Versarien over the year include a commercial partnership agreement with the Company’s textile sector collaboration partner, MAS Innovation (Private) Limited, to develop new garments using Versarien’s graphene ink materials and being awarded €350,000 grant to participate in the Graphene Flagship project, led by Airbus  to develop graphene based thermo-electric ice protection systems to prevent icing on aircraft surfaces.

The company has also entered into a partnership with Rolls Royce and the University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre using chemical vapour deposition  in wiring for next generation aerospace engine systems and received a grant of £104,000 from the Advanced Propulsion Centre for the development of  low-carbon technologies to significantly reduce vehicle emissions.