August 4, 2022
Staff Accomplishment

Rob Dagle Named 2021 PNNL Inventor of the Year

Chief research engineer has partnered with industry to develop innovative catalytic processes

Smiling man in glasses and brown jacket

Rob Dagle

(Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Rob Dagle, chief research engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), has been named 2021 PNNL Inventor of the Year.

Dagle received the honor at PNNL’s Pathway to Excellence event in July. The event recognizes staff members for achievements that have helped enhance PNNL’s reputation internationally, nationally, regionally, and locally.

Dagle said that the award was “humbling to receive, and I share this award with my tremendously hard working and brilliant colleagues.” He is particularly grateful for his world-class mentors, for whom he says he owes just about everything.      

He joins 17 inventors who previously received this prestigious honor.

As part of his impressive portfolio of research, Dagle has partnered with industry and government sponsors to develop innovative catalytic processes to convert biomass- and waste-derived oxygenated intermediates to value-added fuels and chemicals.

He currently is co-leading a project with Oregon State University and commercial partner LanzaTech to adapt and apply a catalyst toward a new microchannel reactor technology that can be 3-D printed. Commercially, the microchannel reactor would be used to convert ethanol from renewable resources or from industrial waste gases into jet or diesel fuels with improved efficiency and costs.

Through other projects, Dagle is working to develop next-generation, clean fossil energy technologies for clean hydrogen production, as well as carbon capture and use with funding from the Department of Energy and the Southern California Gas Company.

Dagle holds 17 U.S. patents, many which focus on innovative new catalytic processes for converting bio- or fossil-derived intermediates—sometimes using seemingly magical catalysts—to fuels or chemicals.

In addition to the PNNL Inventor of the Year honor, Dagle was recognized at the event for receiving three patents in 2021. He joined PNNL in 2000. 

Published: August 4, 2022