Once again, Binghamton University and private industry are teaming up to bring research conducted on campus to the commercial market.
Binghamton University, together with joint intellectual property owner Crysta-Lyn Chemical Company, of Binghamton, opted to license a novel platform technology to startup ChromaNanoTech for further development and introduction to the marketplace. ChromaNanoTech is designing pigments that can be tuned in a polymer hardcoat film and applied to glass, to keep out the heat out, while still allowing the visible light to shine through.
“This is an example of a mutually beneficial, three-way relationship between an entrepreneurial spin-out, an established company and the University that can lead to the growth of competitive, high-tech ventures in our region,” said Per Stromhaug, assistant vice president for innovation and economic development at Binghamton University.
Crysta-Lyn chemists, also Binghamton University alumni, collaborated with Binghamton University scientists Wayne Jones, chemistry professor and department chair; Bill Bernier, a chemistry research professor with industry experience; and recently-minted PhD Ken Skorenko under the auspices of a NYS-funded Strategic Partnership in Industrial Resurgence (SPIR) project to invent the underlying, patent-pending materials technology.
“This is a great example of university expertise and resources helping a New York state company solve a problem. The real excitement is that this partnership has led to new discoveries and technology that will provide new jobs in the region,” said Jones, who originated the relationship with strategic partner Crysta-Lyn.
Core dyes supplied by Crysta-Lyn were critical for the inventive process in creating the new window-treatment coating resins. Skorenko, then a PhD student in Jones’ lab, has been able to parlay his academic success into a founding position in the new, entrepreneurial company.
“This has been a great opportunity for someone coming out of graduate school,” said Skorenko. “I have a chance to create my own job based off the work I did for my thesis.”
The chemistry breakthrough by the inventor group enables the creation of a materials system that is both more functional and less expensive to produce compared to window coatings commercially available today. An emerging use showing great promise is for window treatments that block infrared light in passive solar mode.
ChromaNanoTech’s business strategy is based initially on working with partners in the supply chain to introduce affordable and superior passive solar window treatments (and the reduced air conditioning costs that come with them) into the residential home and office sectors. The company is currently ramping up manufacturing and qualifying its product for fenestration applications.
As company co-founder and CEO Bill Bernier pointed out, “This is just the beginning of business opportunities ChromaNanoTech has identified for the technology. The company is looking to build on its momentum with passive solar and establish a base for a new manufacturing company in the Binghamton area.”
Binghamton University is a public research University Center in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The University includes six schools and offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs in over 130 areas of study. The University’s 619-acre campus is located in Vestal, NY.
ChromaNanoTech is a spin-out from Binghamton University, launched in 2014 after undergoing rigorous training as part of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)-supported NEXUS-NY program. As the name suggests, ChromaNanoTech uses nanomaterials to design inexpensive, heat-resistant pigments for use in various optical and thermal shielding applications ranging from passive solar to optical filters for displays. ChromaNanoTech is negotiating space to join the incubator client community emerging at Binghamton University’s Innovative Technologies Complex.
Crysta-Lyn, established in 1992, supplies many different types of custom dyes. Their Binghamton plant custom-manufactures a selection of more than 900 proprietary dyes for many industrial, medical and media processes.