UCF Graphene Spin-out Expands, Creates JobsOctober 18, 2013
(Orlando, FL) – A graphene oxide manufacturing company fueled by technology from UCF has moved to a new 10,000-spuare-foot facility near Orlando International Airport.
On Wednesday, UCF officials helped cut the ribbon on the new headquarters of Garmor, Inc., which has begun large-scale processing of the materials.
Jeff Atwater, chief financial officer for the state of Florida, spoke to invited guests and lauded the company as an example of how to build productive businesses in the state.
Attwater was joined by Richard Harkey, district representative for Congressman John Mica and Jamie Grooms, CEO, Florida Institute for Commercialization of Public Research.
As a graduate of UCF’s Business Incubation Program (UCF BIP), “Garmor’s growth is a win for all involved,” said Tom O’Neal, associate vice president for research at UCF.
The company was formed to commercialize technology developed by Richard Blair, a chemist in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, and Ph.D. graduate student David Restrepo. They used a combination of chemical and mechanical processes to break down graphite, like that found in pencil lead, into graphene. The company entered the UCF BIP in March 2013. Shortly thereafter Garmor competed for and won $300,000 in seed funding from the state’s Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program.
Since the move into the new facility the company has grown to eight employees and plans to add ten more in the coming year.
Graphene oxide has incomparable strength and elasticity, and is able to conduct electricity and heat better than copper
By adding a small amount of graphene oxide during the production process, makers of plastics, rubber and metal can make their products far lighter and stronger.
Manufacturers have been hindered, however, by the excessive cost of making graphene oxide – up to $200,000 a kilogram – and the toxic chemicals usually required to separate it into useable pieces.
With Blair’s technology Garmor is able to make a graphene oxide additive for a fraction of the cost and market the product to makers of materials used in electrical, thermal and structural work.
With the help of Drs. Blair and Restrepo, we are able to produce large volumes of graphene particles at a significantly reduced cost,” said Anastasia Canavan, Garmor CEO. “Using graphene as an additive for plastics and metals enables stronger, light-weight composite materials with potentially endless applications.”
Because graphene is an ultra-lightweight performance-enhancing material, manufacturers also stand to gain by reduced shipping costs.
50 Years of Achievement: The University of Central Florida, the nation’s second-largest university with nearly 60,000 students, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013. UCF has grown in size, quality, diversity and reputation, and today the university offers more than 200 degree programs at its main campus in Orlando and more than a dozen other locations. Known as America’s leading partnership university, UCF is an economic engine attracting and supporting industries vital to the region’s success now and into the future. For more information, visit http://today.ucf.edu.