San Francisco start-up Siluria Technologies has secured funding to commercialize its process to transform natural gas into chemicals and materials for large-scale production – with far less an environmental impact than oil. The funding will be used to target the market for ethylene, the world’s largest commodity chemical. Venture capital investors including Alloy Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Altitude Life Sciences Ventures, Lux Capital, and Sumitomo Corporation are financing Siluria’s “Series A” funding.
Siluria was established on MIT material science research that sought to create a commercially viable catalyst for inducing natural gas into petrochemicals, said Siluria CEO Dr. Alex Tkachenko. Continued investment into the research led to the creation of a synthetic technology that grows metals and metal oxide crystals on a biological template, he explained. Prior to this, no one ever came up with a commercially viable catalyst to transform natural gas into larger molecules of carbon that can be used to produce chemicals, Tkachenko claimed. The coupling reaction (a process called methane activation) produces energy that can be reused elsewhere in a plant, he added.