Higher education

Iowa State University in top 100 for 2014 patents

Wind tower systems, computer encryption, and bioasphalt among ISU patents

Two students sit on the grass in front of Curtiss Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Two students sit on the grass in front of Curtiss Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Iowa State University was ranked 70th among the top 100 universities for U.S. utility patents granted in 2014.

ISU researchers earned 31 U.S. patents in 2014, including patents for wind turbine tower systems, computer encryption logic, bioasphalt and new methods to improve the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, ISU reported.

One of those patents is for a new wind turbine tower, called the Hexcrete tower, that uses modularized construction, high-strength concrete and prestressing steel to allow for construction of taller towers. Hexcrete towers being developed for the Department of Energy are 140 meters, compared to the 80 meters used in Iowa, said Sri Sritharan, ISU professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering.

“Taller wind towers will open more opportunities for everyone in the country,” Sritharan said.

The National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association released its report Tuesday showing the top 100 universities for patents in 2014. The top five are the University of California System, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tsinghua University (China), Stanford University and the University of Texas.

ISU is the only Iowa university on the list.

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