New Uses for Nanoporous Nickel Aluminum Powders

$15,000 USD
Challenge under evaluation

Challenge overview


Johnson Matthey, the Seeker for this Challenge, manufactures nickel-aluminum (Ni-Al) material via a cast and crush method. This produces high surface area nanoporous nickel (Ni) sponge particles after removal of the aluminum (Al) by leaching. Primarily used as a hydrogenation catalyst, Johnson Matthey is seeking new and innovative uses for this material.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.



Nanoporous particles exhibit a tremendous amount of surface area for a small amount of material and are quite useful for surface-dependent processes such as heterogenous catalysis. Johnson Matthey, the Seeker for this Challenge, produces nanoporous nickel (Ni) sponge particles through a cast and crush method utilizing a nickel-aluminum compound and subsequent removal of the aluminum (Al) through leaching. The particles are formed by milling larger blocks of material which produces particles that are jagged in shape and on the order of tens of microns in size but can be produced in a wide variety of sizes through the milling process. Typical pore diameter is 5.0-6.5 nanometer and surface area is 70-85 m2/gram. Johnson Matthey also has the ability to dope the material with elements such as palladium, chromium, and molybdenum as well as potentially with other metals and non-metals. This material is primarily used as a hydrogenation catalyst but could potentially be used in many different ways. Johnson Matthey is seeking new and innovative uses for this material. They would like information on potential market size for new uses as well as technical details of how to utilize the material in new applications.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $15,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,500.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on 28-Nov-2022.
Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s).All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided .



Our vision is for a world that’s cleaner and healthier; today and for future generations. As a global leader in sustainable technologies, we apply our cutting edge science, creating solutions with our customers that make a real difference to the world around us. We have annual sales of over £4.2 billion and an annual operating profit of over £539 million with a gross R&D spend of £190m.


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What is a Wazoku Crowd Ideation™ Challenge?

A Wazoku Crowd Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

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