High Yield Manufacture of Fullerenes and Carbon Nanotubes
Develop a novel manufacturing process for nanostructured carbon materials such as fullerenes and single-walled carbon nanotubes to dramatically increase yields and reduce costs, enabling wider application of these unique materials.
Sponsor: Nano-C, Inc.33 South West Park
Westwood, MA 02090
Nanostructured carbon materials, including fullerenes and single-walled carbon nanotubes, are expected to represent a significant part of the projected worldwide nanotechnology market. These new materials have been proposed for a wide range of high-impact applications from alternative energy sources that reduce the need for fossil fuels to new and improved medical therapies to environmentally sound materials that have extended lifetimes-all based on their unique properties. However, unless production costs can be reduced significantly these new materials may find only niche applications. Nano-C today produces nanostructured carbon materials using its first generation combustion technology that provides only limited control of mixing at sub-atmospheric pressures and imprecise control of time-temperature profiles. The company has proposed developing a new manufacturing technology for fullerenes and carbon nanotubes that overcomes these barriers with the potential to reduce their price by 10- to 50-fold. Key to the technology will be the development of a process reactor-an Offset Opposed Jet-Stirred Reactor (OOJSR)-that can provide intensive mixing at sub-atmospheric conditions, coupled with a Plug Flow Reactor (PFR), which will create optimal growth conditions through precise control of residence time and temperature. This first-of-its-kind production system will allow for selective manufacture of fullerenes and nanotubes and increase their yield by 10-fold. When combined with Nano-C's advanced separation and purification technology, these materials will have the potential to be priced significantly below current levels leading to a dramatic increase in economically viable applications.