Nanostellar, Inc., a leader in nano-engineered catalyst materials, announced today that the World Economic Forum (WEF) has selected it as a 2008 Technology Pioneer. Nanostellar is one of 39 visionary companies from around the globe to receive this prestigious honor as nominated by leading technology experts from the academia, media, venture capital, and corporate technology communities. A WEF-appointed panel made the final selection of Nanostellar, selecting it from a record-nomination list of 273 companies. Nanostellar has been invited to participate along with fellow 2008 Technology Pioneers at the WEF’s annual meeting scheduled for January 23-27, 2008 in Davos, Switzerland, as well as at the annual meeting of the New Champions that will be held in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China, September 25-27, 2008.
Novel Emissions Control Materials Developed Rapidly With Rational Catalyst Design
Nanostellar’s innovation addresses the serious threats posed to the environment by pollution from automobiles, trucks and stationary engines. These threats are spurring governments in the United States, European Union, and other industrialized nations to pass legislation that sets incrementally stricter standards for emissions reduction. This in return requires rapid evolution of the chemical catalysts used to mitigate emissions.
Nanostellar’s Rational Catalyst Design methodology unites two disciplines — computational nanoscience and advanced synthetic chemistry — to speed the pace of development for nano-engineered catalytic materials for diesel emissions control. Rational Catalyst Design allows Nanostellar to gain a fundamental understanding of the surface chemistry and properties of nano-materials, enabling it to develop new nano-engineered alloys at record speeds.
In June 2007, Nanostellar pioneered the use of gold as an automotive catalyst, in combination with platinum and palladium, the traditional precious metals used for emissions reduction. In reducing the requirements for those much more expensive metals, Nanostellar reduced the costs for the catalytic converters in which those materials are used, while capturing more than 20 percent higher noxious emissions. The potential to use gold in this type of application has long been considered, but until now the technical challenges concerning catalyst durability have prevented gold’s use. Independent test results show that Nanostellar has achieved a breakthrough in this arena.
“This award provides further validation of Nanostellar’s Rational Catalyst Design methodology which, we believe, will change how chemistry gets done. Our innovation is analogous to the impact that EDA (electronic design automation) has had on circuit design in enabling complex circuits that are designed and tested computationally at a fraction of the time and cost required to do so by hand,” said Pankaj Dhingra, CEO of Nanostellar. “We plan on using Rational Catalyst Design for other applications, including catalysts for biofuels.”
2008 Pioneers Apply Transformational and Innovative Technologies
Technology Pioneers are companies that have been identified as developing and applying highly transformational and innovative technologies in the areas of energy, biotechnology and health, and information technology. To be selected as a Technology Pioneer, a company must be involved in the development of life-changing technology innovation and have the potential for long-term impact on business and society. In addition, it must demonstrate visionary leadership, show all the signs of being a long-standing market leader — and its technology must be proven. Previous Technology Pioneers have included Business Objects, Cambridge Silicon Radio, Corel Corporation, Encore Software, Google, Mozilla Corporation and Napster.
The 2008 “pioneering” companies’ products and services include: identity management on the Internet, understanding of individuals’ genetic information, robotic radiosurgery, pollution control materials, low-cost remote diagnosis solutions, virtual interface technologies, wiki-based projects, and next-generation business intelligence solutions.
Twenty-three of the Technology Pioneers 2008 are US-based companies; two each from Israel, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland; and one each from Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands and Russia. Technology Pioneers are nominated in three main categories: Energy/Environment, Biotechnology/Health and Information Technology.
The entire list of Technology Pioneers and interviews with the CEOs of the selected companies can be found here: http://www.weforum.org/techpioneers/2008.
“This year the World Economic Forum received a record number of applications from companies around the world to become a Technology Pioneer. From a highly competitive field, we are extremely pleased to have a community that is using innovation and technology to dramatically affect the way society and business operate and doing so in a markedly collaborative manner. We are excited to welcome the Technology Pioneers class of 2008 to the larger community of the World Economic Forum and we are looking forward to the fruits that their collaboration will bring,” said Peter Torreele, managing director of the World Economic Forum.
The selection criteria include:
1) Innovation. The company’s technology must be truly innovative. A new
version or repackaging of an already well-accepted technological
solution does not qualify as an innovation. The innovation should be
recent — not more than two years old. The company should invest
significantly in R&D.
2) Potential Impact. The company’s technology must have the potential to
have a substantial long-term impact on business and society in the
3) Growth and Sustainability. The company should have all the signs of
being a long-term market leader and should have well-formulated plans
for future development and growth.
4) Proof of Concept. The company must have a product on the market or
have proven practical applications of the technology. Companies in
“stealth” mode and companies with untested ideas or models will not
5) Leadership. The company must have visionary leadership that plays a
critical role in driving the company towards reaching its goals.
6) Status. The company must not currently be a Member of the World
Economic Forum. This criterion applies to the parent company — thus
wholly-owned subsidiaries of large firms are not eligible.
Nanostellar — Well Down the Road to Commercialization
Nanostellar commercialized its first-generation catalyst material in 2006 with its products currently in use helping to reduce soot emitted from Germany’s existing vehicles on the road, and carbon monoxide emissions from Europe’s stationary power sources. In addition, Nanostellar has initiated several programs with various automotive manufacturers with commercialization targeted as early as 2008. One major European automotive manufacturer is in the final stages of certifying Nanostellar material on a large-volume engine platform with production targeted for mid-2008. Additionally, a global OEM has qualified Nanostellar products for its next-generation diesel vehicles in 2010. Nanostellar is working with this OEM’s catalyst suppliers to become its global materials supplier.
Nanostellar, Inc. provides diesel automotive and stationary power industries with nano-engineered catalyst materials that reduce exhaust emissions and increase the effectiveness of precious metals in catalysts. Focusing on the fields of quantum computational nanoscience, chemistry, materials science, and chemical engineering, Nanostellar utilizes Rational Catalyst Design, which combines computational approaches with targeted experiments, to accelerate the development of new materials. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Nanostellar is funded by premier investors including 3i, Khosla Ventures, Monitor Ventures, Firelake Capital Management LLC, and AsiaTech Management. For more information, visit http://www.nanostellar.com/.
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. (http://www.weforum.org/)