A manufacturer in the region is to create 15 new jobs on Teesside after expanding operations following a successful flotation on the stock market which raised £11m.
Applied Graphene Materials, based at Wilton Centre on Teesside, is increasing its laboratory and office space and also embarking on a recruitment drive.
The Wilton Centre-based company has seen its value jump since it floated on the stock market in November last year. It is using this injection of finance to fund its next phase of growth and is looking to recruit engineers, production operatives and scientists as it expands its operations.
The company makes graphene, which is a one-molecule-thick layer of graphite, 100 times stronger than steel, but six times lighter and conducts electricity 20 times better than copper.
It is predicted the market for graphene products will hit $195m by 2018 and will grow to $1.3bn by 2023. Applied Graphene Materials is already working with companies including Dyson and Procter & Gamble to develop commercial uses for the material.
Graphene is developed for use in electronics, solar panels, body armour, and non-stick pan coatings and to create flexible touchscreen displays for mobile devices. The Group aims to increase the capacity of its Wilton Centre plant, where it has been for the past two years, to capitalise on forecasts for demand for graphene to increase tenfold from 40 tonnes to 400 tonnes by 2017.
Jon Mabbitt, chief executive officer of Applied Graphene Materials, said: “We have seen considerable interest from blue-chip businesses which have recognised the advantages of our production process, enabling us to continuously produce graphene cost efficiently on a commercial scale. Applied Graphene Materials is now well positioned to meet the growing global appetite for graphene as a wonder material of the 21st Century.”
The science and business park’s site director Steve Duffield said: “We are very proud to have been able to support the Group as it has expanded from its beginnings with a few employees, to becoming a business that requires multiple laboratories and office space.”