Granular Carbon Nano-fibre Materials and a Catalytic Methane Decarbonisation Process
Dr Dmitriy Kuvshinov in the University of Hull’s Department of Chemical Engineering is a leading researcher in heterogeneous catalysis, nanostructured carbon material synthesis and application (bio- and chemistry, food, medical, electronics), hydrogen production and development of Natural Gas processing technologies at the pilot scale.
During his research, he has developed a patented new process for creating new classes of granulated, carbon, nano-fibre materials (GCNF) with a range of useful properties including 3D structure, high mechanical strength, tube or filament structures, and bio-inert. The materials are usable straight from the reactor, and can include embedded nano-metal particles.
GCNF materials have significant advantages over other nano-carbon materials. These are applications dependent, but advantages include easy handling, bio-inertness, manufacturing scalability, cost. The performance parameter of greatest market interest is electrical conductivity. Markets with significant technical challenges addressable by the GCNF materials include Batteries, Electronics, and conductive Materials & Polymers.
The manufacturing process is now proven and the GCNF materials have been tested in a range of potential applications. Having characterised the capabilities of these new materials, the University needed to understand their potential markets, applications and commercialisation strategy options.
Qi3’s desk research and market interviews addressed key questions on: market sectors, size / shape of the addressable markets, stage of market development, customer types, value proposition, channels to market, competitive environment, market growth drivers & barriers to entry. A potentially significant sales prospect for a disruptive new application was also uncovered during the market field research.
Another major finding of the market assessment was the market and commercial potential for the Catalytic Methane Decarbonisation Process (CMDP) used to manufacture the GCNF materials. Potential markets for this are both separate to or closely integrated with the markets for GCNF materials. Qi3 undertook a follow-on phase of work to establish business models and commercialisation strategies for both the CMDP process and GCNF materials, and valuation models for CMDP licensing negotiations.
The University is now in commercial discussions for several innovative applications of its CMDP process and GCNF materials, and is developing a strategy for their wider commercial exploitation.
“The University realised that the market opportunity for its CMDP process and GCNF materials was complex and in its infancy. Qi3’s methodologies and extensive market knowledge enabled it to quickly identify the core value proposition for the technologies, engage with potential users, and identify a clear strategic framework for commercial exploitation. These insights have been invaluable in shaping the University’s strategy. The identification of new applications and immediate sales / collaboration prospects was a major added benefit. We expect to make further use of Qi3’s services as we develop the commercialisation strategy further.