Nebraska Engineering faculty honored at NUtech Ventures 2020 Innovator Awards

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College of Engineering faculty, alumni and projects received recognition at the 2020 NUtech Ventures Innovator Awards.
College of Engineering faculty, alumni and projects received recognition at the 2020 NUtech Ventures Innovator Awards.

A number of College of Engineering faculty and alumni were recognized during the 2020 NUtech Ventures Innovator Celebration, held virtually on Nov. 2 as part of Nebraska Research Days.

The celebration featured keynote presentation from leaders at the United States Patent & Trademark Office and the annual awards ceremony that recognizes University of Nebraska-Lincoln personnel and companies who are developing and commercializing cutting-edge research.

Of the six awards presented, three went to College of Engineering faculty or projects:

Shudipto Dishari, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, received the Emerging Innovator of the Year award, which recognizes an individual, often a junior faculty member, for recent innovation contributions. Dishari's research focuses on designing ion-conducting and light-harvesting polymers, exploring the nanoscale phenomena within polymeric thin films and membranes. Her work could help reduce the cost and improve the energy efficiency of hydrogen-based fuel cells. Other potential applications include energy conversion and storage device systems, such as lithium batteries, semi-conductors and biochemical systems.

Agricultural Flaming Innovations, a startup company co-founded by George Gogos, professor of mechanical and materials engineering, and Chris Breuning, who received a doctorate in mechanical and materials engineering received the Startup Company of the Year Award. That award is given to recognize a company, founded by UNL faculty, staff or students, that has made significant progress in becoming a sustainable business. The Agricultural Flaming Innovations team developed equipment that uses heat for certified organic weed control. When mounted to a tractor, it directs propane-fueled flames at weeds, which then wilt and die – leaving crops unaffected.

Omni-Threat Structures (OTS) was honored as Commercialization Partner of the Year for work it has done with Chris Tuan, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Lim Nguyen, professor of electrical and computer engineering, to build disaster-resistant structures. The award recognizes a company that has licensed and developed a university technology, bringing it to market as a product or service. OTS has licensed modified concrete formulations and methods that provide shielding from high level electromagnetic pulse energy (EMP). The technology protects sensitive electronics from EMP, which can cripple power grids, data centers and other critical infrastructure.

The event also recognized inventors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, including many from the College of Engineering, who are listed on U.S. issued patents in fiscal year 2019-2020.

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