Investing in Tech That’s Worth the Wait

Innovations in fields like energy and transportation often take time—and extra support—to develop. The Engine at MIT is helping them make the leap from the lab to the marketplace.

Liquid separation wouldn’t top most people’s lists of world-changing technologies. But consider this: every day, US companies tease apart chemicals in billions of reactions to make food and beverages, drugs, and fuel. In fact, this process is so common in industrial settings that it uses as much energy as all US cars and trucks combined. “It represents 12 percent of all US energy consumption,” says Shreya Dave, PhD ’16, cofounder of the year-old startup Via Separations. “It’s 80 percent of the cost of making a chemical, 75 percent of the cost of making a pharmaceutical.”

The Engine's crew poses for a group photo

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