Germany’s ERP Start Fund to Invest Up To €1M in Namos for Bio-Nanotech Automotive Catalysts

Jose Michael

Namos GmbH,, a company developing surface solutions based on bio-nanotechnology, will receive up to €1 million (US$1.36 million) from the ERP Start Fund, a joint program of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), the German government-owned development bank, and the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The funds, to be provided in the form of an equity investment, will be disbursed in several tranches which are contingent on the achievement of specific milestones in product development.

Namos develops innovative coatings based on aqueous solutions, with a focus on nanostructured surfaces which offer uniquely advantageous characteristics. Rather than producing these with a large number of complex process steps, these are produced using biomolecules which organize themselves in certain ways into the desired structures.

Applied to catalysts, the Namos materials can lead to a higher availability of the precious metals, an optimized distribution and thermal stability. The manufacturing process is compatible with current industrial standards, the company says.

Technology developed by Namos should enable the savings of about one half of all precious metals currently required for the production of automotive catalytic converters. The proprietary process from Namos is based on a bio-nanotechnological coating which is applied to the ceramic substrate.

The process is currently proceeding through a number of testing phases. At the end of these, the new technology will be ready for the commercial market so that it can be smoothly integrated into the overall production process for automotive catalytic converters.

Approximately 230 metric tons of “new,” non-recycled precious metals are currently consumed each year to produce automotive catalytic converters, corresponding to an annual value of US$8.3 billion. Namos claims that roughly half of this amount could be saved by using its technology.

Following this transaction, Nanostart AG and the ERP Start Fund will each hold a share of 15.2% in Namos. Once the remaining planned capital transactions have been executed, the two investors will together hold a 40-percent share of Namos.

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