Brazil’s largest steel producer, Gerdau, has launched a new company called Gerdau Graphene, which will develop and market products based on graphene materials.
The new company will also work in partnership with the University of Manchester as part of a global strategic alliance, with the aim of becoming a leading developer of graphene-enhanced products in the Americas.
Gerdau Graphene will operate independently from its parent company's steel business divisions. It will offer pioneering technology to the construction, industrial and automotive lubricants, rubber, thermoplastics, coatings and sensors industries in Brazil and in countries across North America.
The new company is part of the portfolio of Gerdau Next, the new business division launched by Gerdau in the second half of 2020 to operate in new segments apart from steel.
"Our market entry is unique, thanks to our proposition of making graphene production on a large scale commercially viable," explained Alexandre Corrêa, General Manager of Gerdau Graphene. "We are reaching the market with the advantage of being part of a solid group that enjoys high global credibility, whilst operating under the philosophy of open innovation in collaboration with multiple ecosystems and partners."
Gerdau has been researching graphene for four years. In 2019, it entered into a partnership with the GEIC to conduct research on graphene.
“Having Gerdau as a Tier 1 Partner of the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre has been rewarding for all concerned,” said James Baker, CEO Graphene@Manchester.
“This is a company that has a strong heritage but also continues to pioneer and through Gerdau Graphene will open a new chapter for partnership and collaboration between us. This is a very exciting opportunity.”
Senior Project Manager for Gerdau Graphene, Danilo Mariano, who is based in the GEIC, added: “When you live for advanced materials innovation there is no better place to be in Europe than Manchester.
“We are adding personnel and equipment to support material platform development in our lab space in the GEIC. We’re also expanding our collaborations within academia through the Henry Royce Institute as well as partnering with high-potential start-ups.”
Gerdau Graphene already has strategic alliances with major graphene developers, including fellow GEIC Tier 1 Partner First Graphene, with whom Gerdau signed a memorandum of understanding in March 2021. In the Brazilian market, it has strategic partnerships in the automotive sector with Baterias Moura and SKF do Brasil to develop applications in energy storage, rubber, composites and coatings.