A Richland-based company is developing technology with "world-changing implications," and a Tri-Cities native is at the helm.
Todd Brix is co-founder and chief executive officer of OCOchem, a carbon conversion startup with a lab in Energy Northwest's Applied Process Engineering Laboratory.
A former Microsoft general manager and partner, Brix grew up in Kennewick, attending Kennewick High School before going onto earn a chemical engineering degree from the University of Washington and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
His company is developing technology that converts carbon dioxide into value-added chemicals, such as formic acid and formates.
Those chemicals are used in all sorts of products, from deicing airplanes to preserving alfalfa and hay.
While they're conventionally made using fossil fuel-based hydrocarbons, OCOchem's technology – which uses CO2, electricity and water – means that no longer has to be the case.
"Industry, energy and agricultural producers can purchase formic and formates made using OCOchem’s technology to reduce the carbon intensity of everyday products from feed and fibers to fuels and fertilizers — at the same or lower cost as similar products made from petrochemicals," a company statement said.
And, Brix added in an interview, "one of the big applications we're looking at right now is using formic acid as a way of transporting and storing green hydrogen, because you can decompose or break down formic acid to yield green hydrogen. We think that will have world-changing implications."
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