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SIU prof named fellow of National Academy of Inventors

Ken Anderson, professor of geology and director of the Advanced Energy Institute at SIU
SIU News

A longtime Southern Illinois University Carbondale faculty researcher has been named a fellow by the National Academy of Inventors for its 2023 class.

Ken Anderson, professor of geology and director of the Advanced Energy Institute at SIU, is just one of 162 academic inventors receiving the honor this year. He will receive his medal during the NAI 13th annual meeting on June 18 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The NAI recognizes and encourages inventors who have a patent issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and who enhance the visibility of university and nonprofit research institute technology and academic innovation. Election as an academy fellow is the highest professional distinction awarded solely to inventors by the organization.

In 2010, Anderson founded Thermaquatica Inc., an energy company focused on his patented process that treats coal, wood or agricultural byproducts with oxygen in superheated water, breaking it down into useful products in an environmentally friendly way. In 2015, Anderson was among five faculty members to form the founding NAI chapter at SIU.

Rob Patino, director of the Office of Technology Transfer at SIU, said Anderson is extremely innovative and works tirelessly as an inventor.

“He has the courage to do all of the difficult things required to be a successful entrepreneur,” Patino said. “Fostering an inventive spirit at SIU is a priority because those innovations help us build ties with industry partners and elevate the research prowess of the university to levels above the traditional academic sense.”

Anderson said he is pleased the recognition reflects well on SIU's support for creativity, inventiveness and entrepreneurship.

“This type of recognition is important because it helps build our credibility and our bona fides as we work to push our work out into the private sector,” Anderson said. “It opens doors for us, which helps us get the work out into the world, where it can make a difference.”

Tim Crosby — engineering, science and agriculture.

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