Nanostellar, Inc. uses a unique nanotechnology to enable the automotive industry to meet stringent diesel emissions-control requirements.

Redwood City, CA
VC-Funded Company

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Electric Vehicles: Huge Potential for Venture Capital and Green Jobs. Dec 6, 2012.

Nanostellar, Inc. uses a unique nanotechnology methodology to develop precious-metals containing materials for the automotive and stationary power industries, enabling these industries to meet stringent diesel emissions-control requirements mandated in Europe, the U.S. and Asia. The company delivers nano-engineered catalyst materials that reduce exhaust emissions and increase effectiveness of precious metals in these catalysts by 25%-30%. Nanostellar's Rational Catalyst Design methodology combines computation materials science, novel synthesis and chemical engineering to aid in the rapid development of new materials.

A clean-technology company, Nanostellar is committed to delivering revolutionary pollution control materials that will deliver cleaner air and fewer environmental toxins. Our customers, leaders in the automotive and stationary power industries, use our nano-materials to boost catalytic converter performance as well as to comply with industry regulations more cost-effectively.

Nanotechnology is the science and technology of working with matter on a scale smaller than 100 nanometers. (One nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.) At this scale, quantum effects become pronounced, resulting in electronic and physical properties of solids that are quite different. The result is a number of unique applications that wouldn't be possible on a larger scale. Nanostellar's develops a fundamental understanding of the surface chemistry and material properties using our Rational Catalyst Design methodology to engineer materials such as platinum, palladium or gold on a nano-scale so that they become effective catalysts for certain chemical reactions that are significant in emissions control, such as CO oxidation and hydrocarbon oxidation reactions.

Well-capitalized since its inception in 2003, Nanostellar is a key supplier within the entire diesel emissions-control design chain, impacting design engineers, coaters, automotive equipment manufacturers, aftermarket developers, and manufacturing partners. The company owes its success to the founders' vision that applying Rational Catalyst Design methodology will allow the company to replace the expensive and supply-constrained Platinum used in traditional diesel emissions control by less expensive precious metals ('PGMs') such as Palladium and Gold.

The demand for more efficient use of PGMs will only continue. The usage of platinum in the diesel exhaust market is expected to grow to $4-5 billion in 2010, driven by global factors including:

* The penetration of diesel cars in Europe continues to grow and stands at approximately 55% of all cars produced there.
* Europe, North America and Japan consistently mandate higher emission standards for diesel vehicles.
* China and India continue to increase vehicle production while raising emissions standards.

Nanostellar's response: find and deliver solutions that reduce the use of Platinum while improving performance. As examples:

1. Nanostellar promoted Platinum material is appropriate for applications requiring low CO oxidation light-off temperatures and tunable NO oxidation characteristics. Some applications require low NO2 emissions to reduce smog forming chemicals in the air. Other applications, including catalyzed diesel particulate filters (CDPF), require thermal stability and low CO light off temperatures in order more efficiently burn trapped soot.
2. Nanostellar Pt:Pd 2:1 material is appropriate for light duty diesel vehicles requiring excellent low temperature performance combined with excellent thermal stability, resistance to sulfur and phosphorus and 25%-30% better performance over traditional platinum only materials.
3. NS Gold™ (Pt:Pd:Au), our latest material, improves hydrocarbon oxidation by 20+% over Nanostellar Pt:Pd product and is suitable for heavy-duty trucks, new high efficiency diesel engines (e.g., HCCI) that operate at low temperatures, ammonia slip catalysts, VOC and natural gas engines.

Nanostellar produces catalytically active powders through a manufacturing process that uses low cost plant and Nanostellar's proprietary chemistry, delivering cost competitive materials. Nanostellar's outsourced manufacturing model using joint-venture facilities enables Nanostellar to focus on its core competence of materials design, while leveraging manufacturing competences of our partners.

Nanostellar is capitalizing on a strong pull from the automotive industry for Platinum reducing materials for emissions control because of high and rising Platinum prices, resulting from a supply demand imbalance during the last 8 years. Nanostellar is carving out a unique position in the industry by focusing on materials research, freeing rest of the industry to focus on systems integration.

Nanostellar is a Khosla Ventures cleantech portfolio company.

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Nanostellar is one of the GoingGreen 2009 top 100 private companies.

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