Disrupting Advanced Materials in an environmentally-friendly and cost effective way.
Carbon dioxide from industrial factories and car emissions pollute the air and a technique has been recently developed by a startup converting pollution into carbon nanotubes in a cheaper and greener process than ever before.
Carbon Nanotubes That Cut Pollution Levels?
Of the People. By the People.
For the People
by: KARINA MENDOZA CALAYAG
Practically everything in our lives – from our everyday personal devices and household appliances, cars, games and sports, to the broader industries of major sports, medicine and healthcare, entertainment, energy, food, education, finance, transportation, aviation, military and space, and so on – is undergoing a transformation of what I’d call some kind of a boost or super power; smaller, faster, lighter, stiffer, more flexible, more transparent, more heat or cold resistant, more durable, stronger, cheaper; interconnected etc, ETC… making them increasingly effective and efficient.
But what gives? As beneficiaries of these advancements, our appreciation often goes only as far as how we enjoy them, their utility to us and how our lives are affected and improved – the end result. We don’t usually bother to know what brings forth the stepped-up attributes that are changing our lifestyle, our life span, and our world.
What enables these super powers? Advanced Materials is definitely one key super power enabler.
Many of us don’t know much about Advanced Materials. I, for one, hardly knew anything about nanotechnology until putting together this article, and I admit I still know very little to this point. Largely, it is because it is a subject that involves deeper science than we would normally delve into or come across in our day-to-day. It is unfamiliar. Because the general public is a not direct consumer of Advanced Materials there is less information and education brought to our attention by these companies’ marketing departments. So although we are constantly using products made with Advanced Materials they are not usually materials we use directly and not made available to us in their raw form. The large manufacturing companies, industrial companies are the buyers and the users of these expensive wonder ingredients, — at this time.
Here is a startup company that aims to bring the power of Advanced Materials to the people. TMM Disruptive Advanced Materials aka TMM Industries Ltd, @tmmnano.
“We develop and manufacture high-quality, low-cost Nanomaterials, including Carbon Nanotubes, Aerogels, Quantum Dots and others. We are sustainable and collaborative, incorporating scientists and the Maker community,” Founder and CEO, JoEl Meeks-Matous said.
Happy to feed my curiosity about the general topic of Advanced Materials particularly carbon nanotubes and silica aerogels, what his company is about and what makes it special, Meeks-Matous shed some light first on TMM. “TMM stands for Taylor, Meeks, Matous. The company is a living embodiment of the 3 greatest influences in my life: Innovation, Ethics, and Spirit.
My late grandfather, Vernal L. Taylor, Electrical Engineer and U.S. AID Chief Of Party, who began engineering and technology schools in 9 different African countries.
My biological father, Attorney Bruce R. Meeks, Inspector General and former Executive Deputy Attorney General for the State of Florida.
My stepfather, George Scott Matous, Rabbi and MSW/LCSW at Maimonides Medical Center.
Each of these men contributed to my unique approach to the research and development of important nanomaterials.”
Silica aerogel in hand. Though with a ghostly appearance like a hologram, aerogel is very solid.
Courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
Crayons not melting with a flame underneath. A demonstration of silica aerogel’s insulation properties.
Courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
When Meeks-Matous received his first science kit as a birthday present at the young age of 4 years old, his love for science was ignited and has ever since steadily grown stronger and bolder with more complex kits he received through the years. In high school, he won in notable state level science competitions he entered. That was just the beginning. “I competed and won national and international as well. By the time I was 17, I had medals from all four branches of the military for scientific achievement, not to mention numerous other awards,” Meeks-Matous said.
After studying a year in college Meeks-Matous left school and worked ten years in Sales and Marketing in executive positions at a handful of companies. His true passion, however, remained in the field of science and technology, particularly in advanced materials, ultimately leading him back to venture there as a startup entrepreneur as it is where his true genius lay. In 2009, he was COO at his first startup, “the United States branch of Playfon, which is a mobile entertainment content provider based in Russia. We later expanded to seven other countries and as far as I know, they are still active. However, I am no longer involved with the company,” Meeks-Matous said. Last fall, at TechCrunch Disrupt in SF, he launched his second venture, TMM Disruptive Advanced Materials, using one of his award-winning projects as his first patented product. “I launched [TMM] at TC. I got my first patent two years ago and have since filed two more.”
A subscriber to the tenets laid out in Peter Thiel’s book Zero To One, his take on it in a nutshell, “to pursue fundamental truths that no one believes in and create that no one else is doing,” is what fueled Meeks-Matous to launch TMM Disruptive Advanced Materials. Operating out of both New York and California he holds two patents in the Advanced Materials arena with his first patent, “a multiple purpose composite of Carbon Nanotubes and Silica Aerogel.” According to Meeks-Matous, its applications include supercapacitor (Think large capacity batteries), oil spillage removal, lightweighting and microprocessing.
Meeks-Matous further explains, “Lightweighting,” As the name suggests, “this application is to reduce the load in both automotive and aerospace industries, or any other relative use requiring a reduction in weight for improved performance.” (Think lighter at the same time stronger bulletproof vests, boat hulls, airplanes and rocket ships.)
“With microprocessing, transistors made from carbon nanotubes are smaller than silicon transistors and more efficient. This means better performance in a smaller size,” he continued.
“Our R&D will also include changing the substrate altogether, meaning a total replacement for the silicon computer chip.”
His second patented technology “is an iteration of the first with broader applications to encompass – hydrogen storage,” Meeks-Matous said.
VISION and MISSION
“Our vision is to change the way that nanomaterials interact with the world. Our mission is to manufacture high-quality, low-cost nanotechnology solutions.”
“TMM is proudly a green technology and sustainable company. Free and abundant carbon is harvested from the polluted air we breathe converting this into advanced materials using their secret technique that not only ultimately costs less to do but is also toxic-free.”
Meeks-Matous differentiates his products from similar products in the field pointing out that the others “are produced with resultant toxic gas emissions. We create carbon nanotubes from hydrocarbon emissions. We also produce aerogels without harmful chemicals.”
“To go a little deeper, with the carbon nanotube production, we use pollution from factories as our gas source. When the gases come into our reactor, they mix with a patent-pending catalyst and the reactions condense the gas hydrocarbon into solid carbon nanomaterials. All this at a much lower temperature than competitors, which means less power consumption. This is different from the ways nanotubes are typically produced because (A) we have a lean production by reducing the supply chain, (B) we can have continuous production, not batch-production like major competitors, and (C) we have purer samples and a drastically lower cost.”
“With the aerogels, they are made two ways: either with supercritical drying or ambient drying. Both methods require extensive time and production solutions; either CO2 with supercritical drying or toluene/benzene with ambient drying. Our method eliminates the need for additives and results in lower production cost and faster throughput.”
The potentials on “a total replacement for the silicon computer chip”, drug delivery targeting cancer tumors and other diseases, biosensing for health monitoring, applications for larger capacity, smaller in size and longer lasting batteries, these alone, simply put, is prodigious.
“The $10 billion carbon nanotubes industry is one market. We’re also speaking with several companies and universities conducting nanotube-based research in Materials, Microprocessing, and Polymers.
Our other market is the $3 trillion Advanced Materials industry including semiconductors, batteries, composites, insulators, construction, transportation and medicine,” Meeks-Matous said.
That pretty much touches every aspect of our life if you think about it.
TMM’s funding is undisclosed.
“With our team, we fully embrace diversity with a group of scientists, engineers, executives, nanotechnologists, creatives, and makers. All ethnic backgrounds and a near equal mix of men and women and are actively continuing to hire.
Our advisory board is an equally impressive and expanding list of individuals, including Dr. Matthew Putman of Nanotronics, John Biggs of TechCrunch, Dr. Jennifer Taylor Director of the National Organic Standards Board/United Nations Sustainable Development, and Dr. Arthur Salido of Western Carolina University.”