Why catalyst solutions for decarbonizing the energy industry?

Our proprietary catalyst technology demonstrates the capacity to decarbonize today's processes.

Why catalyst solutions for decarbonizing the energy industry?
Miranda Stahn
February 14, 2023

To genuinely impact Canada's carbon emissions and steer the nation towards lofty 2030 and 2050 emissions targets, investors must redirect some funds from industry-specific technologies and ad-hoc investments to highly modular and adaptive solutions capable of being deployed across sectors. A market-ready example of this technology would be catalysts, whose versatility and customizability position them as an ideal decarbonization solution.

Catalysts can bring Canada's energy sector into its new net-zero era.

At NanosTech, we pride ourselves on being global leaders in catalysis. Our proprietary catalyst technology demonstrates the capacity to decarbonize today's processes while enabling the net-zero technologies of tomorrow, such as advanced biofuels and hydrogen.

For instance, Nanos' catalyst-enabled In Situ Upgrading Technology (ISUT) has been shown to reduce brownfield oil sands operations' greenhouse gas emissions by more than a third and can simultaneously improve recovery rates by up to ninety percent.

With a knowledge base in heavy oil upgrading and expertise in catalysis, we launched Nova, a proprietary catalyst platform technology redefining how the energy sector will refine conventional and non-conventional feedstocks (such as biocrude). Through Nova, producers can decarbonize their processes by increasing their net efficiency without extensive capital investment while producing a higher quality fuel by simultaneously removing harmful substances like sulphur. Furthermore, in the case of biofuels, it removes cost barriers to market entry as Nova can easily be scale-up or down to support decentralized biocrude refining while decreasing costs by eliminating the need for niche and pricey manufacturing methods.

Another domain where catalysts will prove invaluable is the mass production of hydrogen fuel. Despite ‘burning clean,’ most processes capable of producing hydrogen at commercial scales, such as the conventional high-temperature steam-methane reforming (SMR), are far from carbon neutral and face several inefficiencies. For example, SMR struggles with excess carbon settling, nuances with catalyst loading and deactivation, and the continued need to produce large amounts of high-temperature steam from natural gas to maintain reaction temperatures.

We have created an effective hydrogen production adjuvant by applying our catalyst technology to this process. Compared to stand-alone SMR, when catalysts are added, they not only decrease the net energy of the reaction, reducing the volume of high-temperature steam required but also create a self-sustaining system. This means that compared to traditional catalysts, the catalyst only needs to be added once to enhance hydrogen production. Furthermore, this technology can be further integrated with processes like our partner company Carbonova, whose hallmark carbon nanofiber generation technology creates additional (and lucrative) revenue streams.

NanosTech can provide an effective route to genuine and cost-effective decarbonization.

With global hydrogen demands expected to increase by at least 10-fold before 2050, we must ensure its production is cleaner than status quo technologies and that we are impacting industrial emissions and not just offsetting them to new sectors. The same could be said for advanced biofuels, which despite being renewable, will likely be subject to several carbon-intensive refining processes as the traditional oil and gas sector, including shipping crude to centralized refining sites and utilizing large amounts of generated steam.

One solution to support multiple sectors

NanosTech's innovative catalyst-enabled solutions ensure that producers are not offsetting or transferring carbon emissions but meaningfully impacting their ecological footprints.  To bring this full circle, the highly adaptable nature and broad applicability of Nanos’ technology means investors are not just investing in a single solution but a suite of technologies that have the potential to revolutionize Canada’s energy sector.