Tennessee auto manufacturers awarded for sustainability, energy efficiency practices

Nissan manufacturing operations in Smyrna, Tennessee recently received the 2017 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for the sixth year in a row.

This is the highest honor given to top organizations dedicated to protecting the environment by making their operations more energy efficient.

Nissan has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its continued commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy management.

Nissan’s efforts to reduce energy usage include switching to more efficient LED lighting, enhancing the compressed air leak production program, optimizing chilled water systems and using a paint process involving less volatile organic compounds that has cut energy usage by 30 percent.

Nissan’s Tennessee facility was also recently awarded the ENERGY STAR Certification for the eleventh year in a row, signifying Nissan’s spot among the top 25 percent of the automotive manufacturing industry for superior energy management.

Also Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant has been continuing to strengthen its energy policies. The Chattanooga facility is the first and only LEED Platinum certified automotive plant worldwide.

The plant has a solar park with 33,000 solar panels on 66 acres with a capacity of 9.5 million watts. Volkswagen also utilizes an advanced painting process that reduces CO2 emissions by 20 percent, and power efficient light bulbs installed in various lighting systems on site saves an estimated 20 percent energy compared to conventional industrial lighting.

TAEBC Hosts Panel Discussion with Nationally Recognized Energy Innovators

Some of the nation’s most powerful thought leaders in energy innovation convened in Chattanooga late last month, including the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council. More than 150 attendees from universities, industry and federal agencies participated in the Southeast Regional Energy Innovation Workshop.

The forum, designed to advance clean energy technology innovation in the region, was hosted by the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and provided an opportunity to explore ways universities, industries and national labs and other federal agencies can drive rapid innovation of technologies for use in the marketplace.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 9.43.45 PMTAEBC hosted a panel discussion titled Clean Energy Innovations, moderated by TAEBC’s Cortney Piper. Other panelists included Tom King; ORNL; David Wade, COO, EPB; and Platt Boyd, CEO Branch Technology.

The panel addressed such topics as how working with a national lab and regional universities can help solve problems by focusing on a key problem.

Panelists offered the top three best practices to engage with national lab and research universities including:

• Collaborating on a specific problem (for example, grid modernization and 3-D car printing);
• Collaborating on a big problem (organizations need to think on a large scale, engaging and using the appropriate resources);
• Agreeing on a clear objective and clear vision (all parties must agree on the overall goal and outcomes).

Other topics covered during the panel included the existing and potential economic impact on the region from clean energy innovations and the most pressing clean energy question for the Southeast.

Panelists agreed that resources, affordability and reliability remain the most pressing concerns for clean energy development. Participants referenced TAEBC’s Economic Impact Report, reinforcing the fact that Tennessee is well-positioned to become a national and international leader in the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy marketplace.

Overall, the panel concluded that in order for clean energy innovation to continue to expand throughout the region, impact must be demonstrated and investment must be made on full scale deployments to show the impact of new innovations.

In addition to workshops, ORNL announced during the forum that the national lab would be expanding to the Chattanooga area by opening a Downtown office. ORNL Director Thom Mason said that ORNL will continue to partner with EPB, a municipally-owned utility, on researching the performance, security, and efficiency of Chattanooga’s electrical system. This research can be applied to make power systems nationwide cleaner, safer and more efficient.

The Southeast Energy Innovation Workshop further supports TAEBC’s mission of championing advanced energy development in the region, recognizing that the area is uniquely situated with its focus on advanced manufacturing for automotive, aerospace and wind; carbon fiber manufacturing; nuclear energy technology development; grid technology enhancements; microgrids, photovoltaics; materials by design; and energy storage.

TAEBC appreciated the opportunity to lead a discussion during the forum and will continue to participate in similar workshops that support the mission of supporting advanced energy development as an economic driver in the region.

To view photos from the event, click here.

Oak Ridge National Lab to Open Chattanooga Office

TAEBC Charter member, Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced during the Southeast Regional Innovation Energy Workshop held in Chattanooga earlier this week that they will soon open an office in downtown Chattanooga. TAEBC moderated a panel discussion during the workshop, which in addition to ORNL, was also sponsored by TAEBC Charter member, The University of Tennessee.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, ORNL is readying an office at EPB, where researchers from the lab have been studying the city-owned utility’s pioneering smart grid and fiber optic system.

Logo_ORNLORNL Director Thom Mason told the Times Free Press the first staffers will be those already working with EPB on the smart grid. Mason said he hopes the initiative will grow over time.

Opening a Chattanooga office to help spread anCity-Seald commercialize innovations from ORNL is part of a natural extension of the Oak Ridge facilities, Mason said.

“We are proud of our past and the ‘secret city’ that was built in Oak Ridge during World War II, but today, the Oak Ridge lab is primarily an open science and energy lab,” he said. “The work that we do only achieves its full potential when it turns into technology that gets deployed and [is] in products that people buy and services that are sold.”

The lab does the research, but does not bring the fruits of its discoveries to the marketplace. That’s what backers of the outreach office hope Chattanooga businesses will do.

Oak Ridge also has a major weapons production facility operated by the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is building a $6.5 billion uranium processing facility to replace its aging Y-12 weapons complex. Forty-two Chattanooga businesses have bid for work on the uranium processing facility, which will be the largest construction project ever in Tennessee.

Chattanooga will soon be involved in a $2.4 million initiative by EPB to build solar installations in Sale Creek and near downtown as part of a TVA pilot program. Over the past two years, ORNL researchers studying EPB’s smart grid have worked to develop ways to analyze and use all of the extra information and data collected by the system. EPB uses technology called Intelliruptors to detect problems earlier, restore power more quickly when problems develop and allow for better planning and load management.

Mason said that, as a laboratory, “We’re used to experiments, and this new office is a bit of an experiment in itself” in expanding the reach of DOE’s scientific studies.

“Given the collaboration we already have with EPB involving their smart grid, this seems like a natural place to start in Chattanooga,” Mason said.

“We’re doing a lot of work on additive manufacturing and 3-D printing which there is obvious interest in by a number of businesses in Chattanooga. For the SIM Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, modular computing and simulation is a signature strength of Oak Ridge (with the world’s second-fastest computer). There are a number of areas of possibilities, so what we want to start with is having a liaison to better connect Chattanooga to our lab and all we have to offer.”

Congratulations to ORNL. TAEBC looks forward to supporting our Charter member’s continued expansion throughout Tennessee.

Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press

 

It All Began in Chattanooga: DC Delegate Reflects on Recent Visit and Culmination of TAEBC Initiatives

by Cortney Piper, Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council

When members of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) visited Washington, DC in September as delegates to the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit, the trip marked the importance the Volunteer State plays in the nation’s advanced energy economy.

ssistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy David Danielson introduces new efforts during the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit in Washington, DC

Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy David Danielson introduces new efforts during the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit held in Washington, DC in late September. 

While the trip provided an opportunity to showcase Oak Ridge National Lab’s (ORNL) achievements in United States (US) clean energy manufacturing competitiveness, it also gave delegates a chance to reflect on TAEBC’s achievements over the past few years and how those successes helped lead to a productive DC visit, culminating in the announcement of two new efforts by Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy David Danielson.

Those efforts include a national laboratory-industry collaboration pilot and a competitive solicitation to leverage national labs’ high-performance computing capabilities—to strengthen US clean energy manufacturing competitiveness.

I remember when TAEBC first captured the attention of Assistant Secretary Danielson in Chattanooga in 2014. The Assistant Secretary visited the city to learn more about how public and private partnerships can help businesses access assets for clean energy manufacturing; he listened to what TAEBC is doing to champion advanced energy in the Southeast and heard feedback from the private sector regarding how best to access and leverage federal energy assets in the state.

Bringing big and small businesses together with our advanced energy assets and a unified mission means everything to the advanced energy economy. Assistant Secretary Danielson carried many of the ideas shared, from Chattanooga to DC, and those ideas were reflected in the announcement in September of the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy sector’s most recent efforts as well as the Small Business Voucher Program announced in July.

Participating in the DC trip and witnessing the focus placed on Tennessee throughout the Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit clearly demonstrated that TAEBC continues to provide value to the membership by putting a national spotlight on the region. The Department of Energy (DOE) is listening and recognizing Tennessee for what we have and what we can achieve.

We began TAEBC as a business council designed to educate public officials and business leaders about Tennessee’s advanced energy assets, connecting assets with opportunities to create economic impact, and informing policy that expands and strengthens the industry.

We continue to support Tennessee in its effort to shine as a leader in this $1.3 trillion global market, helping economic development stakeholders attract businesses to the state, creating jobs for residents. Assistant Secretary Danielson’s recent announcements are examples of the growth and advancement that are central to TAEBC’s mission.

We have much to be proud of, much work to achieve and much more opportunities to discover. Let’s remember that our work matters; our goals are clear; and we have Washington‘s ear.

Thank you to all fellow delegates who helped bring home the message to DC that Tennessee holds the key to powering advanced energy throughout the nation.

TAEBC hosts second roundtable in Chattanooga with U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Dr. David Danielson

More than 20 business executives and government leaders attended the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) roundtable in Chattanooga on Friday, July 10.

The event featured Dr. David Danielson, U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary, who discussed DOE’s new priorities and initiatives and how the private sector can take advantage of these resources. He engaged in a dialogue with attendees about what they are working on and how his office can engage with their businesses.

City of Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke also spoke at the event about the importance of advanced energy on the local economy and his administration.

Assistant Secretary Dave Danielson stated that clean energy manufacturing has made tremendous progress over the past decade, and that it’s a revolution now, not in the distant future. The Southeast, especially Tennessee, is poised to capture a slice of the $1.3 trillion, global advanced energy market.

Assistant Secretary Danielson urged TAEBC members to visit his department in Washington, D.C. (click here to apply for our TAEBC member September trip to D.C.) and to visit with the staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He was complimentary of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council’s approach to fostering the growth of advanced energy technologies, companies and jobs.

He discussed the importance of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) in Knoxville and the new Small Business Vouchers Pilot program, a public-private partnership that will connect clean energy innovators across the country with the top-notch scientists, engineers and world-class facilities at our national laboratories (ORNL received the largest award at $5.6 million).

The need to connect companies, America’s national labs and Tennessee’s research assets was once again a common theme expressed in the roundtable.

Thank you to Signal Energy and its CEO, Ben Fischer for hosting the roundtable.

Click here to visit TAEBC’s Flickr album to view photos from the event.