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Bayer sells off IP for carbon nanotubes and graphenes

After last year's announcement that Bayer MaterialScience intended to focus its development activities on topics more closely linked to its core business, and that the company was therefore bringing its work on carbon nanotubes to a close, it was never a question of if, but more of when the company would divest itself of fundamental intellectual property in this field.

That question has now been answered: Bayreuth, Germany-based FutureCarbon GmbH, a leading provider of carbon-based composites will acquire the bulk of the patents awarded over the past ten years in this area. The two parties have now signed an agreement to this effect. No financial details of the transfer are being disclosed.

Patrick Thomas, CEO of Bayer Material Science, who is on the record as saying that he is still convinced that carbon nanotubes have huge potential, just that for Bayer MaterialScience no groundbreaking applications for the mass market or comprehensive commercialization were likely in the foreseeable future, expressed his satisfaction at the deal.

"We are pleased that FutureCarbon, one of the partners from the Inno.CNT development network, will be carrying on our company's work," he said.

Researchers from Bayer MaterialScience had conducted substantial research and development work in the field of carbon nanotubes in collaboration with external partners in recent years. This included complex issues relating to safe production and methods for scaling up the production processes. Next-generation catalysts and new product grades were also developed.

FutureCarbon GmbH is a leading innovator and provider of novel, carbon-based composites. As a specialist in the manufacture and in particular the refinement of various carbon materials, FutureCarbon enables a broad range of strategic industries, to easily utilize the extraordinary properties of carbon materials in their products.

"We enjoy a long-standing development partnership with Bayer. We are happy that we were able to acquire the Bayer patents for further market realization of the technology. They expand our applications base substantially and open up new possibilities and business segments for us," said Walter Schütz, managing director of the Bayreuth company.

And, as a mental reminder for those who might be wondering: A carbon nanotube is a tube-shaped material with a diameter measuring on the nanometer scale. Key applications are considered to be lithium-ion batteries, conductive plastics and structural composites.

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