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    Date submitted
  • 28-Sep-2018

Sunthetics

Abstract

Sunthetics makes synthetic chemicals using solar energy. Our first technology manufactures a chemical intermediate for nylon (PA66), called adiponitrile (ADN). It is emission-free, highly efficient, and cost-effective.

Video

Original YouTube URL: Open

Introduction Video

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Our early customers are nylon manufacturers which are suppliers for outdoor apparel and performance wear eco-friendly brands. These manufacturers have been sourcing from the same 2 companies for their raw material, and their customers are starting to require more sustainable materials, especially for nylon. In order to stay competitive, these companies are searching for alternative and more sustainable raw materials.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

The demand for nylon has been rapidly growing as the automobile industry has been replacing heavy metal with lightweight plastics such as nylon. This increasing demand has not been matched by the supply and there are currently huge shortages in this industry. On the manufacturing side, the reactions are complex and made in large, inflexible, and expensive infrastructure, making capacity increase costly and time-consuming. In addition, frequent power outages due to weather challenges have caused multiple production interruptions. On the customer side, there are only two suppliers that make the key chemical intermediate, adiponitrile. Both use entirely proprietary processes for the manufacture, and this technology is not socialized like with other plastics. In addition, each individual supplier requires too low of volumes to justify developing their own technologies. Sunthetics enters the market with a technology that almost doubles the production rate, reducing both carbon emissions (less energy use) and cost (less raw material needed). In addition, our reactors are cost effective and modular, enabling easy capacity changes by adding and removing individual cells. Finally, our reactor is one of the few that inputs DC electricity, making it cost-efficient for us to diversify electricity sources and bypass the grid, even when using renewable energies. As an example, plugging in to solar panels directly enables us to achieve electricity prices lower than 4 cents/kWh.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

Our product is different and innovative because of our unique use of energy within our reactor, as well as our in-depth understanding of the reaction at a molecular level and the different parameters that affect it. In a very short amount of time we were able to pinpoint exactly which parameters can improve our reaction and showed immense progress. In addition, our careful choice of materials has enabled us to make a technology that doesn't require the large amounts of capital that are necessary in this industry. We are thus able to not only make it easy to implement but also improve the flexibility and sustainability of the industry. In other words, our technologies make sustainability an asset rather than a disadvantage to the industry.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

Our main advantage is our cost, our ability to scale, and our flexibility in capacity. The main barrier to some of the new and innovative technologies is the large costs and inability to scale to industry standards. We have developed these advantages at a lab scale and are currently working on developing our next iteration, the size of a box. We expect our final reactors to be the size of a dishwasher, in comparison to the size of a bus in the current industry. We have incredible expertise in this reaction and other electrochemical reactions within our team, as well as a long list of experts in ADN manufacturing, nylon manufacturing, and electrochemical reactions within our mentors.