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January 22, 2007

Dr. Hazem Tawfik
Dr. Hazem Tawfik
The Research Foundation (RF) was recently awarded a U.S. patent for an energy generation technology developed at Farmingdale State College that will make fuel cells more durable, cost effective and commercially viable.

As the first U.S. patent issued to the Research Foundation on behalf of Farmingdale State College in the Alternative Energy and Hydrogen Fuel Cell area, the Metallic Bipolar Plate Technology will produce clean energy and clear water as its main by-products.

Distinguished Service Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology Dr. Hazem Tawfik, Director of the Institute for Research and Technology Transfer (IRTT) at Farmingdale State College, invented a bipolar metal plate Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell. Bipolar plates are commonly made of graphite composites. More economical and durable than graphite, the metal developed by Tawfik also reduces hydrogen consumption by at least 24% because of its higher electric conductivity.

When asked how he felt about the patent, Dr. Tawfik said "I'm elated. Jeff Hung, my former student and IRTT technical assistant, and I have worked on this project for about eight years. This patent recognizes the enormous potential of fuel cells to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels."

"Dr. Tawfik's invention is an example of how SUNY researchers are leading the way to a smarter, more secure and cleaner energy future through innovative approaches to renewable and alternative fuels, energy production, and energy conservation," said RF Vice President for Technology Transfer Guven Yalcintas.

Farmingdale State College President Dr. W. Hubert Keen is enthusiastic also, saying "We are most appreciative that the College and the Research Foundation have worked together so successfully.  Dr. Tawfik's work is vital to advancing the College's contributions to the field of renewable energy. We are proud of his achievement."

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, George LaRosa said, "This is a timely example of how SUNY research can benefit all of us.  Dr. Tawfik's work would not have been possible without the generosity of sponsored program research money from partners such as LIPA who funded the research contract.I am particularly grateful toDirector of Grants Administration Theodore Papas, who worked closely with Dr. Tawfik to secure the patent."

U.S. patents for SUNY inventions are awarded to the Research Foundation, which is responsible for protecting SUNY intellectual property and commercializing these discoveries, innovations and materials for the public good through its five Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs).

In Fiscal Year 2006, the Research Foundation was awarded 33 U.S. patents. SUNY is ranked the 18th largest patent producer among all public and private universities, just behind Michigan State University and the University of Pennsylvania, according to the most recent Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) "Licensing Survey: FY 2004."

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