Company Background

Nanostellar develops advanced nanomaterial catalysts for an array of applications that include emissions control, energy efficiency, and the synthesis of chemicals and fuels. These solutions are developed using the Company's innovative and proprietary Rational Design Methodology. This methodology incorporates computational models, algorithms and subject matter expertise in nano-materials and advanced synthetic chemistry (1a). 

The company has commercialized its first product in diesel vehicle emissions control and is in the pre-commercial testing phase with its second emissions control product. Its pipeline includes catalysts for non-automotive applications such as hydrogen peroxide production, synthesis gas (syngas) reformation and waste-heat recovery systems. These solutions satisfy essential market needs such as complying with emissions control standards at lower cost, reducing harmful by-products of industrial processes, cost-effectively generating alternative fuels, and increasing energy efficiency for heating and cooling (1a).

The company is located in Silicon Valley, California, and is funded by venture capital and other private investors. It was founded in 2004 by scientists from Stanford University and NASA Ames Research Center (1a).

Strategic Partnerships

Nanostellar and World Gold Council (WGC), the organisation responsible for driving global demand for gold, have agreed to a long-term strategic partnership to enable the introduction of gold into the auto catalyst market. Under the terms of the agreement, World Gold Council has invested in Nanostellar Inc. in order to facilitate the commercialization and marketing of the gold based technology that could increase industrial demand for gold (3).

Innovation and Technology

Nanostellar's core Rational Design Methodology (RDM) technology unites three disciplines - computational nano-science, advanced synthetic chemistry and characterization. This enables Nanostellar to gain a fundamental understanding of the surface chemistry and properties of nano-materials. This insight enables the Company to develop advanced catalysts on a recurrent, cost-effective basis. Relative to catalysts developed using traditional laboratory based research methods, the Company's catalysts have been developed with superior performance, significantly shorter development time, and substantially lower development cost. The company's intellectual property covers materials, manufacturing methods and coating processes. Its intellectual property assets are protected worldwide with 21 issued and 37 pending patents (1c).

Nanostellar had a paper based on its Noxicat™ catalyst published in the August 2012 issue of Science.  Noxicat™ has already received considerable interest from manufacturers of light-duty and heavy-duty diesel engines for its ability to help engine manufacturers reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions while dramatically reducing the cost of doing so.  In addition to significantly reducing the costs of emissions control systems, Noxicat™ has numerous performance benefits over the incumbent platinum based catalysts; Noxicat™ enables higher fuel efficiency by allowing engine designers to reduce the frequency of filter regeneration events and allows for redesign of the emissions control system for further optimization (2).

Nanostellar's success in outpacing other emissions control technologies is due, in part, to its success in pioneering the application of Rational Design to the development of automotive catalysts. While the traditional materials development process is driven by an empirical approach that involves a significant amount of time-consuming lab work, Nanostellar's Rational Catalyst Design methodology uses quantum physics-based models to develop a fundamental understanding of chemical reactions and material properties and incorporates this knowledge in the design of new materials. By substituting fast and inexpensive computational cycles for time-consuming lab work, Rational Catalyst Design enables the design of better-targeted materials and cuts months or even years off the catalyst development process (4).

Nanostellar succeeded in diesel emissions reduction by pioneering the use of gold as a catalyst.  In engine testing, the new NS Gold(TM) catalyst demonstrated a 20-percent reduction in emissions over Nanostellar's first-generation products (4).


  • Diesel Emissions Catalysts (Euro 5 Catalysts, Euro 6 Catalysts)
  • Syngas catalysts for converting coal or biomass into liquid fuels
  • Catalysts for capturing waste heat for vehicular air conditioning and other energy efficiency applications
  • Catalysts for on-site synthesis of hydrogen peroxide (1b).

For more information, see the Nanostellar location page.


  1. Nanostellar, Inc. (2012). Retrieved on November 8, 2012
    1. “About Us” from
    2. “Overview” from
    3. “Technology Overview” from
  2. PR Newswire (2012, August 18). “Nanostellar's Mixed-Phase NO Oxidation Catalyst (Noxicat™) Continues to Gain Recognition Among Customers and Scientific Community.” Retrieved on November 8, 2012 from
  3. AZoNano (2007, December 11).  “Nanostellar and WGC Join Forces to Bring Gold Automotive Catalysts to Market.” Retrieved on November 8, 2012 from
  4. AZoNano (2007, October 26).  “Nanostellar Shaves Nanomaterials Development Time and Brings Product to Market Faster Than Ever Before.” Retrieved on November 8, 2012 from