Physics invention raises cash

Oil viscosity patent generates $150,000 from licensing.

A new invention that can improve the fuel efficiency in in oil pipelines has had financial success as Temple’s second largest licensing earner, bringing in more than $150,000 in the latest fiscal year.

Rongjia Tao’s Applied Oil Technology, licensed exclusively with Save the World’s Air Inc., improves the efficiency of industrial crude oil pipelines by reducing their viscosity.

Tao’s invention trails only the licensing of a cancer therapeutic developed at Temple’s Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology. During the 2012-13 fiscal year, Temple saw a 360 percent increase in research and technology royalties from the previous year, bringing in $11.5 million.

By increasing oil’s maximum flow capacity and reducing gas emissions, Applied Oil Technology can save pipeline owners money by decreasing operating expenses per barrel move, enabling lower transportation costs, Tao said.

In addition, its Applied Oil Technology, Save the World’s Air Inc. holds 47 exclusive licensing agreements with technologies developed by Temple researchers.

“The company started with a research project,” Tao said. “At that time they did not have any related commercialization companies.”

Tao has received $60,000 from the start-up company. Even with continued growth in value he said that his personal life has not been greatly affected by his fortune.

“Nothing has changed but the research,” Tao said, laughing. “We continue the same routine. My wife still takes care of the family.”

With this new emergence of income Tao said that all the money they receive will be guided toward more efficient research.

“With this money we will continue our research in perfecting our technology,” Tao said. “Energy wasting made smarter is our goal. In the long haul we wish to fully utilize resources securing resources for future generations.”

Upon beginning his research one of the biggest problems Tao said he faced was the lack of good researchers and mechanics.

After coming from Shanghai to get his graduate degree from Columbia University, Tao said he chose to stay at Temple because its commercialization played a key role in making his project successful.

Growing up, Tao’s aunt wished for him to be a doctor. Uninterested in that profession, Tao said the most rewarding aspect of his career is being able to call himself an inventor.

“I want to make an impact on the future society,” Tao said.

Tao said his next steps would be medical. Leaning toward a medicine that will reduce blood wastes resulting in a reduction in heart attacks, the Temple scientist said he will be using the same basic fundamentals but with different regulations.

“Temple’s reputation has been rising fast,” Tao said. “Our work is being nationally recognized and we can only hope to continue to train future scientists.”

Jasmine Payoute can be reached at 

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