Tags: nanotube membrane | start-up | zero-carbon fuel

Nanotube Membrane Start-up Seeks Zero-Carbon Fuel 'Out of Thin Air'

Image: Nanotube Membrane Start-up Seeks Zero-Carbon Fuel 'Out of Thin Air'
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By    |   Monday, 12 March 2018 06:29 AM

A nanotube membrane start-up believes it can make zero-carbon fuel "out of thin air," and now hope to mass produce gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel using the new technology, the company said.

Mattershift, a New York City-based company made up of alumni from MIT and Yale University, claims that it has made a breakthrough in technology that will allow it to make carbon nanotube membranes, or CNT, at large scale at a reasonable cost.

The journal Science Advances published an article detailing tests confirming Mattershift's large-scale CNT membranes matching the characteristics and performance of small prototype CNT membranes.

The Science Advances article was a collaboration between Mattershift and researchers in the labs of Benny Freeman at The University of Texas and Jeffrey McCutcheon at the University of Connecticut.

"Achieving large scale production of carbon nanotube membranes is a breakthrough in the membrane field," Freeman, a chemical engineering professor at Texas said.

"It's a huge challenge to take novel materials like these and produce them at a commercial level, so we're really excited to see what Mattershift has done here. There's such a large, unexplored potential for carbon nanotubes in molecular separations, and this technology is just scratching the surface of what's possible."

High cost and the difficulty of creating the technology had kept it inside university laboratories to this point.

Forbes magazine reported that such "molecular" factories have long been predicted as an industry and even been the subject of science fiction like the replicator from "Star Trek." The new Mattershift technology would separate and combining molecules to form new raw materials.

The technology will have ability to use CO2 removed from the air to create the fuels and could have a wide range of uses, from developing the low-cost production of ethanol fuel, creating precision drug delivery, low-energy desalination of seawater, purification of pharmaceutical compounds, and high-performance catalysis for the production of fuels.

"This technology gives us a level of control over the material world that we've never had before," Mattershift founder Rob McGinnis said. "We can choose which molecules can pass through our membranes and what happens to them when they do.”

"For example, right now we're working to remove CO2 from the air and turn it into fuels. This has already been done using conventional technology, but it's been too expensive to be practical. Using our tech, I think we'll be able to produce carbon-zero gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels that are cheaper than fossil fuels."

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A nanotube membrane start-up believes it can make zero-carbon fuel "out of thin air," and now hope to mass produce gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel using the new technology.
nanotube membrane, start-up, zero-carbon fuel
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2018-29-12
Monday, 12 March 2018 06:29 AM
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