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

ACMA launches Composites Recycling Conference in Tennessee

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), Arlington, Virginia, has announced the conference program for its inaugural Composites Recycling Conference, set for April 10-12, 2018, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The conference program features the technology and business developments in composites recycling presented by leading experts from U.S. and around the world.

The conference program features panel discussions and presentations from notable companies, including Owens Corning, Ashland, Airbus and the Composite Recycling Technology Center. The program covers a range of topics and industry advancements in composites recycling, including the pyrolysis process capable of recovering glass and carbon fibers; recycling and reusing thermoplastic and thermoset carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRPs) in the aviation market; and state-of-the-art recycling technology.

Industry experts and business leaders will share new and existing incentives for recycling and waste reduction that are reducing costs and making the business case for composites recycling.

Additionally, the conference features preconference and postconference tours of leading institutes in the Knoxville area that focus on composites manufacturing and end-of-life recycling. Attendees will have the option to tour IACMI — The Composites Institute Lab at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Manufacturing Demonstration Facility as well as Local Motors. These tours offer an opportunity to see how government funded laboratories are addressing their challenges, ACMA says, including developing a robust and scalable composite recycling methodology as well as how a local manufacturer is creating products from recycled carbon fiber.

Read more here.

Tennessee sees significant solar job growth in 2017

U.S. solar industry jobs increased in numerous states with emerging solar markets, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2017, the eighth annual report on solar employment released by The Solar Foundation.

Solar jobs increased in 29 states and the District of Columbia in 2017, including many states with emerging solar markets. States with significant job gains of 20 percent or higher include Tennessee, Utah, Montana, Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maine.

Tennessee specifically reported a 24% year to year growth, increasing from 3,548 solar jobs in 2016 to 4,411 solar jobs in 2017.

The Volunteer State now ranks #14 in the nation for solar jobs with a 2017 ratio of solar workers to overall workforce of 1 in every 668 people, according to the Solar Foundation’s State-by-State break down.

(Credit: Solar Foundation, Solar Job Census)

The long-term trend shows significant jobs growth nationwide. The solar workforce increased by 168 percent in the past seven years, from about 93,000 jobs in 2010 to over 250,000 jobs in 2017.

Other key findings from the National Solar Jobs Census 2017 include:

Demand-side sectors (installation, sales & distribution, and project development) make up almost 78 percent of overall solar industry employment, while manufacturing makes up 15 percent.

The solar industry is more diverse than comparable industries, but more needs to be done to ensure it is representative of the greater U.S. population.

Click here for more information.

EMN company Stone Mountain Technologies closes multi-million dollar Round-A investment

Energy Mentor Network company Stone Mountain Technologies Inc. (SMTI) has closed on a Round-A investment vehicle with a strategic investor.

The multi-million dollar capital infusion will allow SMTI to increase development velocity of its ultra-high efficiency space and water heating technology, supplementing the recently announced $2.7 million grant from the US Department of Energy.

“In addition to the capital investment, our new strategic partner brings high volume and quality HVAC component manufacturing expertise to the table, which will smooth our transition from R&D to manufacturing over the next 24 to 30 months,” said Michael Garrabrant, President & CEO of SMTI. “We have a shared vision the technology under development at SMTI will be a major player in the global space and water heating market in the near future.”

Stone Mountain Technologies, based in Johnson City, Tennessee, is an early-stage venture developing the next generation of high efficiency heating appliances for homes and businesses. SMTI’s technology, based on its gas absorption thermodynamic cycle, can be harnessed across a wide variety of applications, including space, water, and pool heating.

SMTI is developing partnerships with original equipment manufacturers that sell heating appliances such as furnaces, boilers, and water heaters. SMTI will manufacture its core enabling technology in Tennessee. This enables OEMs around the world to offer customized appliances to their customers with total fuel efficiencies of approximately 140% and outstanding economics.

Volkswagen outlines plan for electric future at LA Auto Show

(Note: This article was originally published at The News Wheel.)

Volkswagen unveiled the I.D. concept family, a new line of electric vehicles, at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show and said it hopes to start producing EVs in the United States by 2023, pointing to its Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant as the location where it might happen.

In October, the German automaker’s board approved a €34 billion investment in electric mobility and autonomous driving capabilities over the next five years. Its goal is to make a million electric cars a year by 2025 and become the world’s largest electric auto manufacturer.

Starting with Volvo earlier this year (if we count out Tesla), several other brands have recently announced their commitment to an electrified future of mobility. At the LA Auto Show, Volkswagen introduced the new I.D. line of electric vehicles, including the Crozz and the Buzz, the former and SUV and the latter a redesign of the automaker’s famous 1960s minibus.

Read the full story here.