The materials industry is integrating new technologies that could accelerate the carbon removal space. Xinterra is a startup founded in 2021 that is a provider of materials research and development services and also unlocks innovation toward accelerating and increasing the efficiency of materials.
Those materials that the company produces are applicable in the net zero economy as they are essential for sustainable products and applications.
Xinterra creates a new generation of materials for direct air capture and could make textiles, paints and coatings that absorb CO2 from the air. Xinterra’s platform called Xinterra Design Factory™ can also evaluate materials for hydrogen separation and storage.
We interviewed Patrick Teyssonneyre, CEO & Co-Founder of Xinterra that gave us more insights about the company’s products, technology, and stage of development.
What is Xinterra?
Xinterra is a company headquartered in Singapore that accelerates by 10x the development and applications of new materials, utilizing our proprietary platform XDF (Xinterra Design Factory™). XDF uniquely combines Artificial Intelligence systems, High Throughput Experimentation tools developed in-house, and deep materials science expertise.
Our founding team is composed of world-class materials engineers with a combined 90 years of experience making new materials in solar energy, thermoelectric, green chemistry, biopolymers, and nanomaterials.
In terms of business model, we provide service to companies who want to accelerate their materials R&D processes, and we are also using XDF to develop a materials IP portfolio to license to other companies in the near future, starting with CO2 capture materials.
What are the CO2 capture materials that you are developing?
Our main differential is the fact that we design, prototype and fabricate our high throughput experimentation (HTE) tools and proxy measurements in-house, rapidly with low Capex and Opex. Central to this HTE platform are our environmental chambers capable of measuring the CO2 absorption performance of a range of materials and form factors, including our initial effort in commercially available solids/powders such as zeolites, amine polymers, alkalis and minerals.
Our experimental throughput has evolved from the ability to conduct one measurement a day (matching the state-of-the-art), to our present throughput of 50 measurements in a day, in the span of 3 months. Moreover, our systems boast a precision of 95%, which is a significant advance over the poor reproducibility of measurements we see in literature.
On our rigs, we are able to vary numerous parameters such as airflow, air composition, and air pressure. We are also and are continuously adding new features and are presently developing temperature and humidity control as well as features to enable full automation so that we can push our throughput to an even higher number.
This entire effort is in service of generating the largest, most comprehensive, and most precise database on CO2 capture to date.
We have already built a dataset of 250 data points centered around materials for direct air capture, and have paired this with our machine learning algorithms to guide us on our data-gathering journey, and also in materials design, which could be rapidly realized through the high throughput formulation equipment we currently have. We aim to develop CO2 capture materials that are cost/effective, naturally available and abundant, can rapidly absorb atmospheric CO2, and can be efficiently regenerated.
How are they applicable to the carbon capture space?
The data that we obtain from our experimental platform tells us how much carbon dioxide a material absorbs and how quickly, given a particular environmental condition. This is critical information as it helps our systems select and pair the right material for the intended application.
This is presently guided by our machine learning systems, which approach a carbon capture application holistically by picking the right intrinsic properties (porosity, morphology, size) in addition to the chemical properties. One of our short-term goals is to develop a formulated product to enable carbon capture with paints and textiles, targeting the consumer industry so that consumers can activate the personal purpose of driving an impact on climate change.
Thinking beyond this application space, it is easy to now target varied industries both within DAC and also other spaces such as flue gas, particularly because of the speed at which we can expand our experimental rig. Paired with our trained machine learning algorithm, we see a high probability of repeating a similar success in the new target industries as well.
In what other sustainable industries do your materials find applications?
Our high throughput experimental rig could perform environmental testing of other gas separation technologies, particularly due to the modularity of our rig. Specific components, such as the sensors and fittings can be exchanged for different components quickly. One other potential use for our platform could be in evaluating materials for hydrogen separation and storage, targeting hydrogen fuel cells.
How is your technology transforming the cleantech sector?
Sustainability is our core value, and we have devoted our lives to creating materials for sustainable applications in our previous careers, the hard (traditional) way. We are now motivated to have a greater impact, using these effective approaches to realize a “new world of materials”.
Time is running out to solve one of the most critical problems humanity faces currently, which is climate change. We don’t believe that one single technology will be sufficient to solve this problem. All the technologies will be needed, not only to reduce emissions but also to capture the GHG already emitted.
Time is the most needed asset to solve this huge challenge. And time-saving is exactly what we proportionate, in the space of materials, through the use of our XDF platform.
How did you decide to get into this space?
There has been tremendous interest and relevant advances in CO2 capture, which we consider a relatively new industry, especially via direct air capture (DAC) in line with the growing need to mitigate the climate crisis. There have been numerous new startups, along with updated offerings from established companies.
However, we’ve observed that these advances are centered upon the development of engineered systems for DAC. We’ve seen much less activity in the development and optimization of the materials that are part of these systems, and even less in the materials that could be adopted in everyday products to passively capture CO2.
It is likely that this is due to the difficulty in innovating new, scalable and cost-effective materials for CO2 capture, and hence we see a tremendous opportunity to use our XDF platform (Xinterra Design Factory™) to innovate a new generation of materials for DAC. In addition to that, part of what we envision for this platform is to enable every human being walking on the surface of our planet to become a CO2 capture agent, therefore we want to help companies to develop carbon capture textiles and paints.
At what stage is Xinterra at the moment and what is the long-term vision?
We are an early-stage company, operational and generating revenue from services (non-related to CO2 capture) provided to several customers, globally, in the industries of paints & coatings, chemicals, polymers, and pulp & paper.
Our long-term vison is to become the “arm of new materials”. Arm is a company that generates billions of USD revenue without manufacturing anything, only licensing its technologies.
Because we adopt an accelerated materials R&D workflow, using this unique combination of Artificial Intelligence and High Throughput Experimentation tools developed in-house, over time we aim to create a massive portfolio of materials IP, focused on sustainability, to be licensed to companies that will scale-up, manufacture and commercialize them.
We are collecting real data at unprecedented speed, and we will be setting the standards in the nascent fields we are innovating in, starting with CO2 capture. We are not only re-designing and re-thinking the materials R&D process but starting a revolution in the materials value chain, positioning Xinterra as an “accelerated-materials-design house”.
How do you plan to scale your technology?
As discussed earlier, our platform can generate large volumes of data, and fast. We’ve already scaled our throughput from 1 sample a day to 50 samples a day in the span of 3 months. Moving forward, we are working towards complete automation of the system, which will not only increase our throughput, but also increase the types of measurements we can perform through greater variations in environmental conditions.
We’ve paired this extremely fast data collection platform with machine learning algorithms that work intelligently to correlate data to the material and the environment. The algorithms are able to collect the most important data in order to train themselves and are hence guiding our experimental design. With that, we intend to scale by exploiting the algorithm to design materials for any new application spaces as informed by customers, and also expand to other classes of materials.
Materials-wise, we are looking for early-stage partners, globally, to co-develop, scale-up, manufacture and commercialize the materials we will create. The priority industries are O&G, chemicals, textiles, paints & coatings, appliances and carbon capture start-ups.