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Gloucestershire Business News

Partnership with Airbus keeps Cheltenham engineering firm flying high

The Versarien success story shows little sign of slowing with the Cheltenham-based advanced materials engineering group now joining forces with Airbus.

Versarien have been selected to participate in a European Commission-funded project led by the aviation giant called the Graphene Flagship.

According to the announcement made by the firm: "The Graphene Flagship facilitates competition between its partners accelerating the timeline for industry acceptance of graphene technologies.

"The Project that Versarien will participate in will be led by Airbus and will focus on graphene enhanced thermoelectric ice protection systems.

"Ice accumulates on the surfaces of airplanes affecting the pilot's control of the aircraft.

"Thermoelectric ice protection systems prevent this from happening using an ultra-thin conductive layer to generate heat.

"The Project, which is categorised by the Graphene Flagship as a 'Spearhead', large-scale commercialisation project, aims to develop graphene-based thermoelectric ice protection systems and to advance the technology readiness level of graphene in these systems.

To fund Versarien's participation in the Project it has received approval for a €350,000 grant from the Graphene Flagship.

Elmar Bonaccurso, Senior Scientist and Project Manager for Surface Technology at Airbus, commented: "Airbus has been following the Graphene Flagship from the beginning.

"Now, after six years of successful research and development, we are at the right point to step in with a larger project.

"We expect that, by using graphene as a material for ice protection systems, we can reduce the complexity of these systems to create a system that uses less energy, reduces fuel consumption and allows us to become more environmentally friendly in aviation."

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented: "We are very pleased to be working with Airbus on this key Graphene Flagship project and to be receiving funding from the Graphene Flagship to facilitate it.

"This is another example of Versarien's graphene technology being deployed in the aerospace sector, one where it has the potential to add significant value.

"We look forward to starting work on this project in the New Year and reporting on its progress and those of our many other commercialisation projects in due course."

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