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Development Team led by MIT Scientist Contributes Important New Technology for Broad Commercialization of Fullerene Applications

Nano-C, Inc., a leader in fullerene production technology, today announced the successful development of an important new combustion method of fullerenes production. The technology, developed by a team of company engineers and scientists, will enable dramatic reductions in fullerenes cost for companies developing applications for pharmaceuticals, personal care, and conducting and commodity polymers. Nano-C’s process innovations come at a time when a number of high volume commercial applications are moving to market.

“Nano-C’s scalable, low-cost method of producing pure fullerenes with no solvent-based post-processing has finally become a reality,” said Jack B. Howard, Nano-C founder and MIT Chemical Engineering Professor Emeritus. “Our efficient combustion process enables the manufacturing of commercial grades of fullerenes covering a wide range of purities and compositions that can be tailored to customer applications for the best cost and performance.”

"As our own pharmaceutical products are moving toward the clinic, it's great to see Nano-C bridging the gap between fullerene research and practical applications," says Dr. Steve Wilson, founder and Chief Scientific Officer of C-Sixty, Inc, a Houston-based bio-nanotechnology company focusing on medical uses of fullerene antioxidants.

Discovered in 1985, fullerenes are ball-shaped molecules of carbon that structurally resemble the geodesic dome invented by architect Buckminster Fuller. Most prevalent are C60 and C70, those with either 60 or 70 carbon atoms, but many others such as C76, C78, C84, and higher molecular weights are also found. Since their discovery, fullerenes have stimulated intense interest, evidenced by thousands of scientific and technical articles and hundreds of new patents describing their unique properties.

Despite their enormous promise, the high cost of the early carbon arc production method limited commercial fullerenes development. In 1991, a research group led by Professor Jack B. Howard of MIT's Chemical Engineering Department invented the first combustion method of fullerene production, providing the foundation of engineering knowledge critical for process scale up. Howard formed Nano-C in 2001, licensed the MIT technology and then sub-licensed it for use in Japan.

Nano-C’s new generation patented technology optimizes the conditions for fullerene formation and offers a number of important benefits:


  • Fuel feed velocities of more than 10 times the rate previously achieved significantly reduce capital investment costs.
  • Purity levels of 95% and above, eliminating costly downstream, solvent-based separation and purification processes.
  • Solvent free separation also allows for economical production of higher fullerenes.


About Nano-C
Nano-C, located in Westwood, Massachusetts, is a leader in the industrial process for fullerenes production. The company has designed and built a second-generation combustion synthesis reactor that incorporates features critical for scaling to the large production rates necessary for full commercialization. With increasingly efficient production advances, Nano-C technology speeds the discovery and adoption of fullerene applications.


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