Engineering Professor Honored by New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame

Technology cited produces concrete and ceramics without high temperatures

Richard E. Riman, distinguished professor of materials science and engineering at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, was inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame on October 16 at the organization’s annual awards dinner.

Riman received the “Inventor of the Year” award for his “distinguished patented work related to systems and methods for carbon capture and sequestration utilizing novel concrete products.” He holds 10 U.S. patents and patents pending for the “low-temperature solidification” process, many of which are shared with his co-inventor Vahit Atakan, who did his doctoral studies with Riman. The patents are being commercially developed by a company Riman founded, Solidia Technologies Inc. of Piscataway. The company, which aims to provide green manufacturing methods and construction materials for building and infrastructure applications, has licensed numerous patents from Rutgers and has advanced the technology with more than 100 additional patents. Atakan is Solidia’s director of R&D.

Riman recently launched another spinoff company to commercialize low-temperature solidification for production of materials and ceramic components with applications in biomedical devices and other areas, including the automotive and aerospace industries.

“Professor Riman is one of Rutgers' many creative and productive scientists, and it’s admirable that he’s become a successful entrepreneur,” said Christopher J. Molloy, senior vice president for research and economic development at Rutgers. “We’re proud of Rik and very pleased that he has joined others from Rutgers in the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.”

The New Jersey Inventor's Hall of Fame, established in 1987, celebrates individuals and organizations that have furthered New Jersey's reputation as the "invention state." The state is ranked fourth nationally in the number of United States patents issued, according to the Hall of Fame's website. 

Low-temperature solidification (LTS) is a fundamentally different process than those used for centuries to produce ceramics and concrete components. High-temperature kilns are not needed to cure the materials produced, so far less energy is required and far less carbon dioxide is generated.  And LTS actually uses significant amounts of carbon dioxide to cure concrete or ceramics, making it a carbon-negative process.

One of the first business leaders to recognize the commercial promise and environmental benefits of low-temperature solidification was Bill Joy, the founder of Sun Microsystems. He is a partner emeritus of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, an influential Silicon Valley venture capital firm that provided the funds to launch Riman’s startup.

Solidia has signed agreements with Lafarge, a world leader in building materials, and The Linde Group, a world-leading gases and engineering company, to industrialize and market the technology. Solidia was honored last week with inclusion in the prestigious 2014 Global Cleantech 100 and in 2013 was selected for the R&D Top 100 Award. The company’s investors include Bright Capital, BASF and BP.

Story by Ed Tate