Vote for Nth Cycle to win crowd favorite prize at 36|86

Have you cast your vote for the Crowd Favorite Award from the list of finalists for the LaunchTN Pitch Competition at the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival yet? Innovation Crossroads startup Nth Cycle is eligible to win — so start voting today!

The Crowd Favorite Award provides competing startups a chance to win $10,000 to invest in their business. Live poll results will appear on LaunchTN’s website until Aug. 12. Voting will end Aug. 29 at 12p.m. CT, one hour before the pitch competition starts. The winner will be announced at the end of the competition.

Nth Cycle is enrolled within TAEBC’s Energy Mentor Network. The network’s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry specific expertise. Nth Cycle will be pitching onstage representing TAEBC.

So don’t forget to cast your vote for the $10,000 Crowd Favorite Award!

Nth Cycle is developing a recycling technology that utilizes carbon nanotube membranes for enhanced separation and recovery of solid rare earth and specialty elements (RESE)-oxides.  If successful, this technology will provide a high-throughput electrochemical recovery process for recycling RESE as an alternative to the conventional energy-intensive extraction and refining processes currently used to obtain these metals for manufacturing.  She holds a PhD in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University and is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nth Cycle.

TVA Board of Directors Approves 2019 Final Integrated Resource Plan

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Board of Directors approved the 2019 Final Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) at its quarterly business meeting in Knoxville, Tenn. After a Record of Decision is published in September, TVA will retire its 2015 IRP and begin using the 2019 IRP as its long-term plan to meet energy demands over the next two decades.

TVA took input from stakeholders and the public during the 2019 IRP drafting process to make sure it continues to provide reliable, affordable and clean electricity throughout the region. Following the release of the draft IRP on Feb. 15, 2019, TAEBC submitted comments in April. The final 2019 IRP and associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were published in July. 

TVA updated its previous IRP to allow for a more dependable and flexible power-generation system that effectively leverages more renewable energy sources and distributed energy resources. According to the 2019 IRP’s Executive Summary, TVA found:

  • There is a need for new capacity in all scenarios to replace expiring or retiring capacity.
  • Solar expansion plays a substantial role in all futures.
  • Gas, storage and demand response additions provide reliability and/or flexibility.
  • No baseload resources (designed to operate around the clock) are added, highlighting the need for operational flexibility in the resource portfolio.
  • Additional coal retirements occur in certain futures.
  • Energy efficiency (EE) levels depend on market depth and cost-competitiveness.
  • Wind could play a role if it becomes cost-competitive.
  • In all cases, TVA will continue to provide for economic growth in the Tennessee Valley

For more information about the 2019 IRP, please visit TVA’s website.

Tennessee receives three federal EDA Regional Innovation Strategies grants

(Originally Published on LaunchTN.org)

LaunchTN, AgLaunch, and Epicenter to receive funds to help TN startups

Nashville, Tenn. – Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), a Nashville-based public-private partnership that fosters entrepreneurship across the state, along with Memphis-based nonprofits AgLaunch and Epicenter, were announced today as winners of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies competition.

AgLaunch, a multi-state organization headquartered in Memphis, and LaunchTN will receive federal funding in the amount of $750,000 and $500,000, respectively, in support of each organization’s innovation strategy programs. Epicenter will receive $289,500 in federal funding to support the operations of two early-stage capital funds. All of the grants require a local match, for which each organization has commitments.

The federal grants are made annually under the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program competition, but 2019 marks the first time that Tennessee has received more than one grant in a given year, and the first time since 2016 that a Tennessee organization has received an EDA grant.

“The fact that three Tennessee organizations were awarded EDA grants is a strong testament to the ecosystem we’re building,” said Margaret Dolan, president and CEO of LaunchTN. “It puts our state on a national stage as innovative and collaborative in our approach to building a state-wide network that supports entrepreneurs at every stage of development.”

Read more here.

Stone Mountain Technologies’ whirlwind year: from kicking off series A funding, exploring European expansion, to preparing for production and commercial launch

The Energy Mentor Network’s second graduate, Stone Mountain Technologies (SMTI), has been busy since its December 2018 graduation. Headquartered in Johnson City, SMTI is a leading developer of cost-effective, next-generation heating technologies that lead to lower energy costs, higher comfort and lower CO2 emissions. 

In the past few months, SMTI has closed its seed-round with nearly $3 million from two strategic investors, kicked off its Series A Round, launched several prototypes and sought market expansion to Europe. Later this month, the company will release details for a new grant that will demonstrate an exciting new feature for the base gas heat pump product.   

“It will provide heating, cooling, and water heating for homes at the lowest carbon footprint that we believe anybody has ever done. It is a huge deal for us to be able to demonstrate that technology over the next year or so,” remarked SMTI President Michael Garrabrant. “The buzz in the industry and the market is the highest it’s ever been and continues to grow as everybody sees that we are getting close to production and commercial launch.”

With product development, SMTI is starting to “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” Garrabrant spoke about implementing field test units in Los Angeles on two full-service restaurants, another in Chicago for a multi-unit apartment building, two in Wisconsin for residential spaces and in Montreal for testing at National Resources Canada.

“We may be building 200 more prototypes over the next twelve months, which will finish out product development and get us ready to launch commercial products,” outlined Garrabrant.

“Our focus is on one thing: getting into production and transitioning to a manufacturing company from a product development company,” he continued. “Once we launch, we’ll start out with 50 to 100 employees. But if we hit our targets over the next 10 years, there could be as many as 1,000 or 1,500 employees.”

SMTI is also interested in introducing its technology to the European market. After introducing its technology and company to major European heating and equipment manufacturers at a “dog and pony show” in Paris, SMTI continued the conversations at ISH, the world’s leading trade fair focusing on the responsible management of water and energy in buildings, in Frankfurt, Germany, this past March.

“We’ve got a lot of things going in North America, but we’re trying to get our foot in the door in Europe,” explained Garrabrant. “It’s been pretty successful so far since we graduated.” 

While enrolled in the Energy Mentor Network program, SMTI closed a multi-million dollar investment with a strategic investor and was awarded a $2.7 million U.S. Department of Energy grant in August 2017 to accelerate, with an OEM partner, the commercialization of its residential furnace replacement. SMTI was recently awarded a smaller follow-on grant from the DOE, which kicked off in July.

To learn more about the Energy Mentor Network and its mission to foster advanced energy technologies and startups throughout the state, visit this page.

Solar Site Design founder announces launch of next-generation distributed energy resource platform, new Chattanooga solar project

The Energy Mentor Network’s first graduate, Solar Site Design, announced the launch of a next-generation platform called Loyal.Energy in Q2 of 2019. Headquartered in Nashville, Solar Site Design is a collaborative, cloud-based marketplace platform that connects sales-ready commercial and industrial solar projects to solar construction companies.

Leveraging the same core technology and processes, Loyal.Energy broadens the commercial marketplace from a solar-only approach to include all distributed energy resource technologies, such as building performance, LED lighting and retrofit, HVAC, roofing, retail electric procurement and utility cost recovery.

“We’re proud of the early success of Loyal.Energy as we expand our origination platform offering to work with all Energy Service Providers,’” said Jason Loyet, founder of Solar Site Design and Loyal.Energy. “Loyal.Energy allows our champion originators to offer money saving solutions for the entire energy footprint for all commercial and industrial facilities across the Nation. We really believe that this is where the future of the energy space is headed.”

After spending nearly 15 years in the solar energy space, Loyet spoke with a growing number of commercial and industrial facilities who wanted to take a more “holistic” approach to energy improvements for their properties.

While Loyet is still working with some of the top solar installers in the country through Solar Site Design, he said these organizations are also able to also leverage the Loyal.Energy platform to connect with clients who are looking for additional energy services.

“The Loyal.Energy platform creates the opportunity for our originators to win lifetime energy contracts,” Loyet elaborated. “It also allows for business owners to be able to connect to more energy technologies that are going to save them money.”

With the launch of Loyal.Energy, Loyet was clear that the SunShot award winning Solar Site Design is here to stay. The company remains committed to expanding the solar energy sector and has many exciting new project developments on the horizon.

“Solar Site Design is part of the largest rooftop solar project in the state of Tennessee being built this year on Blue Cross Blue Shield’s headquarters,” Loyet said. “We teamed with Lawson Electric on the 1.1MW solar project in Chattanooga that is scheduled to be commissioned in 2019. We continue to team with leading energy contractors across the nation to help drive down the cost of energy projects through our innovative Marketplace platforms.”

While enrolled in the Energy Mentor Network program, Solar Site Design received strategic business, marketing, and financial guidance by completing a series of panels and discussions with its mentors. To learn more about the Energy Mentor Network and its mission to foster advanced energy technologies and startups throughout the state, visit this page.

Energy Service Providers can learn more about the Loyal.Energy platform by following this link.