Unique Catalytic Platform is Catalyzing Innovation in Alberta’s Energy Sector

Turning Calgary into a catalytic hub

Unique Catalytic Platform is Catalyzing Innovation in Alberta’s Energy Sector
Miranda Stahn
April 27, 2022

The success of a cleantech start-up hinges on more than the science. Revolutionary technologies have washed in and out of the ecosystem like the tides, with very few groundbreaking discoveries gaining traction with larger markets. So, what is that je ne sais quoi that distinguishes one team from another?

Company adaptability and chemistry – which coincidentally is also NanosTech’s stake in this game.

NanosTech, an energy transition company, is turning Calgary into a catalytic hub by bringing together an expert team of chemists, engineers, and business professionals to help Alberta lead the nation’s energy transition by applying their one-of-a-kind nanocatalyst technologies to a range of applications within the energy sector.

As a refresher, catalysts are entities that speed up chemical reactions by lowering the amount of initial energy required to kickstart and maintain the reaction. As our world runs on a series of chemical reactions, the applicability of catalysts themselves is quite broad, ranging from crude oil refining (as with NanosTech’s flagship ISUT technology) to breaking down renewable feedstocks for biofuel production.

With its one-of-a-kind catalyst technology being highly nimble, NanosTech has dipped its toes into several aspects of the energy transition, supporting the extraction of cleaner, less GHG intensive fossil fuels and Hydrogen fuels while keeping its sights on emerging technologies that will enable Canada to reach its 2030 emission goals.

Hydrogen fuel is an emerging cleantech solution gaining significant traction within the local energy sector since, when burned, it produces only water as a byproduct.

One of the predominant methods of producing hydrogen fuels is steam methane reforming. This process uses water to split waste methane from refineries into hydrogen and a carbon monoxide byproduct. This process is relatively energy-intensive, involving large volumes of high-temperature steam (usually over 800°C). In addition, natural gas is the primary source for generating steam; producing hydrogen by steam reforming can be fairly energy and emissions-intensive.

“What’s unique about our technology,” explains Gerardo Vitale, Senior Catalyst Researcher and Scientist at NanosTech, "is that the catalysts reduce the temperature of the reaction required to about ~500°C. This reduction in temperature subsequently reduces the amount of natural gas needed to heat the steam, lowering the overall emissions of the process.”

However, this wasn’t enough for NanosTech, whose innovative team wanted to find a way to valorize the carbon waste produced by the steam reforming process. Therefore, Vitale explains that NanosTech has designed a catalyst capable of supporting the harvesting of this carbon to turn it into carbon nanofibers, a highly sought material for several industries like medical and technological applications.

Hydrogen is only one example of how NanosTech intends to expand its operations. With the ingenuity and creative thinking of their scientific and cooperative teams, the company has their sights on developing a suite of emerging technologies that can distinguish Canada as an international leader in the cleantech space.

Learn more at www.nanos.tech