Rive Technology is moving its research division into 10,000 square feet of lab space on Deer Park Drive on November 1. The Cambridge, Massachussetts, company, founded in 2005, is developing catalyst technology for the petroleum industry.

Andrew Dougherty, vice president of operations, says that his company chose the Princeton area because of its workforce and also because of the availability of lab space suitable for its work. “There is a lot of R & D space available,” he says. “A lot of it is outfitted for pharma, but it works for us, for chemistry labs.”

Jerry Fennelly of NAI Fennelly worked with the company to find an appropriate space.

Initially there will be just one Rive employee in the office, which is to be headed up by Larry Dight, head of research. But the company plans to hire some 19 more this year. The company has not accepted any state incentives for adding high tech workers, says Dougherty, but it did work with the state’s office of economic development, which he describes as “very helpful.”

Dougherty says that the hiring climate for the scientists the company needs is very strong. “A lot of people have an interest in being in energy technology,” he says. Many job candidates come from big oil companies, and many have an entrepreneurial bent.

Rive’s technology came out of M.I.T. The company recently closed on $14 million in venture capital financing and has raised a total of $22 million.

In explaining the technology his company is working on, Dougherty compares a zeolite catalyst used in the process of refining oil to a sponge. “Oil molecules are all different sizes,” he explains. Some are too big to fit into the pores in a zeolite catalyst, so his company is working on a way to enlarge those pores. (A zeolite is a porous mineral; the synthetic zeolite catalysts used in the process of refining oil confine molecules to small spaces, which changes their structure and reactivity.)

Rive says that its technology will increase the yield of transportation fuels produced per barrel of crude oil. It will “fit readily” into existing refineries and enable refiners “to increase profitability with minimal capital investment.”

There is a target date for getting the technology to market, but Dougherty is not yet prepared to share it. Customers, he says, will be oil companies and refineries.

Rive Technology, 1 Deer Park Drive, Monmouth Junction. Larry Dight, head of research. www.rivetechnology.com.

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