Thursday, May 30, 2013

Southern Illinois University Start-up Secures International Partnership for Clean Coal-to-Liquids Technology Development

1740 Innovation Drive, Suite 212
Carbondale, IL USA 62903


Thermaquatica Inc. Partners with Greenpower Energy Limited to Develop Coal-to-Liquids Technology 

Research agreement will fund development of Thermaquatica’s novel, environmentally friendly OHD process

Carbondale, IL, May 30, 2013 – Thermaquatica Inc. of Carbondale, IL, USA announces the signing of a Research and Option agreement with Greenpower Energy Limited at Thermaquatica’s Headquarters on May 24th, 2013. Under terms of the agreement, Greenpower will contribute US$2 million toward further development by Thermaquatica of Oxidative Hydrothermal Dissolution (OHD), a process for conversion of low grade hydrocarbon material to higher grade material, in particular as it applies to conversion of low rank coal to high value liquid products. In return, Greenpower is granted a two-year option to take an exclusive license for the commercial application of this process within Australia and New Zealand.

OHD is a novel, environmentally friendly technology for the conversion of coal, lignocellulosic (woody) biomass, and other organic solids into low molecular weight, water-soluble products, many of which are potentially valuable for making polymers and other hydrocarbon-based products. OHD works by reacting coal or other macromolecular organic solids with small amounts of oxygen in high-temperature, high-pressure liquid water. Professor Ken Anderson and his collaborators discovered and developed the OHD processes at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU), which owns the pending patents for this technology. Professor Anderson, Thermaquatica’s Chief Technical Officer, founded Thermaquatica in late 2010 to commercially exploit this process. Thermaquatica holds the exclusive worldwide license from SIU to the patent rights. Early development of the process and an engineering scale-up Process Development Unit have been funded by a $950,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Coal Institute. Additional assistance has been provided by the SIU Technology Transfer Office and the Southern Illinois Research Park.

Greenpower Energy Limited ( is a publicly traded company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX:GPP). Greenpower’s mission and focus is to seek practical ways to find realistic, commercial, and effective processes to provide the increasing amounts of energy required to meet the world’s needs – processes that will significantly reduce man’s carbon footprint on our planet. Greenpower holds exploration mining tenements in the Latrobe Valley of Australia containing inferred deposits of lignite estimated at over 500 million tons and has been searching for appropriate processes to convert coal to liquid products in order to produce transportation fuels and other products in an environmentally friendly way.

Commenting on this agreement, Dr. John P. McAlister, Thermaquatica’s CEO stated, “The relationship with Greenpower established through this agreement empowers Thermaquatica to aggressively develop and commercially deploy OHD in a number of application areas. We are delighted to partner with Greenpower in its efforts to exploit the abundant natural resources at its disposal in an unique and environmentally friendly way.” Dr. McAlister continued, “We believe this is the first in a potentially large number of applications for OHD, a process which has been demonstrated to work equally efficiently on a wide variety of biomass including wood chips, corn stover, and sugarcane bagasse, as well as oil shale, tar sands, and many others.” 

Mr. Gerard King, board director of Greenpower commented, “We at Greenpower are very impressed with the demonstrated capability of Thermaquatica’s OHD process and with the research and engineering capabilities of the team led by Professor Ken Anderson. We look forward to bringing this technology to bear on our large resource holdings in Australia where we believe it can have a real and positive impact.” 

“Thermaquatica is a great example of groundbreaking research by our outstanding faculty and their focus on helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental and economic challenges,” SIU Chancellor Rita Cheng said. “I am pleased that our entrepreneurship programs, which encourage and guide our faculty, helped Dr. Anderson and his team achieve this level of commercial success.”

About Thermaquatica Inc
Founded in November 2010 and located in Carbondale, Illinois, Thermaquatica is dedicated to the scale-up and commercial exploitation of the Oxidative Hydrothermal Dissolution process discovered and pioneered by Professor Ken Anderson of Southern Illinois University. Thermaquatica is merging creative chemistry with engineering to pioneer the development of environmentally friendly means to produce next generation materials and fuels.

About Greenpower Energy Limited
With a long legacy in coal production as Gunnedah Colliery Company before changing its name and mission in 2007 to Greenpower Energy Limited, Greenpower’s mission and current focus is to seek practical ways to find realistic, commercial, and effective processes to create the increasing amounts of energy for today’s world needs – processes that will significantly reduce man’s carbon footprint on our planet. Greenpower has not limited the scope of this search in any way – for example the company is testing methods to produce and use existing fuel sources such as natural gas and coal that are practical and economic and make a real reduction in carbon emissions. Greenpower is also exploring commercially viable renewable energy sources and production methods.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Quote for Today

"Hard work generates more opportunities for small-business owner to get lucky." --Barry Moltz, 5 Reasons Stupid People Make More Money Than You

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New SIU Patent Issued: E-nose

Congratulations to SIU inventor Dr. Andrei Kolmakov for his recently issued U.S. patent entitled "Analyte multi-sensor for the detection and identification of analyte and a method of using the same" (direct link to patent).  For more information about the technology and contact information, please visit the technology page on the SIU Tech Transfer website.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Startup Strategy

This article in the Harvard Business Review entitled "Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything" about the Lean Launchpad is freely available for another week or so.  Nice summer reading!  And here's a direct link to the business model canvas.

Starts Tomorrow: Research Commercialization Introductory Course Starts on May 21

This is a forwarded message that was originally sent to SIU Tech Transfer.  It's a free class and might be good idea for anyone looking for some summer learning opportunities! 

National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer Presents

Research Commercialization Introductory Course

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00 to 2:30 PM ET
twice weekly from May 21 to June 18, 2013



Now on its fifth run, the Research Commercialization Introductory Course is a very popular online course designed to help science and engineering researchers better understand how research commercialization works. Over 4000 researchers from across the US take the course each time it is offered.

Research commercialization involves taking articles, documentation, know-how, patents, and copyrights, which are created during research activities and getting them to users and patients for real societal impacts.

In some cases, commercialization involved taking patents based on the research and licensing them to a company. This usually involves also having the researchers consult to the company. In other cases, commercialization involves forming or creating a startup and applying to federally funded commercialization programs. In all cases, though, research commercialization typically involves defining the nature of the research being commercialized (e.g., in a patent or intellectual property agreement), establishing a commercial relationship with another party (e.g., employment, a sale or license), and negotiating a contract (e.g., compensation).


The Research Commercialization Course is recommended for all science, engineering and medical researchers in public or private research institutions (e.g., grad students, post-docs, and faculty). This is an indispensable course for S&E grad students looking for jobs in the next 6-18 months.


Areas covered in the course include intellectual property, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, licensing agreements, employment agreements, consulting agreements, tech transfer, creating and funding companies, and federally funded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs

Each lecture is a live 90-minute online class with Q&A.


There is no cost to attend this course but registration is required by clicking on the GoToWebinar link below. 


or go to (
By clicking on the link above you will be registered to all sessions of this course.
Once registered, you will receive a reminder email 24 hours before each session.



Lecture 1: The Importance of Commercializing Research
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 , 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET

Lecture 2: Patents
Thursday, May 23, 2013 , 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET

Lecture 3: Copyright, Trademarks and Trade Secrets 
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 , 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET

Lecture 4: Employment and Consulting Agreements
Thursday, May 30, 2013 , 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET

Lecture 5: Tech Transfer and Licensing Agreements 
Tuesday, June 04, 2013 , 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET

Lecture 6: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants
Thursday, June 06, 2013 , 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET

Lecture 7: Introduction to Early Stage Funding
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 , 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET

Lecture 8: Introduction to Structuring and Leading the Research-Intensive Company
Thursday, June 13, 2013 , 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET

Lecture 9: Moving from R&D to Manufacturing
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 , 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET



A Final Exam will be available to all registered students AFTER the course.

Registering for the Final Exam is separate from the GoToWebinar registration. If you would like to take the Final Exam and be issued a Certificate of Completion register for a free NCET2 account (click here). Once registered, login and click on "Subscribe" at the top of this page.

The Final Exam is an online, multiple-choice test. Subscribed students who achieve 60% or greater on the FinalExam will receive a Certificate of Completion for this course. The Final Exam will be opened after the last session and will remain available for 3 weeks to give you enough time to review and take the exam.



The materials and recorded video for each session will be uploaded on a separate page before and after each session. Did you miss a session? The video recording will be posted with 24 hours after each session and will be available for you to view until after the Final Exam.

Ali Andalibi 
VP Research and CSO
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
former Program Director SBIR/STTR National Cancer Institute, NIH

Clara Asmail 
Sr. Technical Advisor, NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership 
formerly SBIR Program Manager 
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)

Frank Barros 
SBIR Program Analyst
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Lenka Fedorkova
Assistant Manager, SBIR/STTR Programs, 
Office of Extramural Research, 
Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health

Deputy Director, Licensing & Entrepreneurship 
Office of Technology Transfer 
National Institutes of Health 

Juan E. Figueroa
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnership 
National Science Foundation

Tony Stanco 
Executive Director 
National Council Of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer

Christine Villa
Chief Technology Officer, BRTRC, Inc.
Principal Consultant, DOD SBIR/STTR Programs


WEBINAR SCHEDULE: This course is scheduled every Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm ET starting May 21 through June 18, 2013. Changes in schedules or topics will be posted on this page and sent to you through email.

WEBINAR DURATION: Each session is a 90-minute webinar with 60 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes of Q&A.

COST: Free, but registration required by clicking on the Register button above. You only need to register once. Your registration is valid for all sessions in this course.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE?: This webinar is online. You need a computer with web access for the visual/audio. You may also dial-in using the audio-only telephone number. The call in details and instructions on how to join the webinar will be sent to you via email after you register. Once registered you will also receive a reminder email 24 hours before the start of the webinar.

QUESTIONS TO SPEAKERS: Q&A is conducted by a chat box to the speakers.

WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN THE WEBINAR?: The Research Commercialization Course is recommended for all science, engineering and medical researchers in public or private research institutions (e.g., grad students, post-docs, and faculty). This is an indispensable course for S&E grad students looking for jobs in the next 6-18 months.

SLIDES AND VIDEO: The materials and recorded video for each session will be uploaded on a separate page before and after each session. If you are unable to join the live webinar, you may view the recorded video that will be posted within 24 hours after the scheduled webinar ends.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Student-founded business earns startup award

The Saluki Times

May 17, 2013

By Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A growing business founded by three former Southern Illinois University Carbondale students and grown through assistance from the University is a winner in the Arch Grants 2013 Global Startup Competition.
RoverTown will receive $50,000 in funding and free support services.  The business is one of 20 selected this week from 707 applicants from 40 states and 15 countries.  The business, Rover Enterprises, LLC., was launched in 2009 by then-SIU Carbondale students Mike Philip, and co-founders Brad Miller and Joshua Freeman. 
Philip, from Wheaton, was at the time an information systems and applied technologies major.  Freeman earned his finance degree in December 2009, while Miller completed his management degree in May 2010. Freeman and Miller are both from Rantoul.
“It is very gratifying to witness the evolution of an idea by three former University students into a scalable venture.  Their passion and drive is to be commended,” said Kyle Harfst, executive director of the Southern Illinois Research Park and executive director of Economic Development.
Initially, Rover Enterprises produced a $20 plastic RoverCard that students could purchase and use to get discounts and special deals at participating area businesses.  Businesses could change their deals on a daily basis.
Philip, the company’s chief executive officer, is a 2009 graduate of Operation Bootstrap, a collaborative program between the SIU Carbondale Office of Economic and Regional Development and the Delta Regional Authority set up to help new or potential businesses.  The company earned $3,000 in start-up funding through the program. 
They made a small profit their first year and soon moved the company to the Southern Illinois Research Park’s Small Business Incubator at SIU.  The company evolved quickly.
RoverTown is now a mobile marketing company that allows area businesses in college towns to reach students through mobile devices, which enhances their business traffic by offering students special discounts and deals.  Students can also scan table displays to participate in a loyalty program, similar to a paper-punch card.  The company motto is “Throwin’ you bones,” and the bones, of course, are discounts. 
The popular discount program, a client of the Small Business Incubator and the Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU, has expanded extensively in just a few years.  According to Philip, 1.4 million college students on nearly 70 campuses now have access to the RoverTown student discount program in dozens of states from Hawaii to New York.  He said more than 2,000 businesses reach college students via smartphones, with 12 businesses gaining exposure to students every 60 seconds on the platform.
Participating businesses pay a $50 monthly fee to the company to receive “Roverlink,” software developed by Rovertown that allows businesses to manage their discounts on students’ smartphones, view analytics and track their return on investment.
Philip notes that the company has proven successful in a number of ways, as evidenced by the significant growth and expansion and by the fact that it has raised more than $100,000 in capital before winning the Arch grant.  In February 2011, RoverTown was Southern Illinois’ only downstate participant for the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center’s CAP 20 program, a component of the Cluster Acceleration Program. The program fosters growth by connecting startup businesses with statewide resources over a five-year period. 
Currently joining Philip as principals in the company are Michael Rzeznik, a 2012 SIU Carbondale graduate in information systems and applied technologies from Lake Zurich who serves as chief technology officer, and Jeffry Harrison, a 2012 SIU Edwardsville business administration finance and entrepreneurship graduate from Red Bud and former student trustee on the SIU Board of Trustees, who serves as chief operating officer.  RoverTown officers say SIU Carbondale and the Office of Economic and Regional Development have been instrumental in their success.
“The University and its Dunn-Richmond Economic Center programs and staff have been a critical support system that we have relied on as we expanded RoverTown across the United States,” Philip said. 
In conjunction with the Arch Grants competition, designed to help grow businesses and entrepreneurship in St. Louis, Rover Enterprises will relocate to St. Louis this summer.  To learn more about RoverTown, visit the website at or follow it on Twitter at twitter@rover_mike. 
For more information about the Office of Economic and Regional Development and the many programs and services it offers to businesses, visit

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

And again: Way to go Rovertown!!

Rovertown was selected as an Arch Grants recipient from 707 applications around the world.  Many congrats!

May 15, 2013

Arch Grants Announces 2013 Global Startup Competition Winners to Help Create the St. Louis of Tomorrow

20 Entrepreneurs Win $1 Million Along with Free Support Services

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

More Patent News

SIU inventor Dr. Andrei Kolmakov's US patent entitled "Analyte Multi-Sensor for the Detection and Identification of Analyte and Method of Using the Same" will issue and publish for the first time on May 21, 2013.  It has thus far been withheld from publication by the Department of Homeland Security.

New Patent Issued

Congratulations to SIU inventors Dr. Luke Tolley and Dr. Matt McCarroll for their patent "Method of detecting analyte-biomolecule interactions," issued today, May 7, 2013.

Supporting your Finals Efforts!

Hope you're having a great finals week!  You still need sustenance, so stop by McDonald's at the Student Center now until 11am and we'll buy you some coffee and rolls.  Last Tech Tran Coffee Talk of the Spring Semester!  Email with questions.

Monday, May 6, 2013

America Invents Act: Prior Art Tutorial

These videos from the USPTO website are helpful for understanding what constitutes prior art under the new  "first inventor to file" AIA rules:

Here is a link on the USPTO website to inventor resources.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tech Tran Coffee Talk on Tuesday

First Tuesday Tech Tran Coffee Talk will take place at the Student Center McDonald's, Tuesday May 7 from 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.  We don't have a set agenda but you (yes YOU;) can come and chat with us about patents, innovation, startups, and any questions you may have. We hope to see you there!  Email for more information.

New Patents Filed

A Single Step Method for Producing Carbon Nanotube Based Catalysts for Fischer-Tropsch Process
Inventors: Saikat Talapatra, Kanchan Mondal

Inventors: Qaing Shawn Cheng, Hongbo Zhou (PhD Student)

More to come.