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Williamson named Collegiate Inventors Competition finalist

Published: Monday, September 23, 2019

Andrew Williamson, left, works on his turbine research with advisor Dr. Khaled Sallam at OSU-Tulsa's Helmerich Research Center


Andrew Williamson, a mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate student at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, has been named a finalist in the Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC), an annual competition that rewards innovations, discoveries and research by college and university students and their faculty advisors. Williamson applied for the award while an undergraduate student.

This year’s finalists and their inventions provide a glimpse into the future of American innovation and emerging technological trends – from alternative energy to safer aerial transport.  Through their research, these students have harnessed their “inner inventor” to make working prototypes that can positively change our world. 

College teams from across the country submitted their ground-breaking inventions for the 2019 CIC.  Williamson was selected as first-round finalists by judges representing a broad cross-section of technological fields.  Teams were judged based on originality of the idea, process, level of student initiative and potential value and usefulness to society.

Williamson has been conducting research on how the future of heating and cooling will be determined by the ability to increase efficiency, minimizing cost and widely adopting green energy alternatives.  His invention, "Compressor-Turbine Fusion," has the potential to achieve each of these goals.  Directly integrating a turbine into a compressor within a single device, "Compressor-Turbine Fusion" increases the efficiency of thermodynamic cycles and power equipment, decreases the production of greenhouse gases and can make alternative energy more competitive with traditional power sources.  

“Improving the efficiency of energy conversion devices is one of the most important goals of mechanical engineering,” said Dr. Khaled Sallam, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and Williamson’s advisor.  “Andrew’s invention moves us one step forward in this direction by simultaneously improving the efficiency of both the compression and expansion processes. This will have applications in many power and refrigeration cycles.”

Innovation and commercialization

Williamson's invention was developed at OSU-Tulsa's Helmerich Research Center, where OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology faculty emphasize bringing technology from the lab to the marketplace as part of their curriculum. 

“I teach multiple courses in the mechanical and aerospace engineering department to help my students to become leaders in the field of energy conversion and I am proud of Andrew’s accomplishment,” said Sallam.  

“I am honored that my invention was selected to be a finalist in this competition,” said Williamson.  “One of the most important undertakings for an engineer is improving power generation and storage.  My hope is that this invention will be the first of many to reduce the cost and byproducts of power generation throughout the world.”

Competition finalists will travel to Alexandria, Virginia to present their inventions to an esteemed panel of final-round judges composed of the most influential inventors and invention experts in the nation – National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officials.  Finalists will showcase their inventions and interact with thousands of attendees at the CIC Expo.  The expo is free and open to all in the community, and will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. in the USPTO Madison Building, Upper Atrium.  A private Awards Ceremony will take place later that day in Alexandria. 

About the Collegiate Inventors Competition

Established in 1990, the CIC is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is sponsored by the USPTO, Arrow Electronics (People’s Choice Award), Merck, Hologic and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. 

The Collegiate Inventors Competition encourages and drives innovation and entrepreneurship at the collegiate level.  A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, this competition recognizes and rewards the research, innovations and discoveries by college students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that have the potential of receiving patent protection.  Introduced in 1990, the competition has awarded more than $1 million to students for their innovative work and scientific achievement through the help of its sponsors. 

For more information, visit the Collegiate Inventors Competition Expo website

Follow the National Inventors Hall of fame on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for live updates, exclusive interviews with finalists and winners, and additional information.  For full details on the Collegiate Inventors Competition finalists, visit their news release.

Original news post from the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology


Media Contact: Aaron Campbell | 918-594-8046 |