Tapping into the potential of nanopowders, French industrial gas group, Air Liquide, has entered into a long-term agreement with Nanomakers.

Nanomakers, a French company specialising in the production of high grade silicon carbide nanopowders, has struck-up a supply deal in which it will receive silane, hydrogen, acetylene, argon and equipment courtesy of Air Liquide. The supplies will fuel Nanomakers’ first industrial facility and is scheduled to commence production in late 2011, in Rambouillet, France.

Augustin de Roubin, Vice President for Southern and Eastern Europe and a member of the Executive Committee of Air Liquide, said: “We are delighted to support Nanomakers, an innovative company, in its development, particularly as it begins the process of manufacturing nanopowders in France. High technologies are a growth driver for the Group”.

Nanomakers enjoys a strong presence in both French and Japanese markets, where it produces nanopowders used in industry to strengthen the mechanical and thermal resistance materials properties. The firm enjoys a partnership with the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA) – French Atomic Energy Commission.

François Ténégal, CEO of Nanomakers, commented: “The reliability of the gases supply chain, the technical expertise of teams and their competency in an area where the safety issues are significant are all factors that contributed to our decision to choose Air Liquide. Today, our business is experiencing strong growth, in terms of both personnel and the conquest of new markets. This partnership will contribute to our own development.”

The technology
Gases such as silane, hydrogen and acetylene are injected with other raw materials into a reactor that is confined and protected by an argon atmosphere. A CO2 laser generates a steady stream of pyrolysis, which produces ultra-homogenous and ultra-pure silicon powders.