ORNL Office of Science technologies recognized as 2017 R&D Magazine Award Finalists

The Department of Energy Office of Science’s national laboratories had 27 technologies recently chosen as 2017 R&D 100 Award Finalists. Of those 27 technologies, several were from Oak Ridge National Laboratory with an advanced energy application.

Each year, R&D Magazine recognizes the most outstanding technology developments with promising commercial potential. The coveted awards – now in their 55th year – are presented annually in recognition of exceptional new products, processes, materials, or software that were developed throughout the world and introduced into the market the previous year.

These esteemed technologies include:

  1. ACMZ Cast Aluminum Alloys

Lightweight, high-temperature aluminum alloys will play a vital part in improving automotive fuel efficiency in the future. Common commercial alloys soften rapidly at high temperatures, limiting how manufacturers can use them in vehicles. In contrast, alloys that can withstand elevated temperatures are prohibitively expensive and difficult to cast. ACMZ cast aluminum alloys are affordable, lightweight superalloys. They withstand temperatures of almost 100 degrees Celsius, more than current commercial alloys, while providing equivalent mechanical performance. Their properties can meet the varied demands of different automotive engine components. They are also strong enough for manufacturers to use in next-generation high-efficiency combustion engines.

2. SAFIRE – Safe Impact Resistant Electrolyte

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Safe Impact Resistant Electrolyte (SAFIRE) improves the safety of plug-in electric vehicle batteries. In typical automotive lithium-ion batteries, the liquid electrolyte (which conducts the electrical current) poses a fire risk in high-speed collisions. To minimize this risk, current plug-in electric vehicles use heavy shielding that reduces their range and efficiency. In contrast, the SAFIRE electrolyte eliminates this risk by using an additive that transforms the liquid electrolyte to a solid upon impact. By blocking contact with electrodes, it prevents short circuiting and a potential fire. Under normal conditions, SAFIRE performs as well as conventional electrolytes. In vehicles, it has the potential to significantly reduce electric vehicle weight and increase travel range.

3. Low Cost Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber has historically been a high-priced specialty material, which has limited its widespread use. Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Low Cost Carbon Fiber (LCCF) production method makes high-strength carbon fiber comparable to commercially available material at approximately half the finished product cost. It is also much faster than other methods and reduces energy usage by about 50 percent. Manufacturers can also combine LCCF with plastic materials to produce lightweight composites. This product can potentially make carbon fiber an affordable material for high-volume, cost-sensitive applications such as fuel-efficient automobiles and wind turbine blades.

4. ACE: The Ageless Aluminum Revolution

Lightweight materials such as aluminum alloys can help substantially increase the efficiency of vehicles and airplanes. ACE is a new family of aluminum alloys that exhibits better performance at high temperatures and is easier to cast than previous alloys. By combining aluminum and cerium, or a similar element, with traditional alloying materials, ACE is better able to resist corrosion and be stretched into wires. ACE alloys remain stable at temperatures 300 degrees Celsius higher than leading commercial alloys. They can also withstand 30 percent more tension before they deform. Manufacturers can successfully cast ACE alloys in a wide variety of structural components without energy-intensive heat treatments. Eliminating these treatments could significantly increase production output and reduce manufacturing costs in some cases by almost 60 percent.

Click here for more ORNL technologies nominated as R&D 100 Award Finalists.

Energy Mentor Network Company: Peroxygen Systems

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is featuring the companies benefiting from the Energy Mentor Network program, which offers industry specific expertise from experienced mentors.

The Energy Mentor Network‘s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors. This gives Tennessee yet another advantage in grabbing its more than fair share of the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

In broad strokes, the Energy Mentor Network pairs mentors with promising new companies and entrepreneurs through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions.

The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups. After completing the program, startups will have an investable pitch deck, a rock solid business model and a plan to establish more traction. These tools will position Tennessee’s entrepreneurs to raise capital, request other funds like SBIR grants, and scale their company.

This week TAEBC is highlighting EMN company Peroxygen Systems. Peroxygen Systems is a clean chemistry company developing breakthrough technology for on-site hydrogen peroxide production. The startup is working toward fundamentally disrupting the existing manufacturing and distribution model for hydrogen peroxide. Peroxygen Systems’ on-demand electrolyzer can reduce the cost of producing hydrogen peroxide by over 50%, while also completely eliminating the cost and safety issues associated with shipping and handling of high concentration hydrogen peroxide.

TAEBC is currently accepting applications from Tennessee advanced energy companies to apply for the Energy Mentor Network program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Startups” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

TDEC hosts Volkswagen Diesel Settlement public informational sessions

In 2015, Volkswagen (VW) publicly admitted that it had secretly and deliberately installed a defeat device- software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators- in approximately 590,000 model year 2009 to 2016 motor vehicles containing 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesel engines. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint against VW, alleging the company had violated the federal Clean Air Act.

$2.9 billion in settlement funds from the resulting 2.0 and 3.0 liter partial settlements with the federal government will be placed into an Environmental Mitigation Trust, which will fund environmental mitigation projects that reduce NOx emissions. Trust funds will be allocated among beneficiaries (states, certain territories, and tribes) based on the number of impacted VW vehicles in their jurisdictions.

Tennessee’s initial, combined allocation under the approved 2.0 and 3.0 liter partial settlements is $45,759,914.40. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has been identified by Governor Bill Haslam as the Lead Agency for purposes of administering Tennessee’s trust allocation.

TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs (OEP) is planning to hold a VW Diesel Settlement public information session in Memphis. This meeting will provide an overview of the VW Diesel Settlement, the Environmental Mitigation Trust, TDEC’s process for developing a proposed Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for Tennessee, and an overview of the types of eligible mitigation actions that can be funded by Tennessee’s Environmental Mitigation Trust allocation.

The following public information session will be free and open to the public. Please note that registration is required due to space restrictions. Should there be additional demand and interest, TDEC OEP will coordinate and host additional meetings in other locations throughout the State.

  • November 17, 1:30pm – 3pm CT – Memphis Public Library, 3030 Poplar Avenue Memphis, TN. Register here.

Two public information sessions have already taken place in Nashville and Knoxville.

Solar Site Design is first graduate of Tennessee’s Energy Mentor Network

The Energy Mentor Network, a mentorship program that supports energy entrepreneurs and startups in Tennessee, has announced its first graduate, Solar Site Design. The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

The goal of the Energy Mentor Network is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry specific expertise. The Network pairs mentors with promising new companies through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions.

Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Solar Site Design is a collaborative, cloud-based marketplace platform that connects sales-ready commercial and industrial solar projects to top solar construction companies to drive down customer acquisition costs.

Solar Site Design achieved significant traction while enrolled in the Energy Mentor Network Program. More than 85 construction companies from 27 states have subscribed since the marketplace launched last year. Solar Site Design was among the first pool of applicants to be accepted in November 2016, and the company received strategic business, marketing, and financial guidance by completing a series of panels and discussions with its mentors.

“Solar Site Design is on track to double Commercial Marketplace memberships by the end of 2017 and standardize ‘behind the meter’ commercial solar origination nationwide,” said Jason Loyet, Founder of Solar Site Design.

The company is partnering with leading solar panel manufacturers that will help to attract more construction companies to subscribe to its Commercial Marketplace platform.

The mentor team for Solar Site Design included Entrepreneur-in-Residence Harvey Abouelata, Vice President of Commercial Solar at Solar Alliance; Coleman Adams, Managing Director of Crescendo Power; and John Hopkins, interim CEO of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation.

In 2015, Solar Site Design won the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Catalyst award for its innovation on driving down the cost of solar through its software platform. The company was also invited to participate in Launch Tennessee’s annual pitch competition at 36|86, the Southeast’s premier entrepreneurship and technology conference in 2017.

“Tennessee is in a unique position to become the center of success for energy entrepreneurs and businesses,” said Matt Kisber, President of TAEBC and President & CEO of Silicon Ranch Corporation. “The Energy Mentor Network is yet another tool Tennessee can leverage to become the #1 state in the Southeast for high-quality jobs.”

Tennessee has emerged as a leader in the $1.4 trillion global advanced energy market. TAEBC’s Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report found that advanced energy contributes $33.4 billion to the State’s GDP, employs nearly 325,000 and includes 17,000 businesses. Mentorship to energy entrepreneurs is critical to growing advanced energy’s economic impact in Tennessee.

Milepost Consulting appoints new CEO

Management consulting firm Milepost Consulting, SPC is delighted to announce the appointment of Sabrina Cowden as its new CEO, effective September 1, 2017. Cowden, who previously served as the organization’s Sales Director and Southeast Office Director, succeeded Erik Froyd, whose legacy includes helping the firm expand its presence from the Pacific Northwest into the Southeast while growing its utility, government and built environment practices.

Announcing Cowden’s appointment, Froyd said: “Sabrina is an exceptional leader and brings a fresh vision for Milepost. Her track record in providing world-class strategic guidance to clients, building high performance teams and transforming our business development efforts has been extraordinary.”

Froyd continued, “Sabrina was an obvious choice – she is a brilliant colleague and I’m pleased to be handing over the reins to someone I know will continue to help Milepost grow its impact and be a great place to work.”

Reflecting on her appointment, Cowden said: “I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead Milepost – we have a creative, dedicated and talented team; an incredible culture; amazing clients; and are poised to continue helping organizations adapt and solve the increasingly complex problems they face amidst a rapidly changing business environment.” Added Cowden, “As a B-Corp and a Social Purpose Corp, Milepost aims to provide our clients with fresh thinking and sound strategy to help them improve their social and environmental impact. This work feels more relevant than ever.”

Cowden holds a B.A. in Communications and a Master’s in Business Administration from Lipscomb University. Prior to joining Milepost in 2013, Cowden served as Program Director for Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps. Over the course of her time with the Leadership Corps, she was responsible for strategic development, managing both domestic and international staff, logistics, event program development as well as forging relationships intended to strengthen and expand Climate Reality’s message and the Climate Leader community at-large. Cowden was born and raised in Alabama before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, where she currently resides with her husband, Roger, her teenage son and daughter, Ben and Austin, and her two dogs, Harry and Alice Jo.

Click here for the original announcement.