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Innovation award finalists list flush with Russ College students, faculty

Adrienne Cornwall | Mar 10, 2014

Innovation award finalists list flush with Russ College students, faculty

Adrienne Cornwall | Mar 10, 2014

Three innovations from students in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology are in the running for Outstanding Student Innovations at the 2014 Innovation Awards ceremony to be held Tues., March 18, at 6 p.m. in Baker University Center Ballroom, and several Russ College faculty are nominated in other categories.

The Innovation Awards celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship in southeastern Ohio, with Alex Lunka of Eco2Capture, Chad Mourning and Scott Nykl of Affine Technologies, and chemical and biomolecular engineering master’s student Eric Martin vying for the student innovation award along with two other Ohio University students.

Lunka, a doctoral candidate in mechanical and systems engineering, is nominated for his invention of an enhanced gas-to-liquid transfer technology that he is in the process of patenting. Lunka’s hands-on experience performing research on algae-based biofuels at startup Eco2Capture, co-founded by Loehr Professor of Mechanical Engineering David Bayless and Professor of Civil Engineering Ben Stuart, helped him improve on the existing technology that uses inorganic carbon to produce microalgae on a commercial scale.

“This recognition has reinforced my passion for innovation, which I will continue to integrate in my professional life,” Lunka said. “By recycling carbon dioxide emissions to grow algae, we can offset our carbon footprint and become world leaders in responsible and sustainable biofuel production.”

This year will be the second time Mourning and Nykl are nominated in this category for their venture Affine Technologies, which they co-founded while doctoral students in computer science. The duo are developing technology that integrates sensor data from aircraft, creating a virtual reconstruction of the world in real-time.

“You can think of what we do like a version of Google Earth that doesn't require a persistent internet connection,” Mourning said.

Several Russ College faculty members are also nominated for awards: for Social Innovation, Associate Professor of Computer Science Chang Liu (with research partner Siang Lee Hong); for Woman in Innovation, Russ Professor of Chemical Engineering Gerardine Botte; for Outstanding Faculty Innovation, Bayless, co-founder of Eco2Capture, and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Frank Kraft; and for Green Innovation, Botte (with business partner Kent Shields).

The awards celebration will include a networking hour beginning at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and award presentations from 7-9 p.m. Registration, which closes today, March 10, at 5 p.m., costs $30 and includes dinner, reception and parking. For more information, contact Andrea Gibson at