Garrabrant provides update on SMTI during annual “Opportunities in Energy” forum

(Originally published on Teknovation.biz)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

It’s always good to see progress being made at start-ups that we have followed since launching teknovation.biz in January 2012, and that was the case at last week’s annual “Opportunities in Energy” forum hosted by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC).

Michael Garrabrant, Chief Executive Officer of Stone Mountain Technologies Inc. (SMTI), told attendees that the 10-year old company now has 16 engineers and technicians on the staff, has produced 30 prototypes, and will have a dozen of its thermal compressors deployed as a key component of gas heat pumps for space, water and pool heating made by the end of the year.

“Everyone likes to come home to a nice warm house and hot shower,” the Johnson City-based Entrepreneur said. SMTI is one of the participants in TAEBC’s “Energy Mentor Network,” a program funded by Launch Tennessee.

Garrabrant says the technology that he has been developing since founding the company in 2008 is relevant for residential and light commercial. The thermal compressors will be manufactured by SMTI but deployed as part of a heat pump or other device produced by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

Read more here.

Don’t miss TAEBC’s Opportunities in Energy event!

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council invites you to its year-end, annual event “Opportunities in Energy”

Relevant topics to today’s ever-changing energy economy and how Tennessee is becoming a leader in the advanced energy sector fill the agenda including:

Featured Panel: A look inside TVA’s partnership with Innovation Crossroads, Cohort 3 For the first time, TVA is providing funding to support the next cohort of energy entrepreneurs for ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads. How will this partnership shape Cohort 3?

  • Amy Henry, Sr. Manager, Enterprise Relations and Strategic Partnership, TVA
  • Tom Rogers, Director of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Sam Shaner, Yellowstone Energy
  • Mitchell Ishmael, Active Energy Systems
  • Moderated by: Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA & Editor, Teknovation.biz

EMN Spotlight: Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc. Hear this EMN company’s power pitch on next generation heating technologies, and learn more about their experience in the Energy Mentor Network.

  • Michael Garrabrant, CEO, Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc
  • Gary Rawlings, Technology Consultant, Oak Ridge National Lab
  • Steve Seifried, Account Executive for the Tennessee Region, Ameresco
  • Ira Weiss, Principal, Weiss Associates & Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Energy Mentor Network

Protecting our Power
As cybersecurity becomes a growing priority across the country, how is TVA protecting the grid?

  • Andrea Brackett, Director of Cybersecurity, Tennessee Valley Authority

TennSMART: Shaping the Future of Intelligent Mobility
Hear about TennSmart’s progress in accelerating the development and deployment of new intelligent mobility innovations in Tennessee.

  • Brad Rutherford, Vice President of Sales, Local Motors
  • Bob Booker, Senior Manager, Corporate Services Divison, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc.
  • Ron Espinosa, Regional Director Mid-Atlantic, SoftServe Inc
  • Moderated by: Jesse Smith, Manager of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development, Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

TN Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report, 2018 Findings
The numbers are in and Tennessee’s advanced energy sector is continuing to thrive! This panel will discuss TAEBC’s latest economic impact report and what this means for the state.

  • Stacey Patterson, Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development at the University of Tennessee
  • Denise Ganus, Future Offer Manager, Schneider Electric
  • Mary Beth Hudson, Vice President Wacker Polysilicon Division NCA, Site Manager Charleston at Wacker Polysilicon
  • Moderated by: Matt Murray, Director, Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

Energy Mentor Network Showcase
Meet some of our Energy Mentor Network companies as they present their entrepreneurial solutions for our nation’s energy challenges!

  • Shane McMahon, Lux Semiconductors
  • Justin Nussbaum, Ascend Manufacturing
  • Megan O’Connor, Nth Cycle
  • Moderated by: Anna Douglas, SkyNano

TCPoly developing thermally-conducted materials to improve heat dissipation

(NOTE: This is the final article in a five-part series spotlighting the work of the second cohort of start-ups comprising Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “Innovation Crossroads” initiative. They arrived in the area in May to begin their two-year effort to further advance their early stage energy-focuses companies.)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

“We decided we wanted to pursue a company and make something real out of our research,” Matt Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TCPoly Inc., told us.

The other part of the “we” equation is Co-Founder Thomas Bougher, a fellow classmate in the doctoral program at Georgia Institute of Technology. “We were doing our doctorates together and shared a small closet office with no windows for four years,” Smith said.

In October 2016, they launched TCPoly to develop a new class of high thermal conductivity plastic composite materials designed to improve heat dissipation, allowing for metal replacement and light-weighting, cost and component reductions, and improved performance and reliability. The materials also exhibit the unique ability to be 3D-printed, allowing thermal engineers to rapidly and inexpensively prototype multi-functional thermal solutions and enabling the design of heat transfer products that cannot be manufactured using traditional methods.

Today, Smith is participating in the second cohort of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads” initiative, while Bougher remains at the start-up’s home office in Atlanta. Both are engaged full-time in the new venture.

“We have complementary skills,” Smith says. His doctorate is in materials science and engineering, while Bougher’s is in mechanical engineering. They started the company with six 3D printers and a couple of polymer extruders housed in, you guessed it, Bougher’s garage.

Read more here.

Eonix Energy focused on significantly lowering cost, size of ultra-capacitor modules

(NOTE: This is the fourth article in a five-part series spotlighting the work of the second cohort of start-ups comprising Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “Innovation Crossroads” initiative. They arrived in the area in May to begin their two-year effort to further advance their early stage energy-focuses companies.)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

“What good is an energy storage device that doesn’t store a lot of energy?”

Don DeRosa, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Eonix Energy, has a plan to solve that challenge with a new high voltage electrolyte that will significantly lower the cost and size of ultra-capacitor modules. The resulting lower cost and smaller ultra-capacitor modules can be used in tandem with lithium ion batteries to dramatically improve the efficiency, range, and longevity of hybrid and electric vehicles.

The State of New York native, part of the second cohort of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads,” learned about the program through word of mouth, something that says a lot about the initiative’s growing national reputation.

“Shane (McMahon) told me about it, and he learned about the program from Mitch (Ishmael),” DeRosa said. Ishmael was in the inaugural cohort selected in 2017, while McMahon is part of the second group that started in May 2018.

“When I first found out about the program, I could not believe it,” DeRosa said, noting that it could significantly help him reach his goal of having a minimum viable product to scale by the time the two-year effort ends.

Read more here.

Two Innovation Crossroads Entrepreneurs named to Forbes 30 Under 30

(Originally published: Teknovation.biz)

Two Entrepreneurs in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads”initiative are among 600 individuals selected from across the U.S. and Canada for the “Forbes 30 Under 30” cohort for 2019.

Anna Douglas, Co-Founder of SkyNano Technologies, and Megan O’Connor, Co-Founder on Nth Cycle, made the prestigious list. They were two of 30 individuals selected from the energy sector, one of 20 industries that Forbes identified for recognition. A total of 30 up and coming leaders was identified in each industry group.

In making the announcement yesterday, Forbes said that “Everything old is new again with the 2019 edition of the “Forbes 30 Under 30,” our annual list chronicling the brashest entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada. From creating milk without cows to trucks without drivers, these innovators are shaking up some of the world’s stodgiest industries. Spanning 20 different industries, our collection of 600 young leaders and entrepreneurs embodies how fresh vision, powerful technology and unwavering optimism can combine into earthshaking companies and movements. From finance to food, fashion to philanthropy, these risk-takers are forever changing how America does business.”

Forbes chose the 600 from thousands of nominees through what it says was a “three-layer process that relies on the knowledge and authority of our wide-reaching community, skilled reporters and expert judges.” The magazine’s Editors worked closely with a panel of judges that included well-recognized individuals like Tory Burch (Art & Style), Craig Newmark (Education), Padma Lakshmi (Food & Drink), Jim Hackett and Eren Ozmen (Manufacturing & Industry), David Axelrod (Law & Policy), Kirsten Green (Retail & Ecommerce), Thomas Tull (Sports), and Arlan Hamilton and Alexis Ohanian (Venture Capital).

Read more here.