Tennessee small business chosen to work with ORNL on clean energy tech

Nano Elements Source, LLC, located in McDonald, Tennessee has been selected to work alongside the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to help their technology get closer to the marketplace.

20L of fermentation mixture ready for nanoparticle separation. Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

20L of fermentation mixture ready for nanoparticle separation. Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The business is among 43 selected to participate in the second round of DOE’s Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot. With these vouchers, the businesses can take advantage of the department’s National Laboratory System and bring their next-generation clean energy technologies to the marketplace faster. The 43 awards total more than $8 million and are worth up to $300,000 each at a lab.

Nano Elements Source, LLC, was chosen along with five others to collaborate with ORNL. The company will work with the national lab to further commercialize the production of low cost, cadmium free photoluminescent nanoparticles for applications in solid-state lighting.

“The team at Oak Ridge has the best experience and the best alignment of resources we could have asked for. It’s exactly what we need at this stage of our business. This SBV award gives us the chance at succeeding,” said Dr. Beth Papanek, Vice President of Business Development at Nano Elements Source, LLC.

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Dr. Beth Papanek, Vice President of Business Development at Nano Elements Source, LLC

The business is a biotech startup offering affordable, environmentally-conscious quantum dot cores. The nanoparticles are in the center of the quantum dots, and they are particles that emit light. Quantum dots are commonly used in consumer electronics such as TV screens and tablets. Quantum dots are considered more energy efficient than LED lights, because unlike LEDs that have to filter out all the other light colors to get the desired color on an electronic device, quantum dots emit the desired color right away without producing excess amounts of light. They ultimately use less electricity to get the same desired picture on a TV screen or tablet.

Nanoparticles and quantum dot cores go hand-in-hand. The way nanoparticles are currently produced now is energy-intensive and environmentally unfriendly because they produce hazardous waste. But Nano Elements Source, LLC has come up with a natural process that will produce high-quality quantum dots without consuming as much energy through using bacteria and fermentation.

Nanofermentation reduces the required energy consumption by operating at 70℃ with no additional mechanical inputs. By comparison, current technologies for nanoparticle production include harmful chemicals, temperatures from 400-600℃ and mechanical grinding to reduce the size of the particles. These methods make the energy requirements and cost for producing the particles extremely high. The reduction in heat and processing through fermentation greatly improves the energy efficiency of producing quantum dot cores.

For a look at the other businesses that will be working with ORNL, click here.

ARiES Energy, Signal Energy make 2016 Top 500 North American Solar Contractors List

TAEBC members ARiES Energy and Signal Energy got recognized as some of North America’s best solar contractors by ranking in the top 500 solar companies in the country.

signalEnergyConstructorsSignal Energy was ranked in the top 10, while ARiES achieved a rank of 461 out of 500 solar companies. Solar Power World magazine created the Top 500 Solar Contractors List. The list is designed to observe solar contractors’ work across the U.S. and Canada. The companies who made the list make a lasting impact in the industry by providing jobs and offering electricity consumers more options.

The list describes the company’s location, how many employees it has, its primary market, and details its primary service. Ranks are determined by the number of megawatts a company was involved with installing in 2015 in North America only. If two companies reported the same 2015 numbers, they were sorted by total megawatts installed.

According to the list, Signal Energy installed 377 total megawatts for 2015 alone. By also employing 127 people, the company has managed to build more than 989 megawatts since it was founded in 2005 in Chattanooga.

This comes as Signal Energy also achieved an overall ranking of 6 as one of 2015’s Top Solar EPCs. Solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies are the face of the industry. They design, build and maintain solar projects. They also work directly with solar consumers with their work involving installations ranging from single-kilowatt rooftop arrays to multi-megawatt utility projects.

ariesblackbackgroundAs for ARiES Energy, the company installed 0.21 total megawatts for 2015. With 14 employees, ARiES Energy overall has produced 2.24 megawatts of energy since it was founded in 2011 in Knoxville.

For a look at Signal Energy’s website and how you can learn more about the company, click here.

If you would like to learn more about ARiES Energy and the products and services it provides, click here.

Tennessee technology suppliers ready to meet fuel efficiency standards

Technology suppliers in Tennessee are ready to help pave the way to develop and manufacture high-efficiency, low-carbon technologies for big trucks, buses and other large vehicles. It’s all in an effort to meet new national standards for fuel efficiency in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles on America’s roadways.

In the first-ever attempt to gauge the scope of the United States’ high-efficiency technology supplier sector for heavy-duty trucks and buses, CALSTART looked over businesses and identified and mapped 255 companies.  The firms range from vehicle manufacturers to component suppliers to technology developers. Of those companies, 4 of them are in Tennessee.

  1. Hankook Tire in Clarksville develops three new tires that maintain the best driving performance while also keeping in mind climate change due to global warming.
  2. Bridgestone in Nashville creates new tire designs with narrower treads, larger diameters and higher inflation pressure to reach maximum fuel efficiency thanks to “ologic” technology.
  3. Spicerparts located in Gordonsville makes driveshaft technology in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that are light-weight, lower cost and last longer on the open road with vibration control.
  4. Magneti Marelli in Pulaski offers advanced solutions for diesel engines while respecting the environment. The company creates a Multijet system which reduces pollutants and noise, a system that’s catching on around the world.

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles make up about 20 percent of GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions and oil use for U.S. transportation but are only about 5 percent of the vehicles on the road.

Proterra, Inc. battery electric buses are jumpstarting Nashville’s zero-emission mass transit system. (Courtesy: Proterra, Inc. & Cleantechnica)

Proterra, Inc. battery electric buses are jumpstarting Nashville’s zero-emission mass transit system. (Courtesy: Proterra, Inc. & Cleantechnica)

Businesses that rely on large trucks and buses know that more efficient vehicles save money, and reduced fuel use is a fundamental driver for heavy-duty efficiency technologies. But as the report makes clear, many companies support strong national standards because they help signal future technology needs, provide clear goals and reduce risk for making investments.

For example, Proterra, Inc. has been working alongside Nashville’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) since February 2014. MTA announced last year it purchased nine 35-foot Proterra EcoRide™ electric buses, which will help with Nashville’s zero-emission mass transit system. Proterra, Inc. is a leading provider in making zero-emission, battery-electric buses.

Proterra, Inc. buses can last for up to 12 years and during that time it’ll save Nashville around $462,000 compared to diesel, making them 64% more cost-effective to operate than diesel.

For a look at the Heavy-Duty High Efficiency Technology Suppliers interactive map and it’s influence in Tennessee, click here.