Join us at The Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award 2021: winner announcement!

The £70,000 prize fund winners will be announced at the 2021 Awards Evening.

You are invited to join the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre on Friday 9 July at this online event as the winners of this year’s Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award are announced.

Two significant cash prizes of 50,000 and 20,000 will be awarded after five teams from across the University of Manchester have pitched their promising proposals to a panel of professionals in bid to secure this funding to drive their novel ideas forward.

It is an honour to announce that University physics alumnus, Dr. Eli Harari, will join the event and share with us an insight into his inspiring journey as an entrepreneur. Founder of SanDisk, one of the world’s leading non-volatile memory companies, Eli is a recognised pioneer in flash memory. Eli’s vision for SanDisk was to create a revolutionary flash memory technology that would enable low-cost, solid-state storage to replace chemical film or rotating magnetic disk drives. Flash has since become a universal component enabling content on-the-go, anytime, anywhere, in mobile phones, cameras, and other electronic devices.

The Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award, in association with Nobel Laureate Sir Andre Geim, is awarded each year to help the implementation of commercially-viable business proposals from students, post-doctoral researchers and recent graduates of The University of Manchester based on developing the commercial prospects of graphene and related 2D materials.

We do hope you are able to join us to celebrate the achievements of the finalists and to show your support for student and graduate entrepreneurship at The University of Manchester.

We will be Streaming live on the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre Facebook page, so please register by visiting the event page and select ’going’ to receive event reminders and watch live on the night.

This year’s finalists are:

CATALight 2D Technologies - 2D materials to reduce energy consumption in water industry

Our team uses 2D materials to reduce energy consumption during wastewater treatment. By using natural sunlight to degrade pollutants in wastewater, the so-called "photocatalysis" mechanism, minimum or no extra energy input is needed by our device. Our mission is to provide a highly energy saving and easy-to-implement augmentation to the current energy intensive wastewater treatment process. Integrating novel 2D materials, our product reduces costs in many aspects such as electricity usage, machinery investment, maintenance, and construction activities, hence reducing the overall energy consumption and operating costs in the water sector. Furthermore, the product also works as an augmentation to the existing infrastructure, increasing both the capacity and efficiency of the existing methodologies in a given water treatment plant.

Our vision is to become a leading water industry solution provider by designing, producing, and commercialising cost-effective, energy reducing, greenhouse gas emission reducing, and globally recognised methodologies. Stepping up to the net zero 2030 challenge in the water industry, our team wishes to contribute by tackling the critical relationship between energy consumption and water treatment via transferring new technologies in research to the marketplace, and to help accelerate the pace towards net zero in the water sector and beyond.

Space Habitat Architecture - Graphene Composite Pressure Vessel

With recent advancements in space travel, several large companies like Boeing, SpaceX, Blue origin, etc., are investing in space exploration. Most mass efforts are being directed to take people to space safer, cheaper, and faster. The next evolution in space travel will be for permanent settlement on the Moon and Mars. Materials like Graphene and composites will play a key role in space technology due to their damage tolerance, lightweight, strength, radiation shielding, thermal and electrical conductivity. Studies had proved that Graphene in composites will enhance damage tolerance, radiation shielding, and heat transfer capabilities.

There is a gap in the market to develop habitats for humans on the Moon and Mars using advanced materials such as Graphene and composites. The University of Manchester is the home of Graphene, and an advanced robotics composites lab is in a pivotal role to manufacture structural habitat designs and raise the technology readiness level of new composites for space applications. In this competition, we propose developing a scaled model of a Lunar Habitat+Mars using advanced materials like Graphene and composites. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) USA the global architectural firm behind the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa and experience in designing space habitation architecture is supporting the team with design and engineering concepts.

Deakin Bio-hybrid Materials - Advanced materials, inspired by nature

Cement, concrete, and ceramic construction materials such as bricks and tiles account for over 8% of global CO2 emissions. Our mission is to develop biopolymer-inorganic hybrid materials (bio-hybrids) as green, sustainable alternatives. Taking inspiration from natural hybrid materials such as tooth enamel, ivory, and pearl (or nacre), we have developed a relatively low energy, environmentally benign process which combines an inorganic substance (e.g., sand or anther mineral powder) with naturally occurring biopolymers to produce strong, hard materials akin to their naturally occurring counterparts.

Our process is versatile and scalable, with a wide range of inorganic substances having been demonstrated. In addition to employing natural minerals such as calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate to produce synthetic equivalents to nacre and ivory, respectively, advanced synthetic inorganics such as diamond powder and silicon carbide can also be employed.

We have also recently demonstrated the incorporation of graphite, which enhances the electrical conductivity and hydrophobicity of the materials. We are now looking to incorporate graphene due to its remarkable physical properties. Similar to graphite, we would expect graphene to improve the mechanical, electrical, and physicochemical properties of the bio-hybrid materials, opening up new and exciting applications such as advanced armour materials.

Clean Energy Underground

To stop the climate emergency before it is too late, we need to engage the most powerful and influential players in the energy sector. The petroleum industry not only involves important investors, including governments, but it is also the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses; more than 50% of global industrial emissions since 1988 can be traced to just 25 oil and gas companies. We believe our project is a true modern-day Manhattan project for clean energy. There is almost no one looking at this opportunity yet, but it has the potential to change everything.

We want to create a genuine transition pathway from oil and gas majors that will allow them to fully decarbonize within a decade or less. This can be achieved by hacking oil wells, extracting hydrogen instead of the hydrocarbons, leaving behind any pollutant products, like carbon dioxide, by capturing them inside of the same reservoir. By designing an electrolysis system capable of doing this, we will completely transform a highly controversial industry into the solution for climate change. Graphene is a key component for achieving this, especially used in the electrodes and in the cables that will power the electrolyser down-well.

Nanocomb Technologies

Nanocomb was founded to improve physical well-being through sport, in an accessible and economical way. Our team consists of Sports Scientists, Materials Scientists, Software Developers and Entrepreneurs who want to have a positive impact on people’s lives. With our combination of sports experience and cutting-edge technical knowhow, we can offer practical products for athletes of all abilities.

Recent advancements in fitness tracking have enabled athletes to surpass previous boundaries and hone performance. However, many training tools currently on offer are outdated, complicated or one-size-fits-all, leaving consumers with lacklustre results or requiring help from an expensive trainer. At Nanocomb, we strive to enable automatic personalised training which is affordable - we believe our athletes can achieve their best whilst using the most sustainable materials. We want to be world leaders of the next stage of wearable fitness technology by giving athletes a Personal Trainer in their pocket. We will supply fitness assessment in a competitive, easy to use package. By using Graphene technology, we will provide unbeatable capability, affordability, and sustainability to give the power back to the people and make movement simpler.


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