(Originally published on Venture Nashville Connections)
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MITCH ISHMAEL PhD and his colleagues at Active Energy Systemsare working to solve one of the world’s biggest energy problems in a lab space so small that one can nearly touch its opposite walls with both hands.
During an interview for this story, Co-Founder Ishmael and a visiting journalist squeezed between a desk bearing the company’s first and second prototypes and a window overlooking the parking lot of Knox County’s Fairview Technology Center (FTC).
“I think it used to be the principal’s office,” when the building served as a schoolhouse, said Ishmael.
The FTC incubator that provides office and lab space for Active Energy sits just outside Knoxville city limits and about 10 miles from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
The incubator also supports seven other startups led by entrepreneurs fresh from doctoral and post-doctoral studies as they pursue commercialization of Clean Energy technologies with assistance from the two-year-old Innovation Crossroads(IC) program.
IC is a public-private partnership created and managed by ORNL, with backing from units of the U.S. Department of Energy. Federal funding for ORNL’s IC program has thus far totaled nearly $7MM.
The IC will begin taking applications for its 2019 Clean Energy cohort in September.
A rundown on all participating startups and related comments from program lead Tom Rogers are in our accompanying story, here.