Evonik announced today that it acquired a minority stake in Nanotech Industrial Solutions, placing a bet that nanotechnology will become an important tool in the lubricant additive toolbox.
The companies did not disclose the amount of Evonik Industries investment or the size of its share in NIS, but Evonik officials said they believe NISs technology can help Evonik provide additives that will be valuable to lubricant marketers.
Evonik believes that the investment offers the chance to fulfill even more demanding customer requirements, said Ralf Dussel, head of Evoniks Oil Additives Business Line. Whats more, access to the technology of NIS opens up further development opportunities for our current products as well as new products in our existing and also future markets.
Nanotechnology is a field of science that seeks to employ or manipulate materials on an atomic or molecular scale. It generally works with materials that have at least one dimension between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is 0.000000001 meter or one billionth of a meter. Researchers have looked for ways to use nanomaterials in a variety of industries, from semiconductors to surface engineering and medicine.
NIS is based in Avenel, N.J., and was founded in 2012 to commercialize NanoLube, described by NIS as multi-layered spheres and tubes of tungsten disulfide. The company says they have low toxicity and high shock absorbing properties that can be used to make super-performing lubricants, coatings and polymer composites.
NIS does not disclose information about sales volumes or revenues. Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing Todd Cawley said today the company has distributors in more than 25 countries, most of whom it has contracted in the past year.
Cawley said the funding from Evonik will be invested in sales, marketing and research.
Todays announcement marks a key milestone in NIS journey to take cutting edge nanotechnology into the lubricant industry, NIS President and CEO Eugene Kverel said in a press release. Working together, we and Evonik can take to market transformational products in the lubricant additives industry and beyond.
Evonik is an Essen, Germany-based specialty chemical supplier with 33,500 employees and annual revenues of 13.5 billion (U.S. $14.4 billion). Its Oil Additive Business Line is among the worlds largest lubricant additive suppliers, in a small group below the industrys big four additive package suppliers – Lubrizol, Infineum, Afton Chemical and Chevron Oronite. Evoniks lube additive business, formerly named Roh-Max, was built around the supply of viscosity modifiers based on polymethacrylates. But management has stated its intention to broaden the types of lube additives that it offers.
The funds for Evoniks stake came from its venture capital arm, which has been given 100 million to invest in promising start-ups. Officials said they consider NIS to be one of those.
By investing in this company, Evonik gains access to inventions in a unique particle technology in lubricants, said Lutz Stoeber, head of venture capital activities in North America.