ConocoPhillips, Penn State announce energy prize

October 14, 2008

Houston -- ConocoPhillips and Penn State have awarded the first ConocoPhillips Energy Prize to David A. Gonzales II, San Antonio, to further develop the Layered MagWheel, a new technology to provide magnetic acceleration and frictionless braking for vehicles, increasing energy conversion and efficiency.

2008 marks the inaugural year of the ConocoPhillips Energy Prize, which recognizes new ideas and original, actionable solutions that can help improve the way the United States develops and uses energy. The Prize focuses on innovative ideas and solutions in three areas: developing new energy sources; improving energy efficiency; and combating climate change.

Sig Cornelius, senior vice president, finance, and chief financial officer of ConocoPhillips, said, "Developing diverse sources of sustainable, reliable energy; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and significantly improving energy efficiency all require technological advances.

"Along with our partners at Penn State, we are pleased to recognize David A. Gonzales II and the finalists for their innovative ideas to maximize our existing resources and identify new opportunities," he added.

William Easterling, dean of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, noted, "Like ConocoPhillips, Penn State believes that the nation needs fundamentally new knowledge and applications of that knowledge to diversify its energy supply, while simultaneously improving the efficiency by which it generates and utilizes that energy. The development and commercialization of energy technologies based on novel ideas, such as those represented by the ConocoPhillips Energy Prize, will assist the United States in meeting its energy needs while spurring economic growth."

More than 300 proposals were submitted for evaluation by a panel of energy and environmental experts, which selected five finalists. Proposals were judged on the basis of creativity, scalability, commercial viability and sustainability.

The first runner-up was Corban Tillemann-Dick and team of the Greater Washington, D.C., area for the Radial Expansion Engine, which increases the efficiency and decreases the weight and cost of internal combustion engines by increasing the percentage of the combustion chamber reacting productively and capturing energy otherwise lost through the exhaust system.

Second runner-up was Logan Bryce and team of Belt, Mont., and Seattle, Wash., for the Micro Wind Distributive Power Generation, a small form-factor turbine to harvest power from wind at velocities of 12 mph and below, using an inverter system that allows direct connection to power mains.

The remaining finalists were Miguel Bagajewicz of University of Oklahoma for the Acoustic Mass Pump, and Greg Rau, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, for the Carbon-Negative Electrolytic Hydrogen.

Each of the five finalists received an award of $25,000 to further the development of their concept. The winner received an additional $100,000; the first and second runners-up received an additional $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.

The awards were presented Oct. 13, 2008, at a ceremony held at ConocoPhillips Corporate offices in Houston following formal presentations by the five finalists to the panel of judges.

The judges were: Charles Bierbauer, dean, mass communications and information studies, University of South Carolina; Ralph Cicerone, president, National Academy of Sciences; Peter Jackson, senior director, oil industry activity, Cambridge Energy Research Associates; James Kimble, fellow, biofuels and long-range technology (retired), ConocoPhillips; and Chunshan Song, director, EMS Energy Institute, professor of fuel science and chemical engineering, Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, Penn State.

More information about the ConocoPhillips Energy Prize and the finalists is available at

ConocoPhillips is an international, integrated energy company with interests around the world. For more information, go to

Penn State is a national public university that is prominent for its energy and environmental sciences, technology and policy research. The EMS (Earth and Mineral Sciences) Energy Institute at Penn State is a leading research and development organization focused on clean energy technologies that will assist the nation in meeting its growing demands. For more information, go to:

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Last Updated November 18, 2010