Archives from day » 03, January 2012

How Virent Is Using Plants To Replace Oil

Fast Company interviewed Mary Tilton, VP of plant operations at Virent, a Wisconsin CAPCO program company.

Fast Company: How did the company get started?

Mary Tilton: The technology was first developed at the University of Wisconsin in Madison by our founder, Randy Cortright. Originally, we focused on hydrogen generation, and the company was founded to commercialize that technology. Sometime around 2005 we realized the catalytic processes we were using could be tailored to make hydrocarbon fuels. So our focus shifted and became looking into using sugars to make gasoline. That’s what we really concentrated on in 2008 when we embarked on the scale-up and decided to go to 10,000 gallons a year. We found we were very successful at taking standard sugar and converting it to gasoline. We demonstrated scalability in 2009, which was an important milestone.
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