HS2 rail project on track for Gloucestershire engineering firm

Advanced engineering firm Versarien is increasing production of the revolutionary material graphene to help make possible the High Speed 2 rail project – with some other highlights outlined in its annual results.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published

Advanced engineering firm Versarien is gearing up to increase production of its core product, graphene – as part of helping the HS2 (High Speed 2) rail project possible.

Its just-published unaudited annual results show the firm, which is currently moving from Cheltenham to the Forest of Dean, has strengthened its balance sheet ready to invest in more product development.

Bottomline figures show that despite a fall in group revenues from £8.3 million to £6.6 million, it managed to keep its losses before tax only marginally higher than last year at £1.7 million (up on £1.6 million).

Its success in showing graphene can strengthen concrete by 40 per cent was picked up by Worcestershire-based ChangeMaker 3D, a partner to HS2 Ltd’s London tunnels contractor SCS JV (a joint venture between Skanska, Costain and Strabag).

The innovative construction firm will use the tech when it 3D prints some of the concrete for the major rail project on-site, a process also expected to reduce C02 emissions.

Neill Ricketts, chief executive officer and co-founder of Versarien, said: ‘Despite the challenges arising from the pandemic, we have continued to focus on the commercialisation of our graphene technologies.’

Increasing its production of graphene has been made possible by a £5 million loan from Innovate UK.

The firm said it was also working with ‘multiple industrial partners to develop composite structures for automotive, aerospace, defence and rail’.

Other highlights of Versarien’s year include a £1.95 million development agreement by the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), the launch of graphene enhanced protective face masks, a partnership with Rolls Royce and successfully demonstrating graphene can increase tyre rubber stiffness by 30 per cent.

By Andrew Merrell

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