ORNL Innovation Crossroads program opens second round of energy entrepreneurial fellowships

Entrepreneurs are invited to apply for the second round of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Innovation Crossroads program.

Up to five innovators will receive a two-year post-doctoral entrepreneurial fellowship that includes vouchers worth up to $350,000 for collaborative research and development at ORNL, startup business guidance and mentoring, and health and travel benefits. Entrepreneurs selected during the merit-based process are expected to begin the program by May 2018.

Innovation Crossroads is one of three U.S. Department of Energy Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs designed to embed top technical post-doctoral talent within national labs as research fellows with goal of subsequently launching businesses. The program focuses on early-stage research and development along with entrepreneurial guidance to enable innovators to inject new ideas into the national labs and transform their novel ideas into U.S.-based companies.

“We are very excited to be recruiting our second cohort. We believe that as knowledge of the program spreads, we’re going to see an increasing number of relevant startup companies working in the energy and advanced manufacturing space,” said Beth Conerty, Project Manager for Entrepreneurship in ORNL’s Office of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development. “Even though we’ll only be selecting five, it’s great to get connected with these companies and see all the progress that is being made. Our first cohort has been so enjoyable to work with, and we’re looking forward to adding to that group and getting to meet more innovative scientists.”

Innovation Crossroads fellows have access to world-class research facilities and scientific expertise at ORNL, including the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, the National Transportation Research Center, the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, and the Spallation Neutron Source.

Through regional partnerships with entrepreneurial and business accelerator organizations, fellows also receive assistance with developing business strategies, conducting market research, introductions to potential commercial partners, and finding additional sources of funding.

The first cohort of Innovation Crossroads fellows began their terms this summer. These first-time entrepreneurs include Anna Douglas (SkyNano), who is developing a process that uses carbon dioxide as a feedstock to produce low-cost carbon nanotubes; Matthew Ellis and Samuel Shaner (Yellowstone Energy), who are jointly developing an advanced nuclear reactor design; and Mitchell Ishmael (Active Energy Systems), who is developing a system for low level heat recovery and energy storage.

Click here for the original ORNL announcement. 

Technov865 to showcase latest UTRF, ORNL technologies

Technov865 is promising a full line-up of the latest tech coming out of East Tennessee from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee Research Foundation.

The event will be held Tuesday, September 19 from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST at The Square Room in Market Square in Downtown Knoxville.

It will be an exclusive opportunity to meet and hear from the inventors, and the event will also feature several speakers with unique perspectives on innovation.

Jetta Wong, Senior Advisor at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), will serve as featured keynote speaker.

Jetta has over 14 years of experience developing programs and policies that support energy and environment technologies. Prior to joining LACI, Jetta Wong established the Office of Technology Transitions for the United States Department of Energy and served as its first Director. In that capacity, she assisted the private sector, state and local governments, universities, laboratories and other stakeholders and engaged with the Department on the commercialization of new technology.

If you’re interested in attending Technov865, click here.

Along with the inventors, leaders from TVA, UTRF, and ORNL will speak about the exciting innovation and technology happening at their organizations including:

  • Joe Hoagland, TVA’s Vice President of Stakeholder Relations
  • Stacey Patterson, Interim University of Tennessee Vice President for Research
  • Tom Rogers, Director of Industrial Partnerships & Economic Development at ORNL
  • Mike Paulus, Director of the Technology Transfer Office at ORNL

The Innovation Crossroads’ innovators will also be presenting during this event. Innovation Crossroads is a program based at ORNL that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with the experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from R&D to the marketplace.

Anna Douglas with SkyNano Technologies, Mitchell Ishmael with Active Energy Systems, and Matthew Ellis and Samuel Shaner with Yellowstone Energy were selected to transform their ideas into clean energy companies with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). These three teams will be giving presentations during Technov865.

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and Launch Tennessee provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads innovators.

Anna Douglas will also be pitching on Startup Day 2017 happening September 21, 2017 at the U.S. Cellular Stage at the Bijou Theatre. She will be competing for up to $15,000 in cash prizes, including the Startup Day 2017 Crowd Favorite Prize presented by SunTrust Bank.

Innovation Crossroads’ cohort one teams hiring research fellow

Innovation Crossroads has posted a job opening for interested applicants.

Each of the three teams within Cohort One are hiring a research fellow for a year.

Innovation Crossroads is a program based at ORNL that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with the experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from R&D to the marketplace.

Anna Douglas with SkyNano Technologies, Mitch Ishmael with Active Energy Systems, and Matthew Ellis and Samuel Shaner with Yellowstone Energy were selected to transform their ideas into clean energy companies with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and Launch Tennessee provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads innovators.

The Innovation Crossroads Applied Research Experience provides a mentored opportunity for pre-doctoral scientists and engineers to apply their education in support of an impact-driven research and development project at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Through participation in this prestigious program, participants will:

  • Be responsible for the planning and completion of a research-oriented project with direct impact on critical technical development milestones
  • Gain deep insights into energy technology commercialization through mentorship and participation in business development activities
  • Help develop innovative technologies that will have a real impact on the U.S. economy, environment, and society

Participants will receive a stipend to be determined by ORNL and the Advanced Manufacturing Office of the U.S. Department of Energy. Stipends are typically based on the participant’s academic standing, discipline and experience. In addition, participants will receive a stipend supplement to offset the costs of health insurance.

To read more about the eligibility requirements and to apply for this opportunity, click here.

TAEBC reflects on 2017 accomplishments so far

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council has been continuing its mission of championing advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy within the state.

Now that the year is more than halfway over, TAEBC wants to reinforce our commitment to our members and stakeholders:

  • Inform the national energy agenda.
  • Help Tennessee become the #1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.
  • Foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups.
  • Support TVA’s efforts to become the utility of the future.

As we look forward to the rest of 2017, TAEBC shares its accomplishments so far this year.

First, TAEBC hosted in February its Annual Meeting in Nashville. The meeting announced Mary Beth Hudson, Vice President Wacker Polysilicon NCA and Charleston, Tenn. Site Manager as well as Ryan Stanton, formerly with Schneider Electric, would serve as board members. Members also enjoyed hearing more about 2017’s energy outlook and opportunities. Clean Line Energy’s Executive Vice President and former DOE Assistant Secretary for former President George W. Bush’s administration Jimmy Glotfelty spoke about what we could expect in 2017.

This May, several TAEBC members had the opportunity to hear from Jay Stowe, Senior Vice President of Distributed Energy Resources at TVA during a listening session held in May. Members heard Jay’s thoughts on the state of the utility industry. They also got a chance to participate in active Q&A with Jay. This lead to a productive and open conversation and to a longer term relationship between TAEBC and TVA. In addition, TAEBC participates as a formal member in TVA’s newly formed stakeholder group: the “Distributed Generation – Information Exchange” or DG-IX for short.

Also, TAEBC and Launch Tennessee invited mentors to meet Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Innovation Crossroads’ Innovators. The event served as an opportunity for the Innovators to become acquainted with the Energy Mentor Network and its mentors. The Innovators were selected to work at Oak Ridge National Lab taking their next-generation ideas to solve some of our country’s greatest energy challenges. The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and Launch Tennessee provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovators.

The Energy Mentor Network has had several Tennessee advanced energy startups continue through the program with panel presentations and mentoring sessions. During its first year, EMN welcomed more than 20 mentors and five companies to the program, and it’s continuing to grow. EMN company Solar Site Design had the chance to pitch at the 36|86 Entrepreneurship and Technology Conference in June for a $50,000 cash prize. Solar Site Design was the only cleantech startup pitching.

Finally, TAEBC’s board also engages throughout the year with local and statewide government officials.

Remember to save the date for the next TAEBC event! The WACKER Polysilicon Plant Tour will be Wednesday, August 9 in Charleston, TN. We hope to see you there.

Pre-applications open for second cohort of Innovation Crossroads program

Energy entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to pre-apply to participate in the second Innovation Crossroads cohort.

The program at Oak Ridge National Lab, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, is providing a runway for innovators who will disrupt the energy economy.

Innovation Crossroads matches aspiring early stage energy researchers with the experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from R&D to commercial applications.

The first cohort of entrepreneurs was announced earlier this year.

Previous story: ORNL unveils five entrepreneurs, four companies in inaugural “Innovation Crossroads” cohort

Through an annual call, up to five entrepreneurs will be selected to work at Oak Ridge National Lab and transform their ideas and bring new ideas to the lab with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

Innovators will receive a fellowship that covers living costs, benefits and a travel stipend for up to two years, plus substantial financial support for collaborative research and development at ORNL. Each innovator will also be paired with a doctoral student from the University of Tennessee’s Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education for assistance with market research and customer discovery.

To pre-apply for the second Innovation Crossroads cohort, click here. The official application will open Tuesday, September 19.