Report spotlights importance of DOE to Tennessee economy and region

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation is an economic engine for the state of Tennessee, according to a report released by the East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC). The report studied the effects of DOE’s investment in Tennessee in fiscal year 2017.

This report details the scope and scale of DOE’s impact on Tennessee’s economy. It examined job creation, state GDP growth, private-sector procurements, payroll and pension disbursement, state and local tax contributions, and community development conferred on the state by DOE, as well as the ripple effects of this spending.

Key findings from the report include:

  • DOE’s economic impact on the state of Tennessee equals $5.6 billion.

           Tennessee’s gross domestic product increased by approximately $3.4 billion as a result of overall spending by DOE and its contractors. Additionally, $2.2 billion in total personal income was generated by DOE–related activities in the state.

  • More than 34,000 full-time jobs are supported by DOE activities, with a workforce that spans 50 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

           12,618 jobs were directly created by DOE and its contractors in Tennessee. An additional 21,878 jobs were generated by the indirect effects of DOE investment. For every one job created by DOE and its contractors, an additional 1.7 jobs were created across the state.

  • The private sector supports DOE’s missions in Oak Ridge.

           Of the approximately $1.1 billion in non-payroll spending from DOE and its contractors, more than $943 million went to Tennessee businesses for the procurement of raw materials, services, and supplies.

  • Over $32 million in state and local taxes were generated by DOE-related spending.

           A portion of these tax dollars enable the City of Oak Ridge to provide critical infrastructure to support DOE missions and also funds education and schools.

“This report confirms that the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation is critical to the state’s economic success,” ETEC president Jim Campbell said. “The men and women who work in Oak Ridge deploy science and engineering innovation to make Tennesseans’ quality of life better, our planet healthier and our nation safer.”

Beyond the billions in economic gain, the report confirmed substantial community and educational benefits from DOE’s presence in Tennessee. DOE and its contractors gave over $2.4 million in charitable donations in 2017. They contributed more than $627,000 to education initiatives in East Tennessee. DOE facilities in Oak Ridge attracted over 50,000 visitors, a number poised to grow from heritage tourism due to the recently announced Manhattan Project National Historical Park and History Museum to commemorate Oak Ridge’s role in ending World War II.

Oak Ridge is integral to our national security and nuclear nonproliferation efforts. It is home to leading scientists and researchers and nearly 2,300 patents and licenses, 127 of which were secured in 2017. State-of-the-art facilities enable these experts to conduct transformative science and technological research to tackle global dilemmas. These assets cement Tennessee’s stature in scientific leadership. Leading firms and experts in energy, nuclear technology, advanced manufacturing, computing and artificial intelligence are drawn to the region to partner with expertise found in Oak Ridge.

Research on DOE’s economic impact in the state of Tennessee in FY2017 was conducted in part by a Booz Allen Hamilton economist and initiated by the East Tennessee Economic Council.

To read the full report visit, https://eteconline.org/initiatives/doe-eis-fy17

ORNL welcomes new entrepreneurial research fellows to Innovation Crossroads

Oak Ridge National Laboratory welcomed a second group of technology innovators to join Innovation Crossroads, the Southeast’s only entrepreneurial research and development program based at a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory.

Selected through a merit-based process, these scientists and engineers will have access to world-class science expertise and capabilities at ORNL, including Titan, the nation’s most powerful supercomputer; the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, DOE’s largest advanced manufacturing research center; and the Spallation Neutron Source, offering atomic-level insight into advanced materials. The innovators also will be partnered with a powerful network of mentoring organizations in the Southeast to help them develop business strategies to advance their breakthroughs to market.

Read more at ORNL.gov

Passage of FY 2018 Omnibus Bill means more funding for DOE, ORNL programs

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) celebrated the conclusion of the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018) appropriations process. The Omnibus bill, signed by President Trump, includes $34.5 billion in funding for the DOE.

Some highlights from the package include:

  • $6.3 billion for Science research programs
  • $2.3 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
  • $353 million for The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)

The DOE budget provides funding for critical priorities, including over $500 million to advance exascale computing and over $100 million for cybersecurity to protect electric grid and energy infrastructure.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the new spending deal provides a record 16 percent increase in funding for the Office of Science, which will support the work happening at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The passage of the spending bill also signifies a 15 percent increase to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s budget. At ORNL, vehicle technology research, building technologies, advanced manufacturing, weatherization and biomass fuel research all fall under EERE.

ARPA-E, a high-risk, high-reward, government research incubator, the budget deal boosts it by $47 million. ORNL participates in 11 ARPA-E projects, five of which it is the leader on.

It should be noted the bill also includes $50 million more than last year for advanced manufacturing. $20 million of that will fund ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility and $14 million will fund ORNL and the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation.

Click here for the full story from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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. 

EMN company Stone Mountain Technologies Inc. awarded DOE BENEFIT funding award

The Building Technologies Office (BTO) announced it is investing up to $15.8 million in 13 projects, including EMN Company Stone Mountain Technologies Inc.’s HVAC&R project, that will drive innovation in early-stage research and development for advanced building technologies.

These innovations will serve as a foundation for future technological developments and reductions in building energy consumption. DOE has said the outcomes and advancements of the selected technologies will ultimately result in improving the efficiency of our nation’s buildings and will help Americans save energy.

The Building Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT FOA) awards this year span the building technology innovation spectrum, from novel materials exploration that will lead to more efficient insulation and windows, to exploration and validation of both electric- and fuel-driven hybrid vapor compression technologies for more efficient heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC&R), as well as advanced control algorithms, modeling, and analytics for reducing the power consumption of miscellaneous electric loads (MELs).

Stone Mountain Technologies Inc. will validate and analyze a gas-fired absorption heat pump that uses an ammonia-water absorption cycle.

SMTI is a leading developer of cost effective, next generation heating technologies using sorption heat pump cycles. The company’s “thermal compressor” products enable a major leap forward in the way homes, businesses, and water are heated, reducing energy costs, improving comfort, and lowering CO2 emissions.

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.