Driven to succeed: OARDC-industry partnership is creating new jobs

Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee liked what he saw at the Mansfield, Ohio, factory, which was turning a syrupy mix of crop and biodiesel wastes into polyurethane foam.

But he was more fascinated by the story of how the factory came to be, in which an Ohio startup transformed an OARDC scientist's idea into local jobs and a new green industry.

Gee and other officials toured Bio100 Technologies'manufacturing facility Oct. 3 to celebrate the success of a partnership in which university knowledge and entrepreneurship have discovered the right balance -- just like the formula that produced a chunk of bio-foam right in front of his eyes.

Bio100 Technologies' product, called a biopolyol, is the foundation for making soft and hard foam products such as home insulation, automobile seat cushions, and packaging materials.

"We are all about taking ideas from the lab and transforming them into jobs."—Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee

Developed and patented by OARDC biosystems engineer Yebo Li, this biopolyol is produced by mixing crude glycerin, which is a biodiesel byproduct, with crop residue.

'We will continue to grow with Ohio State'

"This is really a story about Ohio State," said Bio100 Technologies President Jim Cavicchioli. "In 2009, Jeff Schultheis, our company’s vice president and an Ohio State alumnus, took this biodiesel byproduct to the Ohio State Wooster campus and asked, 'What can we do with it?' Three years later, we have Ohio State people working with us in the lab. And we will continue to grow with Ohio State."

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-- Mauricio Espinoza, Communications and Technology