UCF Graphene Spin-Out Expands, Opens New Facility

Company Begins Large-Scale Manufacturing, Plans to Hire in Coming Year

UCF Graphene Spin-Out Expands, Opens New Facility

Tom O’Neal, associate vice president for research at UCF and founder of the UCF Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP) cuts the ribbon for the grand opening of Garmor’s manufacturing center. Garmor is a UCFBIP client company.

A graphene oxide manufacturing company fueled by technology from UCF has moved to a new 10,000-square-foot facility near Orlando International Airport.

On October 16, UCF officials helped cut the ribbon on the new headquarters of Garmor, Inc., which has begun large-scale processing of the materials.

Jeff Atwater, chief financial officer for the state of Florida, spoke to invited guests and lauded the company as an example of how to build productive businesses in the state. Atwater was joined by Richard Harkey, district representative for Congressman John Mica, and Jamie Grooms, CEO, Florida Institute for Commercialization of Public Research.

Garmor was formed to commercialize technology developed by Richard Blair, a chemist in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, and Ph.D. graduate student David Restrepo.  They used a combination of chemical and mechanical processes to break down graphite, like that found in pencil lead, into graphene, creating an element that is stronger than diamonds, and able to conduct electricity and heat better than copper.

Garmor entered the UCF Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP) in March 2013 and, in May, won $300,000 in seed funding from the state’s Commercialization of Public Research’s Seed Capital Accelerator Program.

As a client company of the UCFBIP, “Garmor’s growth is a win for all involved,” said Tom O’Neal, associate vice president for research at UCF.

The use of graphene is a cost-effective way to make materials stronger, yet still lightweight. By adding just a small amount of graphene oxide during the production process, makers of plastics, rubber and metal can make their products far lighter and stronger. Common items that could utilize graphene are automotive bumpers, boat hauls, and bridge components.

In September, Garmor received the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission’s William C. Schwartz Industry Innovation Award.

Since the move into the new facility, the company has grown to eight employees and plans to add ten more in the coming year, said Garmor CEO Anastasia Canavan.