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Grown in California: TMP Startup Spinoffs

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Monday, April 10, 2017

James Rogers spent years studying flexible solar cells, excelling at UC Santa Barbara’s esteemed Technology Management Program, and conducting research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. For his Ph.D research, he won the prestigious 2012 Frank J. Padden Jr. Award for polymer physics.

At the culmination of all that, Rogers concluded that flexible solar cell systems were very difficult to understand. Fortunately, around the same time, serendipity struck.

“Spoiled produce kept coming to mind,” Rogers recalls.

On one of his long drives from UC Santa Barbara to Berkeley Lab, listening to a radio program on world hunger while driving past fertile farmland, the materials scientist had his “aha!” moment.

“We weren’t actually having trouble growing fresh produce,” he later blogged. “The problem was storing it after it was harvested.”

He turned his intimate knowledge of thin-film polymers from solar cells to the development of an all-natural protective barrier that nearly doubles the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Boom. Apeel Sciences was born.

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By Brian Back, UC Newsroom

Tuesday, April 4, 2017