Starting Up: Company started at UW-Madison hopes to make paint production greener

Faux leather, latex paints, adhesives, no-chip nail polish — all of these and more are made with a key ingredient that’s made from petroleum and comes at a high price point, but a Madison-based startup says it can make the same chemical out of corn and wood chips.

Kevin Barnett, CEO of Pyran, said his company’s process for creating 1,5-pentanediol (1,5-PDO), which is used in a multitude of paints and coatings, out of plant materials is not just more environmentally friendly than the current petroleum-based method; it’s also cheaper.

Barnett discovered the plant-based method while working on his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at UW-Madison in professor George Huber’s lab. Huber and his team had a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to focus on more sustainable production of everyday chemicals that are typically made from petroleum.

Read the full article at: