Winning the Prize, Saving the Planet – Winner of the 2011 ConocoPhillips Energy Prize Announced

Call for innovation in clean, novel or green energy answered resoundingly in fourth annual ConocoPhillips, Penn State joint initiative

HOUSTON, October 24, 2011 – The 2011 ConocoPhillips Energy Prize, a joint initiative between ConocoPhillips [NYSE:COP] and Penn State, concluded today with its fourth annual mission to provoke and catalyze the 21st century energy revolution by awarding this year’s prize to Ben Glass and Adam Rein for their innovation, “Aerostat Platform for Rapid Deployment Airborne Wind Turbine,” a plan to make wind power literally leap out from the box by taking advantage of stronger and more-consistent winds higher in the air, seeking to hoist a wind-turbine up to 2,000 feet aloft. 

The ConocoPhillips Energy Prize seeks to forge new paths to a cleaner, greener and more secure energy supply – both in the US and across the globe. "The world needs clean energy concepts moving from the drawing board and into the home, office, field and factory, with an increasing urgency,” said Merl Lindstrom, interim senior vice president, Technology, ConocoPhillips. “We believe the ConocoPhillips Energy Prize is playing its part in providing a much-needed focus on developing these game-changing ideas.”

The competition, which began in 2008, awards up to $300,000 and recognizes innovative ideas and solutions in three key areas: developing new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, and combating climate change. This year, more than 100 proposals were submitted for evaluation by a panel of energy and environmental experts, which selected five finalists on the basis of creativity, scalability, commercial viability and sustainability.

The first runner up was Jason Aramburu, founder and CEO of re:char, and team for their entry, “Biochar Production for Climate Change Mitigation.”  This concept seeks to roll biochar out to the masses, with cheap recycled kilns that can churn out up to five tonnes of biochar each year.

The second runner up was Mark Mascal, professor of chemistry at the University of California, for his submission, “Conversion of Plant Carbohydrates into a New Generation of Biofuels and Substitutes for Petroleum Products.”

The remaining finalists were Jack C. Swearengen and Peter Swearengen for “Carbon-Free Ammonia for Agriculture” and Li Song and Gang Wang for “Development of an Automated Unit-Level Energy Monitoring Fault Detection and Diagnostic for High Energy Performance Buildings.”

Each of the five finalists received an award of $25,000 to further the development of their concept. The winner received an additional $100,000; the first and second runners-up received an additional $50,000 and $25,000 respectively.

The awards were presented October 24 at a ceremony held at the Nittany Lion Inn in State College, PA following formal presentations by the five finalists to the panel of judges. 

This year’s judges included Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, president, National Academy of Sciences; Dr. Peter Jackson, Head of Research Exploration, Production, Technology and Cost, IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA); Dr. James Kimble, Fellow, Biofuels and Long-Range Technology (retired), ConocoPhillips; Charles L. Liotta, Ph.D., Chair, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The Georgia Institute of Technology; Yaw D. Yeboah, professor and Department Head of Energy and Mineral Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University.

In 2010, ConocoPhillips and Penn State awarded the ConocoPhillips Energy Prize to Matthew Orosz and team STG for a solar generator that could bring electric power to remote areas around the world.  The STG originated in Cambridge, Mass. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

More information about the prize and the finalist is available at

About ConocoPhillips 
ConocoPhillips is an integrated energy company with interests around the world. Headquartered in Houston, the company had approximately 29,900 employees, $160 billion of assets, and $244 billion of annualized revenues as of June 30, 2011. For more information, go to

About the Penn State 
Penn State is a leading research and development organization focused on clean energy technologies that will assist the nation in meeting its growing demands. The University’s wide range of research initiatives include carbon materials, clean fuels and catalysis, petroleum and natural gas, stationary power systems, sustainable energy and transportation systems, hydrogen and fuel cells, CO2 capture and sequestration, and expanding the use of our limited indigenous resource.

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A’ndrea Messer (media) 814-865-9481