Houston’s C-Voltaics Takes Nanotech From Solar Power to Stain Protection
If a Houston-based startup has its way, more red-wine drinkers of the world could dare to wear white.
The young company, C-Voltaics, has come up with a chemical solution that it says will stain-proof wood, carpets, and even your best white clothing from water, coffee, red wine, or other damaging substances.
C-Voltaics’ product is called SCHN, or Self-Cleaning Hydrophobic Nanocoating. In addition to repelling stains, the company says its formulation won’t make clothing feel waxy, starchy, or hard to the touch, which can happen with other such products. “You don’t really care about stain resistance if it’s uncomfortable to wear,” says Seamus “Shay” Curran, C-Voltaics’ founder and CEO.
Curran says the startup began a number of pilot programs this month with major manufacturers of carpets, glass, and tarps, which could lead to contracts. “They’re going to be trying out different options of applying the material,” he says. “We plan to sell to these large-scale manufacturers, and they’ll see it as an add-on to their product.”
The startup is looking for a firm toehold in a $1 billion market to protect carpets, curtains, wooden decks, clothing, and masonry. Businesses like hotels are a potential customer, Curran says. “Think of the shower curtain,” he says. “All that mold and soap scum that builds up. This would prevent that. Hotels wouldn’t have to replace them as often.”
Helping C-Voltaics’ prospects is the fact that many of the current solutions used today are composed of surfactant fluorocarbons, which can be ingested and retained in the human body for as many as four years. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned these chemicals as of 2015, forcing manufacturers to stop making their products or to find alternative formulas. (Curran says … Next Page »