Thursday, August 9, 2012

GM invests in INL spinoff company, NanoSteel

Earlier this summer we wrote about NanoSteel, a company with its roots in the Idaho National Laboratory and its research and development office in Idaho Falls. NanoSteel has developed an alloy that can be used in the fabrication of lightweight steel, critical to automakers in achieving higher fuel efficiencies and meeting rigorous new U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

This week, General Motors Ventures LLC announced it has invested in NanoSteel. The company joined lead shareholders EnerTech Capital and Fairhaven Capital Partners and five existing investors to complete the Series C financing round. Terms of the GM Ventures investment were not disclosed.

"Over the next several years, light-weighting of vehicles will be a major focus area to improve fuel economy," said Jon Lauckner, GM's chief technology officer, vice president of Global R&D and president of GM Ventures. "NanoSteel's nano-structured alloys offer unique material characteristics that are not available today, making them a potential game-changer."

Through the development of patented alloys, NanoSteel has created a new class of steel that allows automotive engineers and designers to reduce weight through the use of thinner, higher strength gauges while maintaining the structural integrity needed for safety. NanoSteel's new steel design is an alternative to other light-weighting materials which may cost more, require new investment in parts production and have performance limitations.

"GM Ventures investment in NanoSteel demonstrates its confidence in our company's potential to achieve widespread impact on the auto industry through our proprietary steel designs," said Dave Paratore, president and CEO of NanoSteel.

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