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Big deal for tiny tubes: Bayer buys CNT license from Hyperion

Carbon nanotube developers Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) and Hyperion Catalysis International have concluded a patent license agreement to develop new application areas for the technology. Under the deal, BMS has made payments to Hyperion that will allow it to sell its Baytubes carbon nanotubes for use within a defined field under Hyperion's extensive patent portfolio.

PlasticsToday Staff

March 21, 2011

2 Min Read
Big deal for tiny tubes: Bayer buys CNT license from Hyperion

Carbon nanotube developers Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) and Hyperion Catalysis International have concluded a patent license agreement to develop new application areas for the technology. Under the deal, BMS has made payments to Hyperion that will allow it to sell its Baytubes carbon nanotubes for use within a defined field under Hyperion's extensive patent portfolio.

Hyperion's flagship technology, Fibril, is a conductive, multiwalled carbon nanotube. Fibril is based on the research work by Howard G. Tennent, who in 1987, was issued a U.S. patent for "graphitic, hollow core fibrils." Hyperion Catalysis has been manufacturing and selling its Fibril carbon nanotubes for a range of applications since 1983. Over that time, it has also staked out a broad swath of intellectual property around the technology, with hundreds of issued patents and patent applications covering the production and use of carbon nanotubes.

Hyperion supplies its product in masterbatches, which require subsequent letdown and compounding, or as ready-to-mold compounds. In addition to commercial applications within automotive and electronics, Hyperion is also working on using nanotubes as conductive additives in elastomers and as flame retardants.

David M. Wohlstadter, Hyperion's VP business development, said in a release that the license with BMS will "further leverage Hyperion's broad patent portfolio and capitalize on the ever increasing demand for carbon nanotubes."

BMS has been actively selling its Baytubes products since 2006. About 50,000 times thinner than a human hair, Baytubes are agglomerates of multi-wall carbon nanotubes, with each tube consisting of several graphite layers. The average diameter of the tubes ranges from 13 to 16 nanometers. BMS advanced the manufacturing technology of the nanotubes, and in 2006-2007,  it launched production units with an annual capacity of 60 tonnes in Laufenburg, Germany.

In January 2010, BMS opened a new CNT pilot facility at its Chempark in Leverkusen, Germany, investing EUR 22 million. Described by the company as the largest of its kind in the world, it has an annual capacity of 200 tonnes. Depending on the catalyst used, different Baytubes grades can be produced by the catalytic chemical vapor deposition (CCVD) process, with BMS able to achieve material purities of up to 99%.

The company has also entered into a number of collaborative agreements with players within the nanotechnology field in particulars companies working on nanocomposites and nanocompounds, including Amroy Europe Oy, BYK-Chemie GmbH, Clariant Masterbatches GmbH, Ensinger GmbH, FutureCarbon GmbH, Nanoledge Inc., Schütz GmbH & Co.KGaA, and now Hyperion. —PlasticsToday Staff

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