ME Faculty & Students Dominate Invention Awards

Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Gregory S. Jackson was part of a team along with UM Prof. Bryan W. Eichhorn and graduate student Shenghu Zhou to win the Physical Science Invention of the Year Award at the University of Maryland Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) 19th Annual Invention of the Year Reception held in April.

Their invention is a patent-pending technology that for the first time can produce hydrogen from hydrocarbon fuels without the high levels of carbon monoxide that traditionally occur in this type of process. The majority of commercial hydrogen is produced from hydrocarbon fuels.

Assistant Professor Bao Yang was second in the same category for his patent-pending invention that develops a process of using liquid nanodroplets to enhance thermal conductivity, in such poorly conducting fluids as 3M’s Perflurocarbon liquids. This technology has potential applications as ultrahigh thermal conductivity coolants, electronic cooling, lubricants, hydraulic fluids and metal-cutting fluids.

Each year a panel of judges made up of University of Maryland personnel and industry experts selects one winner from groups of finalists in each of three categories: information science, life science and physical science. The winners are chosen based on the creativity, novelty and potential benefit to society of each of the inventions.

With some 21 – or more than 50% -- of the inventions, ME dominated the Physical Sciences category. In addition the department featured two nominees in the Life Sciences category and three in the Information Sciences category for a total of 26 nominations, or nearly one-quarter of the 113 total disclosures in 2005.

Professor Reinhard Radermacher, a 2001 Inductee into the A.J. Clark School Innovation Hall of Fame, had seven disclosures with several different co-inventors. Bao Yang had four, Associate Professor Elisabeth Smela had three, and several other faculty had two disclosures each. Congratulations to the entire mechanical engineering faculty for this impressive display of innovation in 2005.

The Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) at the University of Maryland was established in 1986 to facilitate the transfer of information, life and physical science inventions developed at the university to business and industry. In the past 18 years, OTC has recorded more than 1,400 technologies, secured more than 225 patents and licensed nearly 750 technologies, generating more than $22.6 million in technology transfer income. In addition, more than 40 high-tech start-up companies have been formed based on technologies developed at the university.

Published April 15, 2006