Unveiling AddCat: Advancing 3D Printing and Catalysis for Cleaner Air

AddCat's journey is intrinsically linked with metal 3D printing

  • AddCat develops a complete plug-and-play system that completely degrades harmful and smelly volatile organic compounds
  • Addcat - unlike traditional catalytic techniques with ceramics - uses 3D printing to manufacture their reactors in metal
  • The 3DoP project provides a platform for AddCat to realize its vision
Work package 2 partner

In the world of innovation and technology, the 3DoP (3D Printing optimised Production) project stands as a beacon of progress in Additive Manufacturing, seeking to address bottlenecks across various sectors through ingenious investment projects. Part of this groundbreaking initiative is AddCat, a company with a vision as innovative as the project itself. In an exclusive interview with Gerald Van Santen, CEO of AddCat, we delve into the origins, ambitions, and unique role of this pioneering company within the 3DoP project.

The Genesis of AddCat

AddCat was born in late December 2019, a brainchild of visionary minds including Marc Evers, Jacco Hoekstra, and John Geus. Marc Evers played a pivotal role in its inception. He expressed a deep-seated desire to create an incubator-like environment that fosters innovation alongside traditional manufacturing; the TBRM-group was founded. This visionary approach aimed to nurture startups in a technologically advanced setting where they can quickly iterate with developments within the companies, with Marc himself as a co-owner and a financial contributor. And even beyond that, also providing in invaluable resources such as materials, machinery, and services to help startups evolve into mature, successful companies.

A Fusion of Expertise

AddCat’s journey intertwined with the innovative technologies rooted in John Geus’s and Marc Ever’s patents from as early as 2010. John Geus, a professor emeritus at the University of Utrecht with profound knowledge of heterogeneous catalysis, together with Marc, laid the foundation for what would become the cornerstone of AddCat’s innovation. At that time, Marc was well aware of the state of the art in 3D metal printing. Their focus converged on the fusion of 3D printing and catalysts, a groundbreaking combination. Jacco Hoekstra, working alongside John both as a PhD student and postdoc at the University of Utrecht, contributed significantly to this innovative endeavour. Gerald, in his role as a project manager already involved in the early days of the project, officially kicked off AddCat in late 2019.

The Ideal Customers

AddCat develops a complete plug-and-play system that completely degrades harmful and smelly volatile organic compounds. The technology developed makes it possible to convert odour into odourless and harmless substances extremely effectively. That way, Addcat helps companies minimise emissions, comply with national and international laws, and minimise their impact on the social and ecological environment. It gives companies the ‘licence-to-operate’ to continue to improve their business and make it more sustainable.

What makes AddCat’s journey remarkable is the versatility of its catalyst technology, applicable to a wide range of industries. AddCat’s ideal customers are entities engaged in manufacturing processes with volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. Whether it’s the production of biodiesel or the aroma-laden air of potato processing, in biogas plants, or manure processing, where gas emissions require treatment before release, AddCat’s innovative solution has far-reaching potential.

Challenges and Competition

AddCat faces competition in the field of air purification, where various technologies, such as activated carbon filters, vie for supremacy. Catalysts have been around for over 50 years, but AddCat seeks to enhance catalytic processes, making them more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. By using electric heaters instead of gas, AddCat’s approach aligns with sustainability goals by reducing CO2 emissions.

The 3DoP Project Connection: 3D Printing Mindset and Revolution

Since Addcat – unlike traditional catalytic techniques with ceramics – uses 3D printing to manufacture their reactors in metal, AddCat’s journey is intrinsically linked with metal 3D printing. While the 3D printing industry has a reputation for pushing technological boundaries, AddCat’s journey is quite unique. Unlike many companies that look to incorporate 3D printing into existing processes, AddCat began with the technology already as an integral part of its innovation.

In many cases, 3D printing is about producing lighter components with the same functionality. The technology offers the advantage of creating shapes that are otherwise difficult or impossible to manufacture through traditional means. People unfortunately still too often think that 3D printing is far too expensive, but only realise later on that it also offers technical advantages to their process. For this reason, Addcat wants to be able to market a product where it is not the 3D printing costs that are the most decisive factor. The 3DoP project presents AddCat with an opportunity to lower the costs associated with 3D printing. It thereby aligns perfectly with the company’s future objectives. 

Within work package two of the 3DoP project, Addcat is involved in the component around mass production, where the consortium partners are looking at the process and mass product optimisation for 3D metal printing production of intricate structures. More precisely, Addcat will actively operate within the development of an air purification innovation via 3D metal printed catalytic reactors and business case building with cost comparisons. To be able to do so, Gerald Van Santen emphasizes the value of collaboration within the project. Sharing innovative ideas across borders and cultures enriches the project and fosters a collaborative spirit.

A Bright Future Ahead

AddCat’s ambitions are grand, with plans to make its first product available on the market in 2023. The company also seeks additional investments to further its growth and development. Sales targets within the 3DoP project are a stepping stone toward achieving these goals.

As the interview with Gerald Van Santen draws to a close, it’s evident that AddCat’s journey is marked by innovation, collaboration, and a relentless pursuit of cleaner, more efficient air purification solutions. AddCat’s dedication to improving catalysis processes and 3D printing techniques showcases its commitment to creating a brighter, more environmentally friendly future. With groundbreaking innovations and ambitious sales targets on the horizon, AddCat is poised to revolutionise the world of air purification and 3D printing.

The 3DoP project provides a platform for AddCat to realize its vision, and with the support of its consortium partners, the company is set to make a lasting impact on industries across the globe. AddCat’s journey is not only a testament to technological innovation but also to the power of collaboration in driving positive change.

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