Novomer is a chemical company seeking to replace crude oil as a source of carbon that is combined to make plastics and other industrial chemicals.
A company founded out of Cornell University research has received a major honor from the American Chemical Society.
The Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success will go to Novomer co-founders Scott Allen, Anthony R. Eisenhut and Geoffrey W. Coates. The trio will be honored at a ceremony in March in conjunction with the 251st American Chemical Society national meeting in San Diego.
Novomer’s overall business is based on replacing crude oil as a source of the carbon that’s combined with other substances to make plastics and industrial chemicals. Its key is a proprietary catalyst system that makes use of the carbon in carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in a reaction that takes place at much lower temperatures than in conventional methods.
The company was founded on technology developed at Cornell by Coates, who is a professor at the university. Allen was a graduate student who worked with Coates to further develop the technology; he is now the company’s vice president of catalyst development. Eisenhut, a Cornell graduate, was instrumental in getting funding for the company; he was the company’s first CEO and is now board chairman.
In October, Novomer’s new Converge polymer —that enables carbon dioxide to replace fossil fuels in high-performance plastics made its commercial debut in 2014 — was adopted by Jowat AG, a German supplier of industrial adhesives, for use in a commercial hot-melt adhesive. Converge can replace up to 50 percent of petroleum-based products used in the traditional manufacturing process, reducing its carbon footprint and lowering its cost while still maintaining high performance.
The Novomer co-founders were nominated for the American Chemical Society honor by Bruce Ganem, the Franz and Elisabeth Roessler Professor at Cornell University in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.
“I like to nominate people I think are doing great work. The award itself given by ACS recognizes something called entrepreneurial success to recognize a start-up company that has put together all the elements of a successful start-up,” Ganem said. “To win a national ACS (award) means that you have to be in the top of your achievements in what is being recognized. These are among the most distinguished awards.”
Year founded: 2004.
Local address: 950 Danby Road, Suite 198, Ithaca.
Company headquarters location: Waltham, Massachusettts.
Number employees locally: 16.
Number employees total: 40.
Owned by: Six venture capital investment firms: Physic Ventures, Flagship Ventures, OVP Venture Partners, DSM, KensaGroup, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures.