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“All you have to do is put the glycerol in a huge pot, heat it up, add the molecule, and voila, the magic happens.”


Every year, the production of biofuels creates more than 4.2-million metric tons of glycerol, a fairly useless byproduct that largely goes to waste. But, thanks to a new molecular machine developed by USC Viterbi Startup Garage entrepreneurs Travis Williams and Zhiyao Lu, glycerol is getting an image makeover. Williams’ and Lu’s chemical startup, Catapower, is converting glycerol into sodium lactate, a valuable compound used in preservatives, soaps, moisturizers, and a variety of other products. Click the link below to learn more about how the USC Wrigley Sustainability Prize, the Viterbi Startup Garage, and Innovation Node-Los Angeles helped catapult Catapower into negotiations with major biofuel companies.


Turning Glycerol To Gold

Michael Cox

Michael was born and raised in a small island town off the coast of Seattle. He went to USC, but he’s still a Pacfic Northwesterner at heart—he loves hiking, reading, and watching the Seattle sports teams disappoint him. At Viterbi, Michael counsels high school and transfer students in the application process.

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