Throughout history, every significant stride in civilization has been driven by a material revolution. Today, VSParticle, a Dutch startup specializing in nanoparticle technology, is poised to fast-track a century’s worth of materials innovation in the next decade, contributing to our planet’s conservation.
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Accelerating Material Development for Environmental Goals
VSParticle’s co-founder and CEO, Aaike van Vugt, asserts that if we’re to achieve the global goal of restricting temperature rise well below 2°C, we must expedite material innovation. “The degree of material innovation necessary to actualize the energy transition in the upcoming years is equivalent to what we would typically realize in a century,” says van Vugt. He insists on a radical shift in our material production process.
Securing Funding and Eyeing Sustainability Solutions
Established in 2014 as a TU Delft offshoot, VSParticle has recently secured €14.5 million in funding led by Plural. This investment will be channeled towards scaling their nanoparticle technology, capable of creating new materials from a combination of 64 different elements. The startup aims to tackle crucial sustainability and energy transition issues initially.
Boosting the Green Hydrogen Economy with Nanotech
VSParticle is particularly interested in creating catalyst coated membranes (CCMs), essential components in proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis employed for green hydrogen production. Moreover, their tech can hasten the creation of novel gas sensors to detect air pollution and even early disease symptoms through human breath.
Affordable Scaling through Nanoparticle Tech
Conventionally, CCM technology relies on rare and expensive metals such as platinum and iridium. VSParticle’s tech, which can deconstruct materials into nanoparticles and rearrange them into new compositions, promises to devise novel material combinations at an unprecedented pace. This could make it more economical to ramp up production, aligning with the EU’s ambition to produce 10 million tons of green hydrogen annually by 2030.
The ‘Big Bang’ of Nanoparticle Production
VSParticle’s base product is the VSP-G1, a user-friendly tabletop nanoparticle generator. It uses a plug-and-play electrode system for quick material changes, compatible with 62 diverse elements. The inserted solid rods undergo a “Big Bang,” as van Vugt describes, creating a cloud of evaporated material from which nanoparticles – the fundamental building blocks – form.
Unleashing the Power of Inorganic Innovation
With the help of their VSP-P1 NanoPrinter, VSParticle can reduce the production and discovery cycle for materials from months to merely an hour. Van Vugt contends that humans have only tapped into less than 1% of potential inorganic materials. He envisions their automated lab uncovering the remaining 99% of possibilities.
VSParticle, a participant in MIT’s student venture accelerator DELTA V and part of Techleap’s Pole Position cohort for deep tech startups in the Netherlands, has raised a total of €17 million, including a €3.5 million grant from NXTGEN HIGHTECH.
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