First Graphene Limited (FGR) has entered a Joint Development and Commercialisation Agreement with the UK’s largest cement manufacturer Breedon Group at their Hope Cement Works plant in the Peak District National Park.
The agreement will facilitate First Graphene’s development of a range of graphene-enhanced solutions to reduce the clinker factor of Breedon’s cement and as a result reduce its carbon emissions footprint.
Both companies have agreed to focus on enhancing the mechanical performance of Breedon’s CEM II Cement, which has a lower clinker factor than CEM I, such that it’s compressive strength matches that of its CEM I product.
Breedon will provide the advanced industrial materials developer with access to its Hope Cement Works manufacturing facility in Derbyshire and the expertise of staff to assist development and implementation of graphene dosing techniques and improved low-emission cement-based products.
First Graphene Managing Director and CEO Michael Bell voiced that the company is excited about the formalisation of this new partnership with Breedon and increasing their commercialisation journey in the cement and concrete sector.
“Breedon is an early adopter and exemplar of carbon reduction initiatives in the cement and concrete sector, with a firm goal of reducing its own gross carbon output by 30 per cent by 2030 and helping meet their clients’ own sustainability objectives.
“Through our Agreement, First Graphene intends to help Breedon reach its target as well as improve market penetration for graphene enhanced cement and concrete products, which can drastically reduce carbon emissions produced by the sector,” said Bell.
The Agreement comes ahead of First Graphene and Breedon launching a second phase of trials aimed at optimising dosage rates and method of PureGRAPH enhanced products at Hope Cement Works.
Phase one of the trials, which was completed in September 2023, used approximately 600 kilograms of PureGRAPH to produce several hundred tonnes of CEM II cement.
Lower amounts of carbon intensive clinker are used in the production of CEM II, delivering a 15 per cent reduction in carbon emissions compared to the primary CEM II cement — providing the cement and concrete industry with a solution to meet environmental sustainability targets.
The initial trials demonstrated the potential of increasing the early-stage compressive strength by up to 10 per cent, which is a considerable mechanical property improvement when compared to equivalent controls.
Once manufactured, the graphene enhanced cement and concrete was used to create a temporary wheel washing facility at a live infrastructure project that is being delivered by trial partner Morgan Sindall Group.
Breedon Group (Cement) Managing Director Jude Lagan said: “This new partnership with First Graphene is another significant step in the right direction as we execute our Net-Zero strategy and help play our part in the decarbonisation of the broader cement industry.”
“In order to achieve our targets by 2050, our industry needs to constantly innovate and adapt. We are looking forward to undergoing the further trials to understand how we can optimise the use of graphene in our processes and continue to develop products that have significant environmental benefits,” said Lagan.
Under the initial two-year Agreement, First Graphene will conduct wide ranging research, provide specialist advice and technical support on graphene and graphene-based formulations.
Preparation of graphene formulations for use in cement grinding aids and cement admixtures will be supported by the development and design methods for adding graphene into production facilities and to manufacture industrial scale quantities of graphene enhanced cement.
Breedon will supply First Graphene with access to cement market data, as well as support and access to its Hope Cement Works processing facility and personnel support, enabling it to conduct trials in a controlled environment.
Both parties, along with other industry partners, will be involved in testing and validating the performance of graphene enhanced cement and concrete produced under the Agreement.
Should results of research and development work undertaken through the Agreement deliver commercial opportunities, First Graphene retains the right to own the intellectual property for any product being delivered to the open market.