Chemical Separations Researcher Named to National Academy of Inventors

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The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has included School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor William J. Koros among 148 academic inventors elected as NAI Fellows in 2018. Koros, who develops energy-efficient separations technology, is the Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Membranes and holds the Roberto C. Goizueta Chair for Excellence in Chemical Engineering.

Election to NAI Fellow status recognizes academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

Separation processes, such as those used in the chemical processing industry, consume almost 15 percent of world energy, making them a focus for research efforts aimed at reducing energy consumption. Koros’ research has applications across many areas of industry.

“Dr. Koros has shown the way to expand energy-efficient separations across the large-scale separation process spectrum, with the potential to achieve a full order-of-magnitude reduction in energy intensity compared to conventional processes,” the NAI nomination said. “High-efficiency hollow-fiber membrane and sorbent modules, suitable for feeds of a billion standard cubic feet per day, are enabling aspects of his work. Defect-free hollow fibers with ultrathin skins and hybrid membranes and sorbents combining metal organic frameworks enable new opportunities that were only dreams four decades before his leadership showed the way.”

Beyond his own research, Koros has helped educate 89 Ph.D., 26 M.S. and 32 post-doctoral researchers, many of whom are now working in positions where they can bring about adoption of the new separations technologies.

“His discoveries on scalable manufacturing of asymmetric carbon molecular sieve hollow fibers open the door to a whole new generation of large scale energy-efficient separation processes,” the nomination added. “With more than 400 refereed publications and more than 34 issued U.S. patents, Dr. Koros has introduced energy-efficient gas-separation technology to the chemical processing industries, with a focus on fundamental scientific principles enabled by practical technology.”

With the election of the 2018 class, there are now over 1,000 NAI Fellows, representing more than 250 research universities and government and non-profit research institutes. The 2018 Fellows are named inventors on nearly 4,000 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective number of patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 35,000 issued U.S. patents. 

“I am very proud to welcome another class of outstanding NAI Fellows, whose collective achievements have helped shape the future and who each day work to improve our world,” said Paul R. Sanberg, President of the NAI. “Each of these new NAI Fellows embodies the Academy’s mission through their dedication, creativity and inventive spirit. I look forward to working collaboratively with the new NAI Fellows in growing a global culture of innovation.”

About the National Academy of Inventors
The NAI is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, governmental and non-profit research institutes. The NAI recognizes inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation and to translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI publishes the multidisciplinary journal, Technology & Innovation.

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