Pavlo Rudenko and lab equipmentPULLMAN, Wash. – A Washington State University doctoral candidate in materials science is aiming to develop safer, more efficient lubricants by using nanoparticles – super-small particles that are nearly the size of a molecule.
Pavlo Rudenko’s idea is so revolutionary that he will head to Singularity University next month to work with some of the world’s brightest thinkers from the private sector, government and universities.
 
“We’re thrilled for Pavlo and look forward to his participation in the 2011 Graduate Studies Program at SU,” said Salim Ismail, the global ambassador for Singularity University. “Pavlo will get unparalleled insights on the future of accelerating technologies and will be able to tap into the extraordinary connections and minds that SU brings together every summer.”
 
The interdisciplinary California-based university aims to assemble, educate and inspire leaders who strive to understand and facilitate development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address some of the grand challenges facing our nation and world.
 
“Sending Pavlo to Singularity University is fantastic for Pavlo and for Washington State University” said Howard Grimes, vice president for the Office of Research and dean of the Graduate School. “This is yet another verification of the impact of our research and its direct application to solving real-world problems.”
 
Rudenko’s research is focused on the environmental impact of lubrication oil additives, about half of which end up in the environment and have devastating toxic effects. More specifically, he is finding ways to make industrial equipment work longer and more efficiently, while making lubricating oil safer for the environment, by replacing the protective molecules in additives with nanoparticles.
 
“We can reduce friction pretty much everywhere where old lubrication was used, and it can be filtered out from the base and safely restored or returned to the environment,” Rudenko said. Using these advanced, environmentally friendly lubricants can increase fuel efficiency by 5-30 percent.
  
His Singularity University scholarship is the latest in a series of accolades. Within the past year Rudenko has received a fellowship from the Hydro Research Foundation, the Passionate Entrepreneur Individual Award (WSU BP competition), the Best Green Technology Team Award, and the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Software Grant.
 
“Pavlo is one of the brightest students that I have worked with at WSU,” said his advisor, Amit Bandyopadhyay. “He is very passionate about his research and always has creative ideas to solve problems. Certainly, he is a leader in the making.”
 
Rudenko’s work could lead to nanoparticles replacing the additives that are put into lubricating oil and, in turn, could eliminate the environmental impacts of those additives.
“I believe anybody who does science has to think about how it will serve the future,” Rudenko said.