What is a catalyst, and what is nanocatalyst technology?

Many use the word catalyst, but what is a catalyst? NanosTech, a leading catalyst company explains.

What is a catalyst, and what is nanocatalyst technology?
Miranda Stahn
January 31, 2023

By the time the average individual has trudged through their morning commute and settled into their first cup of coffee, their life has already been positively impacted by catalysts. Everything, from the car they drove to the office to the business card they pulled out to make their first 9 a.m., was enabled by catalytic technology.  

So, what exactly are catalysts? And why should industries be interested in them?

Generally, we refer to catalysts as substances employed to speed up chemical reactions by reducing the activation energy required to initiate them. Additionally, catalytic technologies have been shown to create chemical reactions with increased selectivity, high activity, lower energy consumption, and improved longevity.

Due to these traits, and the potential cost-saving implications of integrating catalysts, the industry has been keen to apply this technology to several processes centred around the chemical conversion of raw materials into high-value products. The energy sector, specifically, has been quick to actualize the benefits of catalysis, understanding how it can be implemented to improve brownfield processes. 

For instance, in the case of steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), integrating catalytic technologies into established operations has been shown to reduce site greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while improving profit margins. One reason is that producers can recapture investments made in implementing catalytic technologies by spending less money on producing high-temperature steam.

The above example details the ideology behind NanosTech’s hallmark In-Situ Upgrading Technology (ISUT) technology, which will pilot its solution in 2023.  

The evolution from catalyst to nanocatalyst… 

Catalysts will always have their utility, especially within the heavy oil industry; At NanosTech, the technology has recently been married with nanotechnology concepts to enable the creation of state-of-the-art nanocatalysts. To NanosTech,  a company leader in this space, nanocatalysts offer an even higher degree of reactiveness and have a novel approach to their formulations that make them more targeted and industry-specific. By doing this, traditional catalysts can be given enhanced properties, including more solubility with reactant solutions and the capacity to be easily extracted for reuse.

NanosTech’s compact catalyst preparation module, CatSKIDTM nanocatalyst particles, can be effectively suspended in solution and injected directly into the well to produce an upgraded quality while lowering production emissions by up to 40% in many cases. 

ISUT CatSkid

The limit of nanocatalyst applications is simply imagination, as the technology has already shown potential across several industrial processes, including enhanced oil refining, biodiesel and hydrogen fuel production, and the development of carbon nanotubes. Moreover, with nanocatalytic technologies potentially contributing to decarbonization, emissions reduction and process optimization, their uptake into industrial manufacturing is expected to increase significantly in the coming years.

NanosTech has already positioned itself as a Canadian leader in producing nanocatalysts for these purposes. Meaning that within the next few years, by the time you take that first swig of morning java at 9 a.m., you must thank a nanocatalyst for getting you there.

To learn more, contact us today.