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ConocoPhillips has invested capital and intellectual property rights in SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) which has allowed SWeNT to begin construction of a pilot plant to manufacture single-wall carbon nanotubes, at a cost low enough to accelerate their commercialization in several specialty applications.
The proprietary manufacturing technology was developed at the University of Oklahoma with support from ConocoPhillips, under the direction of Daniel E. Resasco, Ph.D., S.A. Wilson Professor of Chemical Engineering and world recognized researcher in catalysis.
SWeNT is manufacturing and selling single-walled carbon nanotubes under the trade name CoMoCAT. “”Tailoring the catalytic material is essential to attain maximum control of the quality and structure of the nanotubes. This catalyst tailoring is one of our strengths,”” says Dr. Resasco, co-founder and Chief Scientist for SWeNT. Nanotubes are hollow cylinders made of carbon atoms with a diameter approximately 100,000 times smaller than a human hair. Possessing remarkable electrical, thermal, and structural properties, nanotubes are considered the most promising known technology to enable major technological advances in high-volume specialty markets, including flat panel displays, structural composites, catalysis, electromagnetic materials, and others.
“”The ConocoPhillips strategic partnership positions SWeNT to lead the single walled carbon nanotube segment,”” says William E. Nasser, CEO and co- founder of SouthWest NanoTechnologies, Inc. ConocoPhillips has had a long- standing business interest in carbon products, having provided financial support and business consulting services to the University of Oklahoma’s early research. In return for its investment, ConocoPhillips gains an equity position in SouthWest NanoTechnologies. The ConocoPhillips transaction also initiates SWeNT’s capital campaign, in which the company will raise a Series A round of funds for expansion.
This follows last week’s news that ConocoPhillips will shut down the company’s carbon fibers project, called Cevolution. The company said that decision came after a careful review of a number of different continuation options and is the result of the cumulative effect of market, operating and technology uncertainties.
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