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N E T PA R K ISSN 1753-6677

FOREWORD NETWorks reports on the very latest science and technology news, putting discoveries and advances in the context of everyday life - showcasing the North East as a place of scientific excellence. It’s all about the appliance of science, engineering and technology. And, if you ever had any doubts about how important this is in these challenging economic times, look at how high it is on the UK’s political agenda. Described by the Prime Minister in his Romanes Lecture at Oxford in February as a “key element of our path to recovery’’. And echoed in the words of Lord Mandelson: “Science is not only the ladder by which we will climb out of the downturn – it is also critical to our success in the upturn.” We live in a region with an impressive record of innovation, and it is innovation that will give us a competitive advantage. So in this issue of NETWorks we focus on sectors in which we have considerable strengths and which can act as a powerful catalyst for investment and economic recovery -nanotehcnology, energy, engineering and defence. These are sectors which already make a significant contribution to the regional economy and are key components of the region’s economic strategy. Underpinned by a strong network of regional research and support, scientific and technological advances in these fields of endeavour can position us to come out of the recession well placed to thrive. Stewart Watkins Managing Director, CDDC

NETWorks is published by Distinctive Publishing Ltd, Aidan House, Sunderland Road, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 3HU Telephone 0191 4788300 Managing Director John Neilson Creative Director Martin Williamson For all enquiries including editorial, subscription and advertising please contact Distinctive Publishing. With thanks to all our contributors. NETWorks is supported by NETPark




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think M.’s RESULTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES At think M. we are currently working on a number of very exciting projects which reflect the North East’s creative and innovative spirit, from super intelligent toy robots, to new wind tunnel systems for F1 race car design and new chipsets for leading brand guitar amps. After three years in business, think M. has grown into a substantial marketing and research consultancy team. ‘We specialise in applied research and practical strategy. We now have 7 full time marketing and research professionals in the core team, as well as a number of specialist associates who regularly work with us. I think what appeals is our proven track record for achieving results, not just producing reports. - Joanna Curry, MA Senior Marketing Executive ‘We have recently worked on securing a major agreement on behalf of our client, Weigh-ahead UKENA; for the installation of their machines in airports across the UK, which is potentially worth £250,000.’ - Adam Jones, MA MCIM Channel strategist The intelligent Weigh-ahead systems allow passengers to weigh their luggage prior to check in, which may result in them avoiding excess luggage charges and problems at check in. ‘We simply can’t thank think M. enough. From ‘real’ market research to support establishing pilot sales, they are truly committed and passionate about getting clients to market’ - Managing Director, Weigh-ahead UKENA To see if think M. can help your company succeed, call Katie on 0845 838 7372 or email

FREE BUSINESS AND MARKET INTELLIGENCE ANYONE? NETintel provides rapid response business intelligence to the region’s science, technology and engineering community. The service provides access to a wide range of intelligence on competitors, suppliers and potential customer markets as well as scientific papers, technology research and even free Intellectual Property (IP) searching. NETintel has been used by a diverse range of businesses since its launch in October 2008. lovle Ltd used the service to identify open sources of funding for the ICT sector: “The NETintel team were very helpful and quickly identified and supplied an extensive dataset of potential investor contacts relevant to our business sector” - James Burke, lovle Ltd Access to accurate, relevant and timely intelligence enables better informed decisions, giving your company a competitive advantage. The service is free for NETPark Net members. You can join for as little as £99 per year. For further information please visit:

POWER TO THE PEOPLE There always has to be one who puts the telling question, doesn’t there? And, at the latest NETPark quarterly debate to examine the energy question, that one is Robin Twizell. Robin, managing director of Renewable Energy from Agriculture, asked the panel of august experts gathered to discuss the future of energy: do they really need, in broad daylight, the lights above their heads to be switched on? In fact, this moment of wry amusement neatly encapsulated what was to be a key theme of the debate: to what extent should we be looking for top-down, government-led solutions to our energy problems, and to what extent do the answers lie in our own hands, by, for example, switching off unnecessary lights? “It’s a change of everybody’s attitude that’s needed and by the individual,’’ says Twizell. “There’s too much emphasis put on saying the government has got to this, or One NorthEast has got to do that. We are passing on the responsibility, instead of grabbing hold of some of that responsibility ourselves. If we are interested in sustainability, I think we have to put our own house in order first.’’ Panel member Professor David Wood, from Durham University’s School of Engineering, points to one area where individuals can make a difference. “Look at where people live and work. Nobody here is flying in from Russia or Cape Town every day, but you can bet your life that they would do it if they could. What you have these days is people going to a centralised place to work and coming in from 20, 30 or 50 miles away, because they can, not because it’s a good idea. You have to get around to this notion of living close to where you work because a huge amount of transport energy consumption is spent effectively going nowhere.’’

Fellow panel member Lyn Miles, chief executive of Romag Holdings, also supports the idea that individuals can make a difference. She says: “It’s small, incremental steps that altogether, will make that giant leap.’’ She also argues that the recession might prompt people and businesses to find ways of saving energy as they seek to cut costs. However, the panel’s chairman, Andrew Mill, chief executive of NaREC, questions the bottom-up approach, asking whether it is not the role of government to provide leadership. Panel member John Barton, director of Renew, Centre for Process Innovation, says: “I keep hearing there is no leadership, there is no vision and I think we need a new model, I think the model of waiting for vision and leadership to come down doesn’t work anymore, because the political five-year cycle stops people taking the decisions that need to be taken. I think we are in a position now, where leadership has to come from the ground up.’’ Audience member Gareth Taylor, chief executive of Evince Technology, tells the panel he welcomed last year’s hike in oil prices, because only when people feel the pain of more expensive energy is there the momentum for change coming from below. He adds: “One of the big problems we have in the UK is that for the past 25 years a generation has taken a holiday from putting in infrastructure, whereas the previous two or three generations built up the water infrastructure, the electricity infrastructure, the gas infrastructure and generations took responsibility for putting things in place but since the privatisation of the 1980s we have taken a huge holiday.’’ Barton cites a survey which reveals that two thirds of adults don’t believe climate change will have any impact in their lifetimes and the problem with government advertising campaigns is that they have


advocated small measures such as changing light bulbs which leads the public to believe we must only be facing a small problem. Ged Parker argues the scale of the problem throws into question the freedoms that people take for granted. He says: “We may have to go back to something close to a wartime economy where we are directed; where politicians say this is all you can consume and this or where you can travel and these are the kind of holidays you can take’’. Professor Dermot Roddy, Science City professor of energy, Newcastle University, says that in the UK we may also have to return to a previously unfashionable idea and grasp the nettle of picking winners. “Finland will say they’ve got lots of biomass, so will Austria, so they will major in that and build an industry around it and we will create jobs. Spain does solar and Germany does a lot of solar and Denmark does a lot of wind. People are picking things that make sense for their geography, climate and industrial base and they concentrate on those and they absolutely do pick winners, but we say as a country we want to be technology agnostic. The corollary of that is that if we take for ever to make a decision then, one by one, we miss the economic boats.’’ All the panel members agree that the technology is available and that it requires some leadership to make full use of it. “We are not short of technology, the bits of the jigsaw are all there,’’ says Mr Barton, and Lyn Miles agrees, saying, `the innovation is in the application.” There is also strong feeling among the panel that the solution lies in a mixture of those technologies. Andrew Mill said: “I don’t think any one technology is going to solve it, I think we need all the photovoltaics we can get, we are going to

need all the wind power we can get, we are going to need all the wave energy we can get, and we are still going to need nuclear and coal and that’s a fundamental reality unless we make a fundamental change to the use of energy.’’ The debate’s various themes: the tension between top-down and bottom-up action, frustration with perceived lack of leadership, the availability of a mix of viable technologies in the region, lead the panel and audience to the idea of making the North East a renewable energy sustainable lifestyle world leader. Gareth Taylor explained: “Let’s become world experts in how to reduce your energy consumption by 35% and create a new economy based on the fact that we can deliver knowledge and manufacturing capability that outstrips the rest of the world.’’ Audience member Neil Loxley, managing director of Thermastrate, takes up the idea, suggesting a programme for the North East to make itself energy independent. “That would drive investment in the region,’’ he says. “You start with that as a long term goal and you can take some bite-size chunks out of it.’’ Lyn Miles agrees, saying the North East has the appetite for such a project and has all the elements in place, in terms of universities, research centres, industry, labour force and a regional development agency which also has the appetite to support it. “If we can harvest our collective will, we in the North East, above all regions can make a success of it.’’ She adds: “I’m a bit of an optimist and I’d like to think that no matter what we believe the negative sides of these things are, we’ve got the make the effort, we’ve got to try and I believe, if we try hard enough, we can achieve sustainability.’’

Image: Olafur Eliasson ‘The Weather Project’ Tate Modern


PUSHING FORWARD THE BOUNDARIES OF SCIENCE Newcastle University has developed an enviable reputation in Nano-science and technology - leading the way in many areas of these new and exciting fields in recent years. Here, head of nanomaterials and electronics Professor Nick Cowern outlines some of the key research projects under way at Newcastle.

USING THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE TO GROW SEMICONDUCTOR NANOMATERIALS The molecule that carries our genetic code - DNA - proves highly useful when it comes to controlling the growth of inorganic semiconductor materials such as cadmium sulphide. At Newcastle we are using the negatively charged DNA to pull together and bind metal ions which in turn can be reacted with the appropriate reagent to make a solid. By controlling this reaction, it is possible to vary the type of growth - creating either chains of individual nanoparticles or continuous nanowires.

THE ‘QUANTUM DOTS’ FOR NANOTECHNOLOGY Silicon nanocrystals are a subject of keen interest for many technology applications. Newcastle scientists have prepared nanocrystals - also known as ‘quantum dots’ - by crushing down nanoporous silicon to a fine powder and coating this with an atomically thin alkyl capping layer. Several experimental methods – small-angle x-ray scattering, transmission electron microscopy, scanning tunnelling microscopy and atomic force microscopy - are used to study the nanocrystals which are no more than a few atoms across - 2 nm to 0.4 nm.

Scientists Dr Ben Horrocks and Dr Lidija Siller discovered that these tiny crystals can be evaporated by heating to a temperature of around 200°C in an ultra-high vacuum environment, and that the resulting vapour of nanocrystals can be deposited onto various solid substrates (article in NATURE NANOTECHNOLOGY 2, 486 (2007)). This interesting behaviour provides a more controlled way to prepare films of quantum-confined silicon structures, opening the way to a variety of potential applications in industry. Current research projects are investigating the luminescent, electronic and structural properties of the nanocrystals, with a view to utilising them as cellular and genomic probes in biological and medical applications by attaching them to DNA.

A GOLDEN COATING Binary nitrides exhibit a remarkable variety of desirable characteristics such as high melting points, high hardness and a robust chemical stability which makes them useful coating materials. Gold is particularly good for the electro-plating of electrical components due to its high conductivity and robustness in the ambient atmosphere which is often improved by combining the parent material with iron, nickel or cobalt. Gold films incorporating gold nitride are 50 per cent harder than those without it, so pure gold nitride should provide a greatly superior material for contact coatings in electronic circuits. For almost twenty years researchers had tried without success to synthesize this material until Newcastle scientist Dr Lidija Siller and colleagues created gold nitride by firing a beam of low-energy nitrogen ions into a single gold crystal surface with plasma and reactive ion sputtering. More recently the process has been simplified by using a nitrogen plasma treatment, and this new process has been awarded an international patent.

A DIAMOND OF A GEM Diamond is a material perhaps more commonly linked with jewellery than electronics and chemistry. Newcastle University’s Dr Jonathan Goss explains how a team of electrical engineers are looking at ways to modify this precious gem to become an important electrical conductor.

A widely accepted mechanism thought to underpin this phenomenon is termed transfer doping (TD), where electrons are removed from the diamond by a molecule on the surface which is highly electronegative, i.e. it is more attractive to the electrons than the diamond.

The common perception of diamond is of a hard, inert, heat resistant, expensive and aesthetically-pleasing rock.

The thermal stability of the conduction via this form of TD is relatively poor: all you have to do is heat up the diamond to the point that the water evaporates and the electrical conduction is lost. Hence, more thermally stable, and more controllable adsorbate systems have been sought for device applications.

In actual fact it is extremely useful. For instance, diamond conducts heat much better than most other materials, and its molecular structure means it is also a highly effective electrical conductor. Coupled with other properties such as chemical stability, mechanical hardness and favourable optical properties, diamond has great promise for the application to electronic devices.

The potential of various systems to produce thermally stable surface conduction has been greatly informed by quantum-chemical based theory.

At Newcastle University we are developing state of the art quantumchemical simulation software to look at this process in more detail. Running high-performance parallel-computing systems enables us to simulate the effect of chemically changing the structure of a diamond’s surface at a nanomolecular scale.

We have shown, for example, that certain organic molecules lead to surface conduction in diamond just by lying on top of the surface, but a more advantageous effect would result if the organic species can be chemically bonded to the surface without significantly affecting the molecules capacity for removing electrons from the diamond.

Although pure diamond is essentially an electrical insulator, the deliberate addition of impurities such as boron – known as ‘doping’ - enables it to act as a semiconductor, metal and even a super-conductor.

The development of surface-based devices has already been achieved to a degree with the use of the unintentional surfaceconduction, but with the advances made through predictive simulation techniques, both in terms of the surface TD, and more widely, the role of diamond in electronics is bound for a bright future.

In addition to this “conventional doping”, hydrogen-terminated diamond surfaces which have then been exposed to atmospheric conditions have been seen to exhibit electrical conduction within the surface.


NanoCentralÂŽ NanoCentral is driving the safe, beneficial and profitable commercialisation of nanomaterials. We are an alliance of organisations capable of providing access to a broad range of leading edge technologies, equipment and services. Nanomaterials are widely forecast to play an increasingly crucial role in market sectors as diverse as pharmaceuticals, plastics, inks, coatings and electronics. Their use offers enormous potential for new product innovation. However the introduction of nanomaterials is being hampered by a number of issues including; the need to source a connected supply chain that covers all the process steps, concerns about Health & Safety and a significant number of manufacturers unable to connect with the marketplace. NanoCentral was set up in July 2006 to be the pivotal gateway for nanomaterials, enabling potential businesses looking to improve existing products and develop new products using nanomaterials to connect with a network of key technology providers. Our aim is simple, we want to accelerate the safe commercial use of nanomaterials through a coordinated and reliable supply chain, so businesses can maximise profits. Backed by the Technology Strategy Board, the Regional Development Agency, One NorthEast and the Centre for Process Innovation, NanoCentral is based in the traditional heart of the science and chemical sector on Teesside at the Wilton Centre. Why use NanoCentral ? In a world where products are becoming commoditised in many market sectors, it is getting increasingly difficult to achieve a competitive advantage. Nanomaterials offer enormous potential to add value to brands, reinvigorate products

nearing the end of life and create entirely new products to meet evolving needs. For manufacturers, nanomaterials can shorten the production process, saving energy and raw materials and increase efficiency. How can you gain these benefits ? NanoCentral is the portal and the pathway. As world-class experts in nanomaterials technology, we can help you to overcome problems that you are already facing, or assist you to develop innovative bespoke solutions.

At NanoCentral you can get help from a team of people with an unmatched combination of industrial, technological and business expertise. If you are excited by the potential of nanomaterials in products, but are unable to find the right supply chain, or are frustrated by the difficulties in developing new products and getting them to market, NanoCentral can help. NanoCentral offer a service that:

NanoCentral can provide you access to nanotechnologies from our extensive Alliance of Providers and help you find solutions to the issues you have identified. If you need a new technology to solve your problem, NanoCentral can introduce you to potential partners to add expertise and capability to the development process.

n Provides access to a network of providers



“Our aim is simple, we want to accelerate the safe commercial use of nanomaterials through a coordinated and reliable supply chain, so businesses can maximise profits� NanoCentral continually capture emerging technologies from a wide range of sectors and make these available to you. A key advantage we offer is access to facilities to create and test these nanomaterial solutions in a costeffective way.

NanoCentral, the alliance of leading companies created to unlock the commercial and societal potential of nanomaterials.


n n


spanning the enabling technologies of Synthesis; Dispersion, Functionalisation & Formulation; Applications Development and underpinned by Characterisation and SHE capabilities. Undertakes feasibility, development and pre-production pilot studies. Delivers focused expertise in technology scale-up. Enables the manufacture of quantities of product sufficient to support market testing. Signposts routes to market for nanomaterials Promotes and facilitates the creation of supply chain consortia. Advocates the application of nanomaterial solutions to market needs.

In addition to these services, NanoCentral hosts an International Conference, NanoMaterials, in partnership with IntertechPIRA. Now in its 3rd year, NanoMaterials, which is to be held in Bonn, 16-18 June, continues to go from strength to strength, this year incorporating a 5th parallel stream on clean technology.

Open Access Facilities The goal of NanoCentral is to accelerate the commercialisation of products incorporating nanomaterials for the benefit of industry through “open access� facilities and capabilities from a Network of Providers.

Intrinsiq Materials Ltd., Farnborough

In 2004 the DTI (now the Technology Strategy Board, TSB), seeing a strategic need to accelerate UK involvement in Micro-Nano Technology (MNT), held an open competition to set up a national capability to promote its exploitation. As a result, a multi-regional alliance of technology providers is being coordinated by NanoCentral to accelerate the commercialisation of products incorporating nanomaterials for the benefit of industry and society. NanoCentral does this by providing open access to facilities and capabilities. Although there are currently in excess of 30 Network Providers, at the start of the programme, four facilities were funded direct from the programme to provide open access facilities which are available to organisations carrying out pre-competitive research and development on an open access basis by paying an agreed tariff: The NanoCentral Hub does not charge for its services. Users benefit from being able to access leading edge facilities without significant capital investment and consequential risk, thereby delivering a significant boost to the UK’s nano-technology thrust. The facilies funded through the programme are:

Flame Spray Pyrolysis at Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey offering Flame Pyrolysis for producing relatively low cost nano-particulate metals and metal oxides, for example fumed silica and ultra fine titanium dioxide. Market investigations indicate promising applications of this technology to markets including Cosmetics, Coatings and Inks and Plastics. Intrinsiq Materials Ltd (previously QinetiQ Nanomaterials Ltd) offering Plasma Processing presently used for custom manufacture of nano-particulate metals, metal oxides, metal nitrides and doped materials relevant to markets including Defence, Pharmaceuticals, Electronics and Catalysis. The University of Liverpool providing High Pressure-High Shear Processing for micromixing nano-dispersed liquids and nanoparticulate containing slurries, an emerging technology which will find extensive application particularly in the market sectors of Personal Care and Food. Intertek Measurement Science Group (formerly ICI MSG) gives access to an array of world class analytical techniques, including electron microscopy, shear rheology, particle size measurement, molecular spectroscopy, surface characterisation and novel injection moulding.

Intertek MSG, Wilton


NanoCentral Alliance Capability

Safety, Health & Environment Characterisation

Underpinning Science


Dispersion Functionalisation & Formulation

Management & Facilitation Scale Up

NanoCentralÂŽ is an alliance of organisations capable of providing access to a broad range of leading edge technologies, equipment and services relating to nanomaterials and their applications. NanoCentral uniquely provides existing, potential manufacturers and users of nanomaterials single point access to an integrated and comprehensive set of nanorelated capabilities that encompass: n development of underpinning science n nanomaterial synthesis n dispersion, functionalisation & formulation n application development n characterisation n safety, health and environmental These services can be related to each other in what is known as the nanomaterials supply chain. For a nanomaterial to go from production to end-use, it typically progresses through the technology platforms shown in the supply chain diagram. Underpinning these technology platforms are characterisation and SHE. The biggest barrier to commercialisation has been the fragmented nature of this supply chain. Providers tend to specialise in a particular stage. NanoCentral is now here to co-ordinate these activities and enable you to achieve success through nanomaterials.

Developmennt of Underpinning Science NanoCentral recognises the crucial role the academic and research establishments have to play in underpinning nanomaterial development, and tries wherever possible to support research organisations in their grant applications with funding bodies. NanoCentral has very close links to many of the key academic research groups working with nanomaterials, with members of the NanoCentral Hub Team sitting on several EPSRC project committees and Industrial Advisory Boards. NanoCentral has very close links with the NanotechnologyUIC which was a regional collaboration between the five north-east universities, the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy at The University of Cambridge, The NanoManufacturing Institute and Particles CIC at the University of Leeds, the School of Materials at Manchester University, Brunel University Wolfson Centre and the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Other key contacts are the Micro and Nano Moulding Centre at Bradford which also links NanoCentral into the Polymer IRC, Imperial and Queen Mary’s in London, Newcastle University, Nottingham University and Cranfield University. Many of the establishments listed above have providers to the NanoCentral Alliance, which are listed in the subsequent platform areas.

Applications Development

Flame Spray Pyrolysis at Johnson Matthey

Nanomaterial Synthesis Customers need to be able to access to a wide range of reasonably priced nanomaterials in quantities appropriate for feasibility and development programmes. These should be produced using a number of different processing techniques, thereby providing customers with a wide choice of material properties and characteristics.

Dispersion, Functionalisation and Formulation With the exception of a few very specialised applications, nanomaterials need to be supplied in a stable form within a carrier which is compatible with forward processing steps.

Open access to nanomaterial production processes will encourage customers, previously dissuaded by high risk and capital cost, to evaluate nanomaterials as part of their product offerings.

The inability of nanomaterial producers (particularly of smaller ones) to provide endusers with nanomaterials in a consistent, well formulated and dispersed form has been a significant obstacle to the commercialisation of nanomaterials. We can help you overcome this barrier by providing access to a varying range of state-of-the-art dispersing technologies and know-how.

NanoCentral has engaged with a varied array of nanomaterials suppliers. Alliance members providing nanomaterial synthesis are Johnson Matthey with precious and base metals and metal oxides, as well as more complex mixed oxides, from solution precursors through their flame spray pyrolisis facility, Intrinsiq Materials Ltd producing metals, metal oxides, carbide and nitride materials using their Plasma synthesis route, Hosokawa Micron offer various manufacturing routes for single or multicomponent systems, high shear precipitation methods from HARMAN Technology, NanoGap offer nanomaterials manufactured via several wet chemical routes, Promethean Particles utilise super-critical fluid technology, nanoLake who offer an ever increasing range of materials in commercial quantities and Buhler Ltd who offer nanoparticle suspensions through their PARticleTEChnology solutions.

NanoCentral Alliance members providing dispersion, functionalisation and formulation services are the University of Liverpool through their Ultra Mixing and Processing Facilty (UMPF) which is an ultra high energy mixing facility designed to deliver nanomaterials dispersions and formulations. The UMPF facility was manufactured by Maelstrom APT who also provide novel and licensed mixer/dispersion technology to the Alliance, Imerys Minerals provide processing and milling facilities over a wide range of scales, Netzsch Mastermix and Buhler Ltd who provide bead milling expertise. Hosokawa Micron provide nanomaterial dispersion and composite formulation equipment and services. Fundamental to these areas are the dispersant technologies supplied by Lubrizol Advanced Materials which are used to stabilise the dispersions produced.


NanoCentral Alliance Capability

UMPF Facility, University of Liverpool

Applications Development Once nanomaterials have been dispersed and stablilised, they typically go through further processing steps such as extrusion, injection moulding, inkjet printing, spray coating etc. Nanomaterials behave differently in these applications, delivering different benefits and properties. Currently, there is a lack of open access applications equipment to provide answers and to enable the user to characterise the material before and after processing. Equally important is to understand the impact of nanomaterials on applications equipment in terms of handling, flow, erosion and health & safety. NanoCentral Alliance members providing applications development are Macdermid Autotype who offer plastic film coating facilities and nano-structured advanced film expertise, multi-layer coating through HARMAN Technology, compounding, extrusion and Ceramic processing provided by Nanoforce, Printed Electronics Ltd offers commercial access to an industry-leading inkjet deposition platform capable of producing multilayered electronic structures with micronlevel accuracy, Brunel University, Wolfson Centre offer expertise in compounding, extrusion and composites, polymer electrospinning through The Electrospinning Company Ltd, high throughput screening and physical vapour deposition technology through Ilika Technologies and printing and ink formulation through Teknek Ltd.

Characterisation The development of new nanomaterials in the UK is frustrated by difficulties in sourcing wellcharacterised raw materials supplied consistently to specification. The Network’s characterisation platform is designed to address this issue. Incremental development of the Network will involve linking this platform with other UK centres of expertise in metrology and characterisation in order to broaden its scope. NanoCentral Alliance members providing characterisation services are Intertek Measurement Science Group who offer particle characterisation services through SEM/TEM, X-ray and PCCS techniques as well as many other characterisation techniques, CEMMNT, The Centre of Excellence in Metrology for Micro and Nano Technologies, provides measurement, characterisation, analytical and systems engineering services. In addition, many of the Alliance Providers can offer characterisations services in addition to their main service offer. This adds to the flexibility of the overall offering to the user og the network. For example, The Wolfson Centre can characterise any of the materials that they work on for a customer. This is also true for Johnson Matthey, Intrinsiq, University of Liverpool, Ilika, Promethean, NanoForce and NanoGap.

Safety, Health and Environment Despite science fiction tales of self-replicating nano machines reducing the planet to grey goo, there is no widespread public concern about nanotechnology. However, media interest and pressure group attention is understandable and a necessary part of the governance of science. Public debate on the balance between risks and benefits needs to take place sooner rather than later. As yet there is not enough data about the effects of all the available engineered nanomaterials on the human body and the environment. NanoCentral is well placed to help ensure these uncertainties will be addressed urgently in a coherent, scientific way through our partnership with SAFENANO which is operated by the Intitute of Occupational Medicine and AssuredNano, which is the first nanomaterials Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) Accreditation Scheme featuring annual Compliance Auditing. More on AssuredNano can be seen later in this booklet. How to interact with NanoCentral There are a number of ways to interact with the NanoCentral Hub. If you are a potential user of the network, there is a customer section on the NanoCentral website: where a request form can be completed. Alternatively, any enquiries can be emailed directly to steve. We are always happy to discuss your needs over the telephone. This is often the most effective way to interact as a greater understanding of your needs can be gained. Telephone on 01642 442464. Alternatively, please write to: NanoCentral at The Centre for Process Innovation Wilton Centre Wilton Redcar TS10 4RF


nanoLake, the UK’s leading distributor of commercial nano scale powders and dispersions has developed a productive partnership with Nanocentral over the last 2 years. By linking into Nanocentral’s highly developed network of aspiring nano material users, nanoLake have been able to successfully solve a wide range of UK and European industry needs for commercial nano materials into electronic, coatings, cosmetic and polymer markets. - LAKE CHEMICALS

Nanoparticle of silica, alumina, zinc oxide etc. are vital for the long-term development of our hard-coated film business. It is exceedingly difficult to formulate nanoparticles for mass production. NanoCentral has been vital in establishing a network of those who can supply the particles, disperse them, analyse them and, in our case, test them in production. Involvement in the network has been beneficial to each of the partners and is significantly reducing the time to market in this important area. - MACDERMID

Being a Germany-based nanomaterials production company, the collaboration with Nanocentral has been crucial to our marketing and networking activities in the U.K. Through their network and series of organised events Nanocentral have helped us find customers and partners alike, and have made us aware of production/characterisation facilities which are available to us. - MCM 17

NanoCentral Activity AssuredNano

NanoCentral has setup and promotes AssuredNano, the Nanomaterial SHE Accreditation Scheme. Public debate regarding nanomaterials has been relatively muted to date. However, some degree of public disquiet has already been generated by visions of ‘grey goo’, self replicating nanomachines or ‘nanobots’ as they have become known. As nanomaterials become more ubiquitous in their application, it can be expected that concerns will be increasingly voiced regarding the safety of their manufacture and application. It is vital that such a debate is conducted on a factual basis underpinned by sound science. In addition, it must be seen that industry is treating potential consumer concerns with all seriousness and that the health and safety of people manufacturing and using such products is demonstrably safeguarded. AssuredNano is designed to provide a clear signal to all stakeholders that nanomaterial SHE (Safety, Health & Environment) is taken seriously by the business holding the Accreditation Mark and that the business is committed to ensuring that good current practice will continue to be applied. AssuredNano will be the first nanomaterial SHE Accreditation Scheme, which features annual Compliance Auditing. It will be marketed by NanoCentral and will draw upon the technical expertise of one of the world’s most respected authorities on nanomaterial toxicological risk and occupational medicine. The centrepiece of the AssuredNano Accreditation Scheme is a standard which considers all SHE aspects associated with a nanomaterial or a nano-enabled product throughout its lifetime: uniquely, it takes a genuinely cradle to grave approach. In order to minimise bureaucracy, the standard is constructed as a ‘bolt-on’ addition to a business’ pre-existing quality system, such as ISO 9000:2000. AssuredNano’s purpose is to promote the demonstrable adoption of good current practice by those manufacturing, using or retailing nanomaterials or nanomaterial containing products. As such, it will be progressively updated over three yearly cycles to ensure that the good practice contained therein reflects continued advances in nanomaterial SHE knowledge. AssuredNano will deliver reassurance to other industrial partners in the supply chain, governmental agencies and the public in general that good current nanomaterial SHE practice is being employed by the business holding the Accreditation Mark.

The key intention of the AssuredNano Accreditation Scheme is that it must ensure adoption of evolving good practice, as well as demonstration of an initial benchmark level of nanomaterial SHE compliance. To deliver this goal, it will be a requirement that a registered business is subject to an annual Compliance Audit. This will be no cosmetic feature: business’ failing to improve their practices, as well as those ceasing to maintain good current practice, will be liable to lose their AssuredNano Accreditation Mark. Anyone familiar with nanomaterial SHE will be all too aware that there is a plethora of initiatives being pursued: most offer the prospect of recommendations in two or three year’s time. A delay of this magnitude will, at best, seriously hamper the adoption of nano-enabled products. At worst it will ensure that competitive advantage in the field of nano-enabled products passes out of Europe to those geographies with a more pro-active SHE approach. There are also several service offers being promoted which replicate parts of the AssuredNano offer. Some concentrate on regulatory affairs, some on risk assessment and some on corporate governance aspects. AssuredNano differs from these service offers in three ways. 1. AssuredNano is the only nanomaterial SHE Accreditation Scheme that is all embracing, covering the entire range of nanomaterial SHE considerations relevant to a nanomaterial or a nano-enabled product from cradle to grave. 2. Underpinning the AssuredNano Accreditation Scheme is the technical expertise provided by one of the world’s most respected authorities on nanomaterial SHE and occupational hygiene issues. 3. AssuredNano is the only Accreditation Scheme which will be annually audited for compliance, with a de-registration penalty for non-compliance. The AssuredNano Accreditation Scheme standard is now available following beta testing in several highprofile UK organisations. For more details on the AssuredNano Scheme please contact: Dr Keith Robson t: 07823 553 675 e: NanoCentral® in action...

NanoCentral sets up MacDermid Autotype in a project with three technology providers MacDermid Autotype make high quality coated films for the European, US and Asian markets. A typical single product is one million square metres of a three-layer coated PET film with a 5 micron UV crosslinked hardcoat surface. Typical applications include touch screens, touch panels and appliance panels. The hard coat must combine multiple, sometimes conflicting, functionalities – toughness, hardness, flexibility, anti-microbial, anti-static and antismudge. Nanomaterial based formulations offer good potential for achieving these properties. However, MacDermid Autotypes’ early work into the development of nanoparticle formulations, led them to draw the conclusion that they should concentrate on their expertise in running large clean-room coating machines, and not try to become experts in nanoparticle dispersions.At this point NanoCentral was introduced to MacDermid Autotype who were first sceptical of “another government initiative” but quickly found that NanoCentral offered real value. Firstly, NanoCentral conducted an analysis of organisations offering specific nanoparticles for sale. Secondly, NanoCentral introduced MacDermid Autotype to three key technology Providers from the NanoCentral alliance, Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Johnson Matthey and ICI Measurement Science Group. Lubrizol Advanced Materials expertise lies in dispersants and dispersion processes. In order to achieve the full functional benefit and value from nanomaterials they must be fully dispersed. This process is a major stumbling block in the commercialisation of nanomaterials, as it is not performed effectively in a lot of cases. As materials are made smaller and smaller their surface area to volume ratio increases and so do the forces holding the particles together. This means nanoparticles are harder to disperse than larger particles of the same material. Lubrizol Advanced Materials are now working with MacDermid Autotype and their material suppliers in improving material dispersion properties. One area of interest to the collaborating parties is to optimize the steric barrier layer for the nanoparticles to ensure maximum stability in the dispersion stage, both initially and on storage, and to give optimum properties in the final application. Dispersant selection should include the most appropriate anchor group technology for the particle surface and also optimize the steric chain for best compatibility in the binder resin of choice.

The development of reactive dispersants that lock into the matrix will further improve the physical and mechanical properties of the final coating surface. Johnson Matthey are experts in producing materials. Their NanoCentral offering is a new flame spray pyrolysis process for the production of new nanomaterials. MacDermid Autotype are now working with Johnson Matthey in producing and evaluating new novel nanomaterials in their coating formulations. It is also anticipated that Lubrizol Advanced Materials will contribute dispersant expertise as the project develops. Intertek Measurement Science Group are experts in the measurement and characterisation of materials. In a recent tour of their laboratories at the Wilton Centre, Professor Steven Abbott, Research and Technical Director for MacDermid Autotype commented on the broad range of facilities and expertise, “The range of analytical techniques available here will allow me to measure and characterise the quality of a nanomaterial dispersion within my coating matrix, and to measure the nanomaterials effect on the properties of the film, such ashardness and scratch resistance” Professor Abbott commented further that, “The real benefit of working with NanoCentral is the opportunity to collaborate with likeminded organisations. We are all on a steep learning curve, and cannot afford to work in isolation – if we do, the take-off of nanoparticle business opportunities will be painfully slow. Material producers would love to ship tonnes of dry powders. Dispersion experts would like to sell dispersing machines and chemicals. End-users want to buy optimally dispersed materials, easy to use, with guaranteed performance properties. Analytical equipment providers want to sell expensive machine. But it is not going to happen like that and without an active, honest dialogue, without a network of expertise that spans the nanomaterial value chain, no-one will make money from nanomaterials.”

“The real benefit of working with NanoCentral is the opportunity to collaborate with likeminded organisations”

Professor Abbott conveyed this message when he spoke at the NanoMaterials07 conference and exhibition, organised by NanoCentral. The interactions at the conference helped enlarge the network of potential providers to MacDermid Autotype and therefore increased the probability of mutually-beneficial interactions occuring.


The hugely successful NanoMaterials event organised by the partnership of NanoCentral and IntertechPira is moving to mainland Europe in 2009. NanoMaterials09 will take place at the Maritim Bonn Hotel, Germany, 16 - 18 June 2009. With more speakers and fresh content, NanoMaterials09 is an evolutionary giant stride, providing you with knowledge and contacts required to tap into the emerging and profitable markets convergent with nanomaterials. Remaining loyal to its conceptual origins, NanoMaterials09 will focus on the commercialisation of nanomaterials, rather than technology and theoretical benefits. This is its defining principle and what sets it apart from other events - providing practical solutions for practical challenges. During the event, delegates can browse the exhibition stands and poster sessions as well as hear from and pose questions to nanotechnology leaders at the conference. Based on the feedback of last year’s delegates and in order to allow for the breadth of information, the conference will be structured into 5 parallel sessions: • • • • •

Printed Electronics Nanocomposites Nanobiotech & Consumer Products Coatings, Inks & Pigments Clean Technology

Alongside these specialised application streams, two morning plenary sessions will address the issues that affect the entire nanomaterials industry, such as commercialisation strategies and identifying opportunities for convergence.

Who will you hear speak at NanoMaterials09? Dr Peter Kruger, Head of NanoTechnology, Bayer Materials Science Dr Jan Sumerel, Manager Biomedical Sciences, Fujifilm Dimatix Dr Ralf Dumpelman, Head R&D Textiles, Clariant Johanna Schutz-Widoniak, Technical Manager Merck Dr Zhihao Yang, President and CTO, Nanomas Nico Meyer, Manager R&D Projects, AIXTRON Dr. Pascal Pierron, CEO, Ardeje, France Dr Thomas Luchterhandt, Head of Development Group, 3M ESPE Prof Arturo Lopez-Quintela, University of Santiago de Compostela ...and many more Log onto for the updated list!

What did they say about NanoMaterials08? ‘I rate this as one of the best conferences I have attended’ Dr Trevor Rhodes , HARMAN Technology Ltd ‘Well balanced and highly informative’ Moritz Graf zu Eulenburg, Coatema Coating Machinery GmbH ‘Interesting place for networking an initiation of ideas’ Panos Kinigakis, Kraft Foods Inc. ‘Very broad range of the lectures, very interesting programme’ Svetlana Mosheev, Hanita Coatings

Maritim Hotel, Bonn This exclusive conference hotel is situated just a few minutes away from the “Rheinaue park” and government quarter. The university city of Bonn, the Federal Republic’s former capital and gateway to the romantic Rhine gorge, has a number of attractions to offer. Visit its famous museums, for example, or climb the legendary mountain of Drachenfels in the Siebengebirge. For golfers, the Driving Range on the roof of our hotel is surely of particular interest.

NanoMaterials09 is THE event to attend for anyone involved in any part of the ‘nanomaterials’ supply chain. For more up-to-date information please take a look at

NORTH EAST SUCCESS HIGHLIGHTED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS THE success of the region’s leading science and technology park has been praised in the House of Commons by Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson. In an Adjournment debate in the House on science and innovation in Sedgefield - outlining how the area has changed in the last 10 years and how it has grasped the technologies of the future - the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, was described as a success story and a true centre of excellence in science, technology and engineering that will be a key driving force behind the county and the regional economy. Heralding a new era of science and innovation for Sedgefield, Mr Wilson added that NETPark was a key driver in achieving his ambition of ensuring that science and innovation replaces the coal industry in becoming the key industry for the area. He also welcomed the part NETPark is playing in developing an innovation connector, which will help engage local businesses, establish science networks and engage the local community. Mr Wilson went on to describe three of the technologies under development at NETPark including The Printable Electronics Technology Centre (PETEC), the UK’s high-tech national centre for the development of the printed electronics industry. Stewart Watkins, managing director of County Durham Development Company, which manages NETPark, said: “We are delighted that Phil Wilson has brought the work taking place in the science and innovation sector in County Durham to national attention with this adjournment debate in the House of Commons. “It is important that the county is recognised at a national level and we are grateful for the praise Mr Wilson has given to NETPark as we

continue the ongoing development of the most exciting innovation hub in the region.” NETPark recently received planning consent to build a large-scale, high-tech prototyping and development facility, making it the first science park in the region capable of housing such a prestigious venture. During the debate, Mr Wilson asked the Rt Hon David Lammy MP, Minister of State, how his Department intends to engage with the industry and invited him, or his ministerial colleague Lord Drayson, to meet representatives from PETEC, the County Durham Development Company and others to discuss the potential that both PETEC and NETPark offer, and to travel to Sedgefield to see the vision in person. The Minister replied: “The next six to nine months is going to be very important indeed for SMEs. The opportunity is there to work with the financial institutions to ensure that, particularly in the £200,000 to £2 million range of funding, we make sure that adequate capital is available.” Mr Wilson concluded his contribution to the debate by saying: “We are going through a global economic downturn. One day that will end and facilities such as NETPark, where the public and private sectors have worked together, will stand astride a burgeoning landscape of science and innovation ready to take on the 21st century. “Although clean coal technology should have a future, the coal industry in County Durham will never be the same as it used to be, although the principles of compassion and solidarity remain in our communities. The coal mining era in Sedgefield has ended—may the new era of science and innovation in Sedgefield begin.”

Above: House of Commons Left: Phil Wilson MP talking with Dr Arnab Basu of Kromek on his recent visit to NETPark. Far left: Mike Pitkethly of Roar Particles also at NETPark


Royal Airforce AWAC Surveillance Aircraft

THE DEFENCE SUPPLY CHAIN THAT’S MAKING A BIG IMPRESSION At the end of last month, two Government ministers and top executives from the biggest defence contractors in the world spoke to a conference of over 250 people in Newcastle. They hadn’t collectively fallen in love with England’s most northerly region. They came because they recognise that there is a formidable supply chain organisation that has developed up here over the last few years. It’s known as NDI. NDI is Northern Defence Industries, a network of nearly 200 small and medium sized companies specialising in defence, aerospace and high tech engineering. But increasingly the ‘N’ is standing for ‘national’. Although the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside are still the NDI heartland, 46% of the membership is located outside of these areas. And NDI has global partners too - many of the major suppliers to the UK Ministry of Defence and defence ministries elsewhere around the world. NDI is a membership organisation dedicated to helping companies boost their business. It does this through networking; building supply chain relationships with prime contractors; helping companies come together to exhibit at the UK’s biggest exhibitions (Farnborough

Air Show in even numbered years and Defence Systems Exhibition International, at the Docklands in London, in odd numbered years like 2009); acting as their voice; and helping them improve their business through quality schemes. The Annual Conference - taking a five year look at the place of SMEs in the defence supply chain - was a good example of how NDI works. As well as the two day long conference, there was a mini-exhibition and the event was rounded off with “meet the buyer” sessions which enabled attending SMEs to have one to one detailed talks with senior executives of the contractors who are their potential customers. NDI is led by Robin Fox, who was recently appointed Managing Director. He’s no desk bound bureaucrat though - in his spare time, he’s a Colonel in the Territorial Army, and he spent last Christmas in Afghanistan helping to plan a major base for UK troops. “We are proud of the expertise and experience that our member companies offer the defence industry in this country and elsewhere,” he said “and we are delighted at the seals of approval we continue to get from the Government, the defence civil service and the customers.”

NDI Managing Director Robin Fox (Right) and Chairman David Bowles (Left)

REGIONAL HIGH TECH COMPANIES INVESTING AND SUCCEEDING Astrum of Stanhope, Co Durham Astrum has been chosen by VSS to supply its innovative solution to secure their seating system in place, known as Twistlock, for an export contract. British company VSS has beaten European competition to win a two-year contract to fit the Finnish Defence Force fleet of over 700 vehicles with its Roll Over Protection System frame seating system. The VSS system is supplied as 4 seat modules with a unique lock down mechanism for quick installation. Altec of Bowburn, Co Durham Top defence executive John Smurthwaite has joined Altec Engineering Limited from Cobham PLC to lead the Defence Business Development Team. John will seek to secure Altec’s leading position in the competition for the Warrior LIP Gun Programme in particular around the ammunition in-feed and spent case exit systems which Alstec is developing. Petards Joyce-Loebl, Team Valley, Gateshead Petards Joyce-Loebl has won a contract to supply spares to help

The FV510 Warrior tracked armoured vehicle

maintain the Royal Air Force’s Sentry-View 20 display equipment installed on its AWACS aircraft. Sentry-View 20 system was developed by Petards Joyce-Loebl as a high performance TFT-LCD display unit, specifically designed to interface with the E-3D Sentry radar console graphics system. The latest contract, worth almost quarter of a million pounds, will see Petards Joyce-Loebl continue to supply spare parts for the system for the next three years and follows a similar French Air Force support contract for their Sentry-View 20 systems. Connor Solutions of Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear Connor Solutions, the UK’s second largest privately held electronic manufacturing services provider, has invested in broadening the range of its technology. The aim is to provide greater product quality and efficiency in order to meet customer specifications consistently. To oversee the quality process, the company has also invested in Q-Pulse, an electronic based tool designed to control the company’s quality management system. It will modernise current methods away from a paper based regime to ensure that all records are more accurate, and processes are more effective and reliable.

Camp Bastion, Afghanistan


ASTRUM WIN NATIONAL SUPPLY CHAIN AWARD Astrum (UK) Limited, based in Stanhope, County Durham, specialising in the manufacture of track systems and running gear for armoured fighting vehicles and cast steel products has become the first UK non aerospace Company to win a prestigious National Supply Chain Award.

SC21 aims to accelerate the process. With international competition increasing, the participation of companies of all sizes throughout the UK supply chain is crucial to delivering real results from this modernisation programme. Phil Kite, Managing Director of Astrum (UK) Limited, said:

Initiated by the SBAC in 2006, Supply Chain for the Twenty First Century (SC21) is a change programme which aims to accelerate the competitiveness of the UK’s defence and aerospace industry by raising the performance of the supply chain. To date over 400 companies have signed up to the programme including the UK Government’s Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems but only a handful of companies have achieved award status, making Astrum’s achievement even more significant. Participating SC21 companies sign up to a formal recognition process which reflects their contribution and commitment of their supply chain. Organisations achieving and maintaining agreed criteria in terms of delivery, quality, sustainable improvement and the associated continuous improvement frameworks (business and manufacturing excellence) receive recognition in the form of an award sponsored by a SC21 founder company, in Astrum’s case this was BAE Systems. Achieving supply chain improvement is critical to the continued competitiveness of the UK aerospace and defence industry and

“Signing up to SC21 was a very straightforward decision for Astrum. We initiated our continuous improvement programme in 2005 and taking part in SC21, which recognises the importance of best practice throughout supply chain, reinforces Astrum’s own commitment to offering its customers the best quality, service and delivery. “Being one of only a handful of companies and the first land systems company, sponsored by BAE Systems, to win a SC21 award is special and we are confident that this recognition will enable us to access potential new customers. Being joined in the programme by the Ministry of Defence, who signed up in 2008, shows the significance of the initiative.” Steve Langsford, BAE Systems, Global Combat Systems, Procurement Director, said: “BAE Systems continues to make good progress with its procurement transformation within the Weapons & Vehicles business, and is

making significant improvements in supply chain efficiencies, particularly with the work undertaken on SC21 with Astrum.

Gary Wade, Directorate of Supplier Relations, Ministry of Defence said:

We appreciated that a good, cooperative business relationship existed which was evidenced by responsive communications, performance and solution development, which already provided BAE Systems, Astrum and the UK MoD with a good supply chain relationship. The work which has been undertaken with, and commitment to, SC21 is enabling us to build upon this further for our futures. I am extremely pleased with the progress we are all making, and am delighted with the achievement of Bronze accreditation, which represents the first accreditation sponsored by BAE Systems.”

“‘The 21st Century Supply Chain programme, to which the Ministry of Defence became a signatory in July 2008, makes a significant contribution to increasing the competitiveness of the UK aerospace and defence industry at all levels. We welcome all companies’ engagement with the programme and acknowledge the effort and commitment demonstrated by Astrum (UK) Ltd in achieving this award and the support provided by BAE Systems.”

Neal Dobby, BAE Systems Land Systems SC21 champion added:

“This is a tremendous achievement for Astrum who is an important and valuable member of NDI. It is particularly significant that Astrum are the first non aerospace supplier to successfully undertake the process as this demonstrates that the principles and practices that underpin SC21 are applicable to all suppliers in the defence industry.”

“Astrum is a key supplier to both BAE Systems and the UK MoD and following SC21 activities jointly undertaken with the UK MoD, Astrum has produced and delivered a Continuous Sustainable Improvement Plan (CSIP), comprising key criteria which has been reviewed and agreed against SC21 criteria, which enabled BAE Systems to make a formal submission to the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) for independent review aiming for formal accreditation to SC21. SBAC has confirmed Astrum will be receiving a SC21 Bronze award which will be presented at the next Task Force meeting on the 9th December.”

Robin Fox, Managing Director of NDI said:

Russ Armitage, Chairman of SC21, said: “The future of the UK aerospace and defence industry depends on having an efficient supply chain if we are to remain globally competitive. I believe that SC21 is the way to achieve that.”


THE EMERGENCE OF DISTRIBUTED GENERATION‌ Distributed energy (DE) systems generate electricity and heat near to the end user, and their increased future deployment in the UK will play a major role in helping to address climate change and ensure security of energy supplies. Devices incorporate one or more renewable or traditional energy generators devices, and may or may not be connected to the distribution network to complement the existing centralised supply. DE systems offer potential cost savings and avoid some electrical grid network issues.

NaREC is in a unique position to offer independent solutions based on hands-on experience of testing in the laboratory and in real live practical installations for small wind turbines; air source heat pumps; ground source heat pumps; solar PV; solar thermal; biofuels; Micro CHP; and energy storage devices. Our specialist technical and engineering consultants work with developers of technologies to speed up the process towards commercialisation; and with business and residential end users to inform and install effective site solutions, which reduce energy costs and environmental impact.

‌DELIVERING LOW CARBON SOLUTIONS With the rising price of fossil fuels and the introduction of carbon reduction credits and feed-in tariffs expected in 2010, the case for Combine Heat and Power (CHP) has never been greater n For business - high energy efficiency levels cut energy costs n For community heating schemes - provision of affordable warmth

and cheaper electricity from a secure and local source n For climate change - a substantial reduction in carbon emissions CHP can be applied to meet large industrial demand (typically up to 2 MW), or in smaller residential applications (micro schemes up to 50kW), for users looking for a more efficient, less expensive, and greener way to power and heat their buildings. A range of technologies can be installed depending on the site requirements using natural gas, biomass or biofuel feedstock.

A collaboration between NaREC and North-East based electrical specialists Engineering Support Partnerships (ESP), UK Sustainable Energy (UKSE) can find the optimum solution for your site and manages the complete process from the initial site investigation right through to the installation and management of a recommended solution. The user not only benefits from the increased energy performance and reduced environmental impact from an integrated CHP System, but will also receive a share of the energy costs savings each year in operation. For local authorities, housing trusts and care providers looking to make improvements to the energy efficiency of older residential stock, UKSE is able to construct ESCo arrangements which spread the cost of a new CHP installation over the course of its lifetime.

TAKING WIND POWER FURTHER OFFSHORE… The rapid development of offshore wind capacity is central to the delivery of the UK’s share of the EU target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020. In March 2009, developers submitted their proposals to the Crown Estate for the Round 3 offshore wind programme, which could see the delivery of up to 25GW of new generation around the UK by 2020. NaREC is already supporting wind turbine manufacturers around the world in the testing and development of their next generation wind turbine blades, and is working on proposals designed to prepare the industry for major growth in very large capacity turbines – giving manufacturers the expertise and resource to develop and test new systems, and the supply chain the opportunity to adapt to bigger, more challenging technology. The vast, remote sites envisaged in Round 3 will require much bigger machines, able to cope with the harsh offshore environment. To date, offshore turbines have been based upon onshore turbine technology with minor adaptations for the offshore environment. Reliability and performance of these turbines has therefore been similar to that onshore, but with added problems due to obtaining access offshore. Although failure onshore can be costly, repairs are much easier to organise than with an offshore site. The costs and long-term set

backs due to any wide, systemic failure of turbines at sea are almost unimaginable and may well terminally cripple the developing market. The number of turbines required for the UK’s Round 3 targets is staggeringly large – over 5000 turbines with capacities in the 3 – 5MW range will be needed. Over 800 turbines alone could be deployed in the largest site in the North Sea, 150km off the North East coast. If farms on such scale are to be deployed, then the transfer of offshore industry and know-how will be vital. It is not just the number of turbines required that needs accelerating – the rate at which they are installed needs to increase by an order of magnitude. To date the UK has installed around 200MW a year offshore. This needs a 10-fold increase, to over 2,000MW a year – a very significant challenge, considering that Round 3 sites will be further from shore and in deeper water than is currently undertaken. These sites will require long term O&M support as well as the initial build out. They will offer opportunities to manufacturing, engineering, ports and marine operators. As the focus of technology development and supply chain support shifts from onshore farms to the offshore environment then this presents opportunities for those with the skills to enter the market.

ACCELERATING ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES As an internationally recognised and independent R&D, testing and verification centre for energy technologies, NaREC offers a unique proposition to the energy sector and provides the highest industry standards of accreditation for developers of renewable, offshore and grid technologies. Utilising a dedicated team of specialist technical and engineering consultants, the company is renowned for its role in stimulating innovation in the energy field, working with developers of technologies from across the world to enhance their product and market propositions, and speed up the process towards commercialisation and field deployment.

Based in North East England, the organisation is also playing a leading part in the regeneration of the region’s energy economy, creating tangible and sustainable benefits for businesses and communities alike. NaREC attracts new companies to the region, and supports existing business looking to diversify to take full advantage of the economic benefits to be had from the energy industry. NaREC’s focus is on four key market sectors - offshore wind, marine renewables, electrical networks and distributed generation.


TOWARDS A BRIGHTER GREEN FUTURE… In March 2007 Dr Geoff Williams and his team embarked on a major 3 year project to revolutionise the lighting industry….. Project TOPLESS! This programme is now two thirds through and is more than achieving the original targets set….this being due to the excellent collaboration between Thorn Lighting, in Spennymoor, the Department of Physics and Chemistry in the University of Durham and Cambridge Display Technology (CDT). In the global lighting industry, a technological battle is shaping up that will have a profound impact on the way we illuminate our lives. Giants from the across the market, including Lumiotec, Philips and Zumtobel, are striving to produce the next generation light sources – and they are using very different methods to meet their end goal of organic solid state lighting product. Dr Geoff Williams of Thorn Lighting, a subsidiary of Zumtobel, is the creator and leader of Project TOPLESS (Thin Organic Polymeric Light Emitting Semiconductor Surfaces) and his team is working to produce a single polymeric material that will emit white light. This material will then be printed on to glass substrates, in a similar fashion to applying paint to a surface with a roller. Although the printed layer thickness is only 50 nanometers. In layman’s terms, it is an ultra-thin sheet of plastic that is only 1/2000th the width of a human hair, topped with a conductive layer which, and when electricity is passed through it, is capable of producing high quality white light similar to daylight. Thorn, based in Spennymoor, County Durham, is the UK’s largest lighting manufacturer and Dr Williams has teamed up with the best the UK has to offer, photonics research experts Prof Andy Monkman from Durham University and polymer material expert Dr Scott Brown of CDT (founded by those who discovered light emitting polymers back in 1989).

As with all emerging technologies, the ability to turn exciting laboratory developments in to commercially viable products is the key. It has to be reliable, scalable and produced at a price consumers are prepared to pay. Topless is now at the stage where it is ready to start stepping out of the lab and into the manufacturing plant, but this may take a little while to happen. Dr Williams explains: “Unfortunately, we do not yet have the capability to do small volume manufacturing production. However, processes are underway to raise the necessary funding for the pilot manufacturing phase. But at the same time not losing sight of the continued fundamental material research required to take the technology to the next level and beyond. “It really is an exciting time in this technology platform and it is equally exciting for County Durham, especially when we consider if this technology is integrated with other local emerging technologies a complete platform based on non-metered (off-grid) lighting can be realised.” Dr Williams added. Efforts to begin small-scale manufacturing have been greatly helped by the completion of the Printable Electronics Technology Centre (PETEC) at the North East Technology Park (NETPark). The £9.5M facility is one of only four centres worldwide with the capability to provide prototype manufacturing for printable electronics. In terms of volume, Zumtobel will be looking to produce up to 9000 square metres of solid state lighting per year by 2012. This production is expected to multiply exponentially to three to six million square metres a year in a high volume production facility by 2016. However, we must learn to crawl before walking, but Dr Williams anticipates small scale production will start within the next 18 months and expects reasonable volume manufacturing to be a possibility by the start of 2012.

In addition to plans to begin small-scale manufacturing, Dr Williams’s team is also looking at alternative metals that it can use to replace indium tin oxide, a transparent conductive coating used in displays and other applications that is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. Project Topless is working with glass manufacturer Pilkington to discover alternative metals that will give enhanced performance. Pilkington will become an important project partner in the next phase of Topless….TOPDRAWER (Thin Organic Prototypes, Design, Research With Enduser Recognisation), and will throughout the next phase research new glass compositions to enhance device performance. For a man who is North East born and bred, the technological innovation that is occurring close to the place where Joseph Swan first demonstrated his electric lightbulb is deeply satisfying for Dr Williams. He says: “We are striving to bring a high-technology manufacturing base into a region which has a strong innovation heritage, and with the intention of staying. We are basically turning the wheel. Instead of manufacturing going offshore to low wage countries there is an opportunity to set up successful new manufacturing technologies here in the UK.” To commemorate the 130th anniversary of Swan’s first lamp demonstration, Dr Williams, in conjunction with other local key innovators, gave a presentation at Hardwick Hall in December 2008, and introduced a desk lamp based on his technology. This was presented with a model of Swan’s original lamp…..two technologies separated by 130 years and both from within 30miles of one another!! Presently Dr Williams is working closely with senior national politicians, BERR, County Durham Development Company (CDDC) – which manages NETPark on behalf of Durham County Council

and Nigel Perry CEO of CPI to support TOPDRAWER’s presence in the North East of England. Dr Williams has already had commercial discussions with BAA, the NHS and MITIE regarding developing solutions to reduce their carbon footprint Therefore there is a strong argument for such investment in the complete supply chain and all UK based! The environment has become a main staple of the political agenda rather than the fringe issue it once was. Artificial lighting accounts for between 20-25% of all electricity consumption and the work Topless is conducting has the ability to reduce that consumption, especially with key dates of 2016 and 2020 beckoning. Furthermore, the light emitting polymer is incredibly long-lasting and a single kilogram of active material is capable of coating ten thousand square metres of device…..two rugby pitches! And the devices are completely recyclable, return directly to the glass furnace at end of life, no land fill from these luminaries. The overall environmental impact of this is clear. Not only will it reduce energy consumption, it will also reduce waste, cut packaging and shrink the carbon footprint of companies. All told, the technological advances being made in County Durham are setting pulses racing for experts in the field. The added frisson of competition only heightens that excitement and is attracting international recognition. Dr Williams has been invited to attend international conferences in Korea and Taiwan in the coming months as a technical expert in this amazing sector. He has just returned from informing an American audience of his team’s excellent progress. It is fair to say that Project Topless is in incredible shape and, with the national and regional support and world-leading developments such as PETEC, it is on course to transform the way we light our lives in the future.


INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN THE CREDIT CRUNCH® In 2008 the UK Trade Marks Registry received a number of applications to register trade marks that included the words “CREDIT CRUNCH”. The goods varied from potato crisps, chocolate bars and beer, to travel services! Whilst these applications may in themselves be trivial, what they represent, i.e. securing intellectual property rights during a recession is worthy of deeper consideration. The owner of an intellectual property (IP) right enjoys a limited monopoly. In times of economic uncertainty the ability to exclude competitors from a market place can be of considerable value. However, through the judicious use of IP rights business owners can not only protect against competition through the downturn, but can place their businesses in a better position, relative to their competitors, to exploit the upturn when it arrives. The recession may also present opportunities that do not arise in periods of economic boom. For example: n Failing businesses provide opportunities to acquire valuable intellectual property portfolios. n Competitors may be filing fewer patent applications, resulting in the market place becoming more open, and potentially making it easier to obtain patent protection for improvements to existing products, and allowing those businesses filing patent applications to strengthen their relative positions. n Infringers who may have fought court action may be more likely to settle purely because of the costs involved.

systems are available to reduce these burdens. They also have the added benefit of allowing management to see quickly what intellectual property rights are owned. n Consider whether you are receiving value for money from intellectual property service providers and look for innovative ways to reduce costs. n An internal review can identify those areas that add most value to the business and are worth pursuing. For new filings, it is important to consider which ideas are worth protecting and in which particular strategic markets. n There are ways of making money from existing intellectual assets, such as licensing or selling patents to others. Now may be a good time to explore those opportunities. It is those companies who invest in product development and protect that development with intellectual property rights now, who will be in the strongest position when the economy takes off again. Written by Juliet Scullion and Dominic Elsworth of Hargreaves Elsworth Patent Attorneys. Hargreaves Elsworth Patent Attorneys is an independent firm having particular expertise in developing IP strategies and managing IP more efficiently, with three of its members having formerly run inhouse intellectual property departments at AGCO Corporation, Mayborn Group and ICI. For information please contact Dominic Elsworth on 0191 211 1974.

Undoubtedly though, many businesses will be looking for ways to make cost savings and intellectual property budgets need to be scrutinised as carefully as other budgets. However, failing to protect intellectual assets (patenting ideas or registering designs and trade marks) during an economic downturn could leave businesses vulnerable and unable to retain market share when the economy eventually picks up. Rather than holding back on protection of IP in new products, businesses should review the performance of their current IP strategies and management systems. It is possible to continue to protect current and new IP assets - but at lower cost. The following suggestions are just some of the ways in which to manage your company’s IP spend: n Sort out an IP strategy for your company and follow it, rather than dealing with matters on an ad hoc basis. Developing a strategy will allow costs to be better forecast and controlled. An intellectual property strategy would consider many factors including the countries where intellectual property should be protected. Getting this one aspect of strategy right can save huge sums of money. n Sometimes it is not the actual cost of protecting IP rights that is the problem, but when that money must be expended. If this is the issue, consider how the system can be used to defer costs, even if that means ultimately paying more. n Could the internal management of your company’s IP be improved? Is significant staff time and other resource being devoted simply to dealing with intellectual property rights? This can easily happen, even with an IP portfolio of modest size. Management


UK’S NATIONAL PRINTABLE ELECTRONICS TECHNOLOGY CENTRE OPEN FOR BUSINESS March 2009 marked the international launch of PETEC, the UK’s national Printable Electronics Technology Centre, at the North East Technology Park (NETPark). PETEC‘s expertise and equipment in the field of Printable Electronics delivers design, development and prototyping services and facilities to its customers. The field of printable electronics offers companies a high-yield, low-cost manufacturing technology applicable to a wide variety of applications. Tom Taylor, director of PETEC, said: “The UK has a well established competence in research in printable electronics whereas PETEC’s focus is in accelerating the commercialisation of these products through the production processes and solving technology issues that companies face in developing new products. “PETEC offers experience, knowledge, and the appropriate infrastructure to support customers in this emerging global market.“ The Centre, a division of the Centre for Process Innovation Limited (CPI), connects innovators in research with commercial activity using proof of concept devices and pilot scale manufacture. The Centre helps clients identify the materials, industrial steps and investments required to bring products to market quickly. PETEC’s initial focus is in displays, where there is already commercial pressure to produce larger area displays that are more efficient and at lower cost. With the emergence of new formats such as E-paper,

OLED Displays and LCD on flexible substrates, the potential for printable electronics to make an impact is vast. Other near term markets for PETEC’s customers include Solid State Lighting and Organic Photovoltaics. The Centre is geared to help companies address the various materials performance and processing challenges in these emerging markets. Richard Kirk, CEO of Polyphotonix, an OLED lighting company building its first production line at PETEC, commented: “PETEC has been pivotal to the creation of PolyPhotonix. Without access to the facilities, management expertise and experience it would have been prohibitively expensive. The ability to work quickly and effectively is crucial in this fast moving technology environment.” PETEC is already attracting customers from the UK and internationally, from Start-Ups & SMEs to multinational blue chip organizations. Its aim is to secure the UK’s manufacturing reputation in this field by training the next generation of PR engineers and providing a valuable contribution to the UK economy. PETEC’s presence will consolidate national and international resources into efficient supply chains. With a strong internationally recognized team of experts, PETEC is already gaining a reputation for its creative approach and ability to break new ground in prototype production.

The PETEC launch was chaired by Lord Alec Broers, who received a peerage in 2004 in recognition of his contributions to engineering and higher education. Lord Broers also chaired the House of Lords Select Committee for Science and Technology from 2004-2007. Attracting global leaders across the field of Printed Electronics, including 60 members of the International Organic Electronics Association, the launch featured a programme of keynote lectures by distinguished speakers from the UK, Korea, Japan and Europe, supported by demonstrations of prototype work from innovative companies.


NETWorks 9  

NETWorks 9