A £30m investment plan which will include a centre to test ‘wonder materials’ has been unveiled by a Teesside firm.
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), headquartered in Redcar, Teesside, is planning to make the multi-million pound investment in its NETPark asset base within two years.
Planned facilities include a £14m Graphene Applications Innovation Centre, which will allow companies to test the commercial viability of products and processes based on the ‘wonder material’ graphene.
Teesside is also set to house a £14.4m Formulation Innovation Centre, to help firms exploit the commercial potential of complex formulated products used in household goods.
CPI, which employs around 250 staff at bases including its Wilton headquarters, Darlington and Sedgefield’s NETPark, has secured £7.4m from the Government-backed Local Growth Fund to get the venture off the ground, with an additional £7m set to be raised through match-funding from industry.
The Formulation Innovation Centre will also be based at NETPark, where it will provide facilities and expertise to help companies to develop, prototype and scale up new formulated products, which are used in paints, detergent powders, adhesives, lubricants, cosmetic creams and gels.
It is part of the National Formulation Centre currently being developed by the Knowledge Transfer Network and CPI.
The investment will enable companies to tap into the high-growth global formulated products market, estimated to be worth around £1,000bn.
The two centres are set to fuel expansion at CPI, which intends to grow turnover from £17m to £25m and staff numbers to 300.
But the impact of both schemes will be felt across the North East, with the potential to create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of pounds for the local economy.
Nigel Perry, chief executive officer at CPI, said: “On the graphene project the funds will provide equipment and resources that will allow us to explore the electronic properties of the material.
“That will be important in determining which applications of the material will be commercially successful and over what timescale.
“The Formulation Innovation Centre will support the development of new innovative process technologies and manufacturing routes. It will help SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) as well as large companies.
“Both schemes will allow companies to test the commercial benefits of applications of their products. This will reduce risk and potentially save companies time and money in the long run.”