06.04.2023 - Startups, Technology

Naco Technologies secures €10 million funding

Latvian startup Naco Technologies has secured a €2.3 million grant from the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) EIC Accelerator programme and an investment to continue its work in the field of green hydrogen production. The total funding received is €10 million.

The startup’s project is aimed at creating specialized nano-coatings and new materials that replace the need for platinum and other expensive materials in the production and usage of hydrogen at a massive scale.

“We’ve developed a breakthrough high-speed nano coating process that can reduce consumption of scarce metals used in traditional catalytic coatings (like Pt and Ir) 10 times. It also provides an opportunity to develop new materials, to potentially substitute these rare earth elements. We already work with 20 customers, some of them are leading players in the hydrogen space,” stated Aleksandrs Parfinovičs, CEO at Naco Technologies.

Last year, Naco Technologies attracted a 1.5 million euro investment. The round was led by Untitled Ventures, a fund focused on deep tech startups, involved the Buildit Accelerator and other investors. Previously, Naco Technologies was a participant of Cleantech Estonia’s Beamline accelerator, which invests €25,000 in companies and the same amount in services. Naco Technologies has also graduated from the Buildit accelerator programme, where it received €50,000 in support.

Potential to save costs and source materials 

The company believes that hydrogen is a major opportunity in the switch to an eco-friendly economy. Today, it is produced from fossil fuels with high carbon emissions. A green alternative is converting excess solar and wind energy into hydrogen via a water electrolysis process. Hydrogen produced in this process is very aggressive chemically, so electrolyzer components need protection with advanced coatings. Currently, most widely used coating deposition methods are outdated and not scalable due to high production costs and using precious and scarce metals.

Naco Technologies provides catalytic and protective coatings for hydrogen system components, such as membranes, anodes, cathodes and bipolar plates. Its technology allows creating complex, nano-composite coatings with outstanding properties (precise thickness control from 5 nm to 5µm, high density, conductivity, and corrosion resistance). 

The high-speed magnetron sputtering technology developed by Naco Technologies holds great promise for the green hydrogen industry. It can sputter almost any material at a high rate and combine them into novel nano-structure coatings. PEM electrolyzers and fuel cells are essential components in hydrogen production and storage, but their reliance on noble materials like platinum and iridium makes them expensive and less sustainable. Naco Technologies’ innovative catalytic coatings aim to eliminate or significantly decrease the usage of these materials, reducing the cost and environmental impact of hydrogen production. 

As the world moves toward decarbonisation, green hydrogen has emerged as a clean, sustainable energy source with a wide range of applications, from transportation to industry. However, the high cost of production has been a significant barrier to widespread adoption. Naco Technologies’ technology could help overcome this hurdle, making green hydrogen a more economically feasible option for businesses and consumers alike. 

Long history of working with nano-coatings

The Naco Technologies team has a proven history of working with nano-coatings. It has previously developed a coating for the automotive industry that reduces friction in car components. In 2015, the startup sold this invention to the German company Schaeffler Group. 

The startup’s story dates back even further, to 2009, when the team met at the Commercialization Reactor’s Ignition event. 

Author: Anda Asere (labsoflatvia.com). Publicity photo.

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