Rutgers professor honored by New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame

NEW BRUNSWICK – 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 Oct. 16 at the organization’s annual awards dinner.

A resident of Belle Mead and native of Teaneck, Riman was honored with the Hall of Fame’s “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 former student Vahit Atakan, who did his doctoral studies with Riman.

The patents are being commercially developed by a company he founded, Solidia Technologies 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. Atakan is Solidia’s director of research and development.

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.”

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 and partner emeritus of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, an influential Silicon Valley venture capital firm. KPCB provided the funds to launch Solidia and Joy is now a member of Solidia’s Board of Directors.

The startup company gained momentum earlier this year when it signed an agreement with Lafarge, one of the world’s top concrete producers. Lafarge is using the low-temperature solidification process invented at Rutgers at a plant in Alberta, Canada, to test produce concrete blocks, pipes and precast components.
Solidia was honored last month with inclusion in the 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.

Riman earned a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in materials and engineering and a bachelor’s in ceramic engineering from Rutgers.

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