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Natural Resources Canada Business Opportunity

This deadline for this competitive licensing opportunity is past and NRCan is no longer accepting expressions of interest.

Catalytic Technology for Control of Methane Slip from Lean Burn Natural Gas Engines

The Business Opportunity

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is seeking expressions of interest from firms who wish to enter into a commercial licensing arrangement to bring to market our “Methane Oxidation Catalyst and Method of Using Same”. The ideal licensee would be a Canadian distributor for this technology and would have the capacity for commissioning, manufacture, marketing, and sales. The ideal licensee would be primarily engaged in manufacturing engine parts and systems, such as catalytic converters and engine exhaust control systems, for the on-road vehicle, off-road vehicle and stationary power sectors. This technology has applications to the automotive industry and other sectors covered by regulations that control methane emissions.

Brief Technology Description

NRCan has filed international patent applications in Canada, US, Germany, India and Sweden, for a robust methane oxidation catalyst that reduces unburned methane contained in exhaust streams (methane slip) from lean burn natural gas vehicles/engines. The catalyst resembles those used in conventional catalytic converters and has been assembled in a simple prototype catalytic converter for on-engine testing. The NRCan catalyst uses a support of alumina doped with lanthanum, loaded with platinum and palladium as active phases. This catalyzes the oxidation of methane to carbon dioxide and water using excess oxygen in the exhaust stream. The Swedish patent has been accepted and the others are still in process.

Reference Material

Patents: PCT/CA2016/051209 and US prov. 62/909,824 (not published yet)

Appendix A: Technology Background and Details

Appendix B: Business Plan Required Format

Expression of Interest

Companies interested in commercializing the NRCan technology must submit a letter of interest to NRCan on or before January 24, 2020. Preference will be given to Canadian companies, but US and foreign companies will also be considered, provided that such foreign companies demonstrate a benefit to Canada.

NRCan will invite qualified companies to attend both an information webinar and a possible site visit to the CanmetENERGY laboratory in Ottawa, Ontario. Participation in these information sessions will be subject to signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Following the webinar and site visit, companies may submit questions and requests for clarifications. NRCan’s responses to questions and requests for clarifications will be issued to all qualified companies alike.

Companies interested in becoming NRCan’s licensee will then be required to submit a business plan for NRCan’s consideration. Business plans must address all of the elements outlined in Appendix B: Business Plan Required Format, and must be submitted to the contact below.


Rebecca Bednarek, Intellectual Property Officer
Intellectual Property Division
580 Booth Street, 13th Floor, Ottawa, ON K1A 0E4
Tel: 343- 292-7006

Appendix A: Technology Background and Details


Natural gas has received increased interest as a fuel for the transportation sector since it is abundant and inexpensive. Lean burn natural gas engines are similar in performance to diesel engines and can be used in a wide variety of transportation applications such as light and medium duty vehicles, power generators, vocational and long haul trucks, and ships. Natural gas engines offer a cleaner alternative than diesel and gasoline engines, producing approximately 20 to 25% less greenhouse gases (GHG) on a life-cycle basis due to the low carbon content of methane. However, lean burn natural gas engines suffer from high levels of unburned methane in the exhaust. Because methane is a potent GHG (86 times GHG impact compared to CO2 over a 20 year period), unburned methane in natural gas vehicle exhaust can negate its GHG benefit. Methane in the exhaust at such dilute concentrations does not combust on its own. While it is possible to calibrate lean burn engine combustion to meet a methane emissions target, this comes at the expense of adversely impacting engine efficiency and other regulated emissions (e.g., NOx).

Description of the Catalytic Converter Technology

In order to solve the methane slip problem, CanmetENERGY is offering a method for reducing unburned methane in a gas stream resulting from methane combustion in a lean burn natural gas engine. The exhaust stream contains sulfur and water, known inhibitors for conventional methane oxidation catalysts. To overcome this limitation, CanmetENERGY has developed a robust catalyst system that is not inhibited. The manufacture of the catalyst system begins with a conventional monolith-type catalytic converter core, which is then coated with the methane oxidation catalyst. The catalyst itself is composed of platinum and palladium as the active phases on a support of alumina doped with lanthanum. This catalyst causes unburnt methane (the methane slip) in the lean burn engine exhaust to oxidize using excess oxygen, to make carbon dioxide and water, thereby reducing the level of methane.

As an example of the robust performance, the catalyst was tested with synthetic lean burn natural gas engine exhaust that contained 10% water and 10 ppm sulfur for 500 hours at 500 C, conditions which accelerate aging effects. After this period, the catalyst retained its initial activity. It has also been assembled and tested as a prototype catalytic converter installed on a lean burn natural gas engine. The catalyst is now ready for detailed on-engine testing in anticipation of design and commissioning for manufacture. NRCan intends to provide technical support for the subsequent phases of testing.

Appendix B: Business Plan Required Format

Companies are encouraged to submit concise and clear evidence under the following headings:

Executive Summary

Section 1: Company Information

  • General overview and company summary
    • Organizational maturity
    • Experience /success in the industry
    • Technical capability
    • Marketing capacity
  • Corporate objectives
    • Short-term objectives
    • Long-term objectives

Section 2: Key Personnel and Networks

  • Provide company organization chart identifying key members and foreseen roles
  • Provide resumes of personnel key to this project including credentials and relevant experience

Section 3: Knowledge and Experience

  • Previous experience on similar projects
  • Experience testing catalytic converters
  • Experience conducting business in emissions control catalysts
  • Knowledge of the regulatory structure for emissions
  • Provide evidence of Quality Managed System
  • Provide three customer references. Please note that NRCan may seek additional references from potential end-users.

Section 4: Financial Stability

Each company authorises NRCAN to make credit enquiries about it and any of its affiliates and to receive and exchange credit information from credit reporting agencies or other persons with which the company or any of its affiliates has or may expect to have financial dealings. Each company must provide NRCAN with the company’s (and, on request by NRCAN, any of the company’s affiliates) audited financial statements for the last three financial years for which they are available and financial statements for any period after the last audited period.

Section 5: Market, Customer, and Competition Analysis

  • Market opportunity, size and trends
  • Key customer bases
  • Key competitors

Section 6: Market, Customer, and Competition Analysis

  • Product description
  • Distribution channel(s)
  • Target markets (i.e. Canada, USA, worldwide) and sales strategy

Section 7: Company Financial Information

  • Five-year cash flow forecast
  • Capital cost estimates
  • Operating budgets
  • Manufacturing costs for NRCan’s technology
  • Proposed sale price for product (s) incorporating NRCan’s technology
  • Proposed profit margin targets for sales of product(s) incorporating NRCan’s technology
  • Proposed royalty structure for product (s) incorporating NRCan’s technology
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