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Stony Brook University and Subsea Oil Technologies, Inc., Announce Technical Collaboration for Deepwater Oil Spill Containment Solutions

Stony Brook, New York, February 21, 2011 – Stony Brook University today announced that a technical collaboration agreement has been established with Subsea Oil Technologies, Inc. (“Subsea”), of Houston, Texas, for research and development in, but not limited to, subsea oil and/or gas spill (blowout) containment methods and apparatus configurations. 

Scott Wolinsky

As part of an initial stage of the collaboration, a patent application titled “Modular Pressure Management Oil Spill Containment System and Method” was filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) through the law firm of Volpe and Koenig, P.C., on January 20, 2011. The co-inventors of the patent application are Scott Wolinsky, a graduate of Stony Brook University and the inventor of Subsea’s patent-pending technology for containing subsea oil and/or gas spills, and Dr. Devinder Mahajan and Dr. Miriam Rafailovich of Stony Brook University’s Department of Materials Science in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 

“We are pleased that an alumnus has returned to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences to offer faculty researchers the opportunity to collaborate on an exciting research challenge with the potential to help our society address a critical need,” said Dr. Yacov Shamash, Dean of the College and Vice President for Economic Development at Stony Brook University. 

“I consider it to be a great privilege to have had the opportunity to work with such distinguished members of the faculty of Stony Brook University,” said Mr. Wolinsky of Subsea. He further stated, “Although I have been in contact with Stony Brook University since August, Dr. Mahajan 

Devinder Mahajan

and Dr. Rafailovich clearly exceeded my expectations when a significant research funding opportunity unexpectedly arose near the end of December, and they worked tirelessly with me for long hours so that we could successfully meet a critical deadline.” 

“The climate change issue looms large with increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, but traditional fossil fuels will still play a dominant role in the energy mix, even in the coming decades. Petroleum and gas companies will continue to drill deeper for more oil and gas to maintain adequate supplies and meet increasing global demand,” said Dr. Mahajan, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, who also serves as the Co-Director with Dr. Rafailovich of the Chemical and Molecular Engineering Program at Stony Brook University, and holds a joint appointment at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Dr. Mahajan further stated, “The risk associated with possible disastrous blowouts, such as the one that was observed during the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill, must be mitigated. It should be realized that it is not the oil or gas management that is the problem during drilling, but it is the tremendous pressure associated with flowing oil and gas in the column. Our recently filed patent application addresses the issue of the management of the force that pushes deepwater oil/gas to the ocean surface during offshore drilling.” 

The technical collaboration agreement reflects the joint assignment of this patent application to Subsea Oil Technologies, Inc. and Stony Brook University. The agreement was executed on Stony Brook’s behalf by The Research Foundation of 

Miriam Rafailovich

The State University of New York (SUNY) through Stony Brook’s Offices of Sponsored Programs, and Technology Licensing and Industry Relations. Subsea plans to negotiate for exclusive rights to license Stony Brook’s interest in the patent application. 

"Our National Science Foundation-funded Center is very pleased to have had the opportunity to collaborate on this project,” said Dr. Rafailovich, a Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Together with Dr. Mahajan, she co-directs the Program in Chemical and Molecular Engineering. Dr. Rafailovich further stated, “It is a technical challenge to perform research on materials that function under extreme conditions, while at the same time providing a clever solution which reflects our concern for the environment. This type of project represents the mission that we try to convey to our students, where science has direct applications for making an impact on society." 

Mr. Wolinsky, who currently lives in Washington Township, New Jersey, grew up on Long Island (Commack HS South for local editors) and graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1980. He is a Senior Patent Agent at the law firm of Volpe and Koenig, P.C., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as a former Patent Examiner at the USPTO. 

Dr. Mahajan’s research programs include a portfolio of projects on Methane hydrates, Fuel Cells, biomass conversion into methanol, mixed alcohols, hydrocarbons (Fischer-Tropsch) using soluble and slurry based catalysts. Dr. Mahajan served on the Secretary of Energy’s Committee on Methane Hydrate (2000-2008) and is the recipient of the Crown and Eagle Medal of Honor, awarded by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences-US Section, for Petroleum Engineering. Dr. Mahajan is listed as an inventor on 11 patents and 7 patent applications associated with his research. 

Dr. Rafailovich is a Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Together with Dr. Mahajan, she co-directs the Program in Chemical and Molecular Engineering. She directs an interdisciplinary National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Integrated Research and Education within the Materials Research Science and Engineering network. Her research is focused on flame retardant materials, polymer nanocomposites and coatings, polymer surfactants for control of methane hydrate formation, biomedical polymers, and nanotoxicology. Dr. Rafailovich has prepared more than 380 publications and is listed as an inventor on 7 patents and 20 patent applications associated with her research.

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