The company behind an innovative technology for the construction industry has been boosted by strategic industry deals.

Nationwide Engineering Research and Development, or NERD, has developed Concretene, a graphene-enhanced admixture for concrete which reduces CO2 emissions by around 30%, alongside The University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC). 

Global engineering consultancy Arup and international graphene supplier Black Swan Graphene have invested in the company, taking 4.2% and 5% equity in NERD respectively.

Arup’s extensive global portfolio of engineering achievements includes Paris’s Pompidou Centre, London’s Shard and New York’s Second Avenue Subway, while Black Swan Graphene is a producer of low-cost and high-performance graphene powders, derived from graphite.

“We are delighted to formalise these partnerships with Black Swan and Arup as part of NERD and we look forward to combining our skillsets to deliver Concretene to the construction industry in our drive to reduce global CO2 emissions,” said Rob Hibberd, CEO of NERD.

“This is further enhanced by our unique, long-term research collaboration with the University of Manchester to further understand the complex world of nanomaterial technology. 

“We see Concretene as the first product of many that this partnership will develop, with progress in paints, polymers and asphalt already in advanced stages as well.” 

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Matt Lovell, director at Arup, said: “Continued innovation in the production of concrete can drive the construction industry’s journey towards net zero carbon emissions. Supporting that transformative change with our NERD partnership furthers Arup’s goal of shaping a better, more sustainable world. 

“We look forward to using our commercial know-how and deep expertise in the built environment to help NERD’s innovators realise the full potential of Concretene.” 

Simon Marcotte, president and CEO of Black Swan, commented: “The partnerships announced today are poised to have far-reaching implications for the global concrete industry. 

“By leveraging the exceptional performance of the NERD process and Arup’s expertise, reach and leadership, this integrated supply chain can provide a turnkey solution and revolutionise the concrete industry on a global scale.”

NERD envisages a three-year journey to full commercial roll-out of Concretene to the wider construction industry, alongside project partners including Heathrow and Manchester Airports, Network Rail, National Highways and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.