KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (July 19, 2023) – The Spark Cleantech Accelerator at the University of Tennessee Research Park is excited to announce the participants of their second annual accelerator cohort. The cohort is made up of a diverse group of founders working to commercialize a wide variety of promising cleantech and climatetech products, ranging from solar, to biochar, to algae. Founders will join from as close as the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and from as far as Nairobi, Kenya. 

“We are thrilled to welcome this new cohort of entrepreneurs to Knoxville next month,” said Lilly Tench, Director of the Spark Cleantech Accelerator. “Spark mentors and staff are passionate about working with innovative cleantech startups and connecting them with resources in East Tennessee to grow their businesses here and positively impact the environment.”

The Spark Cleantech Accelerator will kick-off on August 21st and will culminate in a Demo Day on November 15th as part of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council Opportunities in Energy event. The 12-week program will provide mentorship, connections, stipends, prototyping services, and business acceleration services to help early stage cleantech entrepreneurs commercialize new innovations. The programming will also connect the selected entrepreneurs with support, guidance, and partnership opportunities from local entities such as Oak Ridge National Lab, the University of Tennessee, the City of Knoxville, Tennessee Valley Authority, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council, Launch Tennessee, and the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center.

Spark Cleantech Accelerator 2023 Cohort 2:

Farm to Flame, Stefano Alva, Pittsburgh, PA. 

Farm to Flame Energy provides industrial manufacturing facilities the ability to repurpose their biomass waste into heating and/or electricity through an Energy as a Service business model. Their patented combustion process allows them to achieve a high combustion efficiency, which results in a smokeless and odorless burn from a variety of feedstocks that are typically unsuitable for energy generation.

Aligned Composites Technology, Pritesh Yeole & Vinit Dilipbhai Chaudhary, Knoxville, TN. 

Aligned Composites Technology (ACT) is a University of Tennessee based company specializing in carding technology for the production of nonwoven mats specifically designed for fiber reinforced composites, with a focus on recycled carbon and natural fibers. By precisely aligning and blending fibers, they create anisotropic nonwoven mats with consistent and uniform fiber distribution. With their cutting-edge solutions, sustainable practices, and commitment to excellence, they create lightweight, durable, and high-performance aligned nonwoven preforms for a wide range of applications including automotive, medical equipment, sporting goods, infrastructure and more.

Vitruvian, Chris Sentz, Columbus, OH. 

Vitruvian is reshaping housing with its autonomous construction platform that produces highly desirable homes at a fraction of the cost, build time, and labor of conventionally built homes. The company exists at the convergence of robotics, advanced materials, and artificial intelligence; empowering building in ways that are otherwise impossible.

INNO-NEAT Energy Solutions, Godfrey Simiyu Katiambo, Nairobi, Kenya

INNO-NEAT Energy Solutions is dedicated to addressing the global challenge of clean drinking water access. Their flagship product, Safisolar, is a solar-powered water filter that provides a sustainable and affordable solution for communities facing water scarcity and contamination issues. Safisolar combines innovative technology with solar energy to remove contaminants, including bacteria and viruses from water sources, ensuring safe and clean drinking water. The system incorporates advanced membrane filtration technologies to achieve high-quality water purification. It is portable, easy to use, and requires minimal maintenance. The system is offered to low-income off-grid communities through a Pay-as-you-Go model thereby lowering the costs of ownership for these communities.

Algaeo, Nicholas Sokol, Knoxville, TN.

Algaeo creates systems that help farmers produce sustainable, efficient, and organic fertilizers on site using micro-algae and AI driven hardware. Algae grows quickly, takes carbon dioxide from the air, and are easily grown under a variety of conditions. Algae fertilizer has been shown to boost yield on a variety of crops and help farmers boost their soil health. Through Algaeo, farmers can purchase algae fertilizer directly, or buy the equipment to grow their own fertilizer. 

Agri-Tech Producers, Joe James, Columbia, SC.

Agri-Tech Producers uses their patented Combined Remediation and Bio-Product Production Process to plant then multi-task fast and large-growing Bio-Crops, to cost-effectively capture large amounts of atmospheric CO 2, remediate air, soil and water, and produce a variety of Bio-Products, in which the captured Carbon can be sequestered.  

The Spark Cleantech Accelerator is a program of the Spark Innovation Center at the University of Tennessee Research Park. The accelerator was created in partnership with Evergreen Climate Innovations (previously Clean Energy Trust) and other partners, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the City of Knoxville, LaunchTN, and the Truist Foundation.

About the Spark Innovation Center

The Spark Innovation Center is an initiative of the University of Tennessee Research Park, and builds on the facilities and expertise at the University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Spark offers promising energy technology companies access to top-quality lab space, expert mentoring, and coordinating support services from nine partner organizations in the region. For more information, visit

About University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm

The University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm is the gateway for collaboration between UT’s flagship university and external partners. The 150-acre park has four buildings and a fifth under construction that will total 365,000 square feet, and 15 tenants employing 675 employees. The Research Park focuses on five major gateways:  advanced materials and manufacturing, mobility, clean energy, human health and wellness, and AI and collaborative intelligence. For more information, visit