Engineer Randy Cortright, who spoke at Sustain Dane’s Badger Bioneers Conference, explained how he and his team at Virent Energy Systems are finding ways to replace crude oil with renewable biomass to produce plastics and fuels. As he travels statewide and hears about the aging farming population, he asks, “How do you incentivize younger people to get back to the land, while also making a buck? We want to develop an enabling technology that will let land owners maximize the value they can get off their land while also generating for the market products that people are already used to using.”
Years ago Virent Energy got its start thanks to the business incubator created by another CSW group, Common Wealth Development. Today Virent, still headquartered in Madison, has 130 employees.