Forest of Dean graphene innovator wins share of £652,000 Innovate UK funding


2-DTech Limited, a subsidiary of the Forest of Dean-based graphene innovator Versarien, has won a £93,000 share of the £625,000 project SUPPORTIVE, to develop an innovative Asymmetric Pseudo-Capacitor power thanks to support from the Department for Transport in partnership with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

The funding will enable the development of a pack to be used in container shuttles, vehicles that transport shipping containers, at ports all over the world. Currently these vehicles are powered by diesel engines and are a sizable hurdle when it comes to transitioning maritime infrastructure to zero emissions by 2050. This award is part of the UK’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Strand 2. 

The aim of this funding is to support the design and development of technologies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the UK’s maritime sector as set out in the Clean Maritime Plan and support the transition to Net Zero by 2050. 

There are currently two technologies used to power electric vehicles: lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors. Li-ion batteries can store large amounts of electrical energy but typically have low power output, slow charging times and relatively short battery life. Supercapacitors, on the other hand, supply huge amounts of power, charge very quickly and last almost indefinitely. However, the relatively small amount of energy they hold quickly drains and severely limits the range of a vehicle.

The new SUPPORTIVE pseudo-capacitor technology is designed to charge quicker than supercapacitors, whilst also providing a higher power-capacity, and longer life-span than lithium-ion batteries. 

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, said: “Over the last few years 2-DTech has been working with Gnanomat to develop and supply graphene/transition metal oxide hybrid materials for use within the supercapacitor industry. We are really excited to have the opportunity to go one step beyond supercapacitors and move the asymmetric pseudo-capacitor tech we have developed into a real-world application. As the world transitions away from fossil-fuel reliant technologies and works towards a zero emissions future, pseudo-capacitor technology has the potential to play a significant role in making a renewable energy future reality.” 

Julian Turner, CEO of Westfield Sportscars Ltd, added: “We are really excited to be working with our partners 2-DTech, the Centre for Process Innovation Limited (CPI) and Milford Haven on this project; it will bring ground breaking technology from the automotive and aerospace sectors to the marine industry. The partners have a mutual technology vision which will pave the way for a blueprint initially for all ports across the UK and then further afield. The consortium is delighted to be working with Belfast Harbour and the Port of Antwerp as non-funded partners on the project, bringing with them vast amounts of knowledge for trial sites, technology introduction to enable the scale up.”

Dr Tony Jackson, Business Unit Director, Formulation, CPI, adds: “We’re delighted that the SUPPORTIVE project is being backed by the Department for Transport. As a cleantech innovation partner, CPI has a long history of translating bright ideas into new sustainable products and manufacturing processes. The Asymmetric Pseudo-Capacitor power pack developed through the SUPPORTIVE project will drive the next-generation of clean transport power and support net zero emission targets.”