Manufacturing Heading into Better Times

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“The manufacturing sector comprises establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products”.1 From the early days of simplistic tooling to the mechanization approach for textile mills in Britain followed by Henry Ford’s assembly line, manufacturing practices continue to evolve, impacting every aspect of our lives. Advanced manufacturing systems are not only needed to support job creation but also to meet the needs of a growing population. By 2040, it is estimated that there will be around 9 billion people requiring the basic necessities of life! Pangaea Ventures’ focus on advanced materials provides a unique view on emerging manufacturing technologies. We like to see advantaged features, such as, sustainability, low cost, robustness, energy efficiency and scalability.

Natural gas and natural gas liquids represent advantaged feedstocks for a wide range of high value chemicals and fuels. The growing natural gas abundance coupled with low pricing has spurred companies to take a fresh look at gas to liquid conversion technologies. The timing is just right for a radical change. With a game changing approach in mind, Pangaea completed an investment in Calysta Energy, a company innovating the next generation of GTL technology based on disruptive bioconversion.

The Promise of Biochar

Posted by on in Sustainability

Charcoal: The word (for me at least) elicits thoughts of barbeque briquettes or perhaps the favored fuel source for a traditional blacksmith’s forge. It has been in use for thousands of years across the globe and isn’t typically thought of as a particularly “advanced material”. Compared to its allotropic carbon brethren (e.g. nanotubes, graphene, carbyne, activated and nanoporous carbons), charcoal has been the persona non grata. But perhaps we’re about to witness a change from low-value carbon residue to soil amendment and carbon sequestration extraordinaire – the proverbial ugly duckling story, if you will.

Lightweight advanced materials are all around us. These materials have low densities and include carbon fibers, glass fibers, metals, alloys and intermetallics, polymers, ceramics, nanocarbon and other nanomaterials, aerogels, bio-based fibers, composites of polymers, metals and ceramics, and structural materials. The materials can be fabricated in various structural forms, such as, open-cell and closed-cell foams, honeycombs and porous scaffolds for lightweighting benefits. Nature, as usual, is always ahead and deploys lightweight cork, balsa, sponge and bone. Pangaea Ventures monitors the technology innovation stream closely and have portfolio companies whose products benefit lightweighting applications. Some of our Strategic Limited Partners actively participate in the lightweight materials markets with leading edge products.

Move over spider silk – there’s a new fiber in town!

Is it possible that the latest ‘wonder material’ has been under our noses the whole time? Could it really be derived from the most abundant organic polymer on earth, requiring only sunlight and water as production inputs? It sure seems that way. To paraphrase a friend of mine (out of context): Mother Nature has been innovating for billions of years and probably has it figured out.