ORNL spotlights eight promising inventions at latest “Technology Innovation Showcase”

(Originally published: Teknovation.biz)

Many of the technologies on display at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) annual “Technology Innovation Showcase” could have a significant impact on the automotive sector.

The event, organized by the Office of Technology Transfer, is designed to showcase the lab’s most promising technologies to those most likely to be interested in commercializing them. At least five and probably six of the eight inventions spotlighted at the event had direct application in the automotive sector. They ranged from electrolytes for advanced battery applications to a new family of cast aluminum alloys for automotive engine applications above 2500C and another alloy to meet the performance and cost targets for components like exhaust valves.

You get the picture. These are cutting-edge inventions that have great promise in addressing critical upcoming needs, but they also are not likely to secure immediate funding from traditional sources. Bridging that gap to make them more commercially ready is the goal of two programs – one that is ORNL specific (the “Technology Innovation Program” or {TIP}) and the other that comes out of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) called the “Technology Commercialization Fund” (TCF).

The results of the former show the long-term potential for both strategies.

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Spotlight on Lux Semiconductors and flexible silicon wafers

(NOTE: This is the first 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. Teknovation.biz will be running one article each week on these innovative companies.)

By: Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

“We’re making a flexible version of the silicon wafer,” Shane McMahon, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lux Semiconductors, says of the technology that he is advancing as part of the second cohort in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads” program.

As most readers no doubt know, silicon is the primary platform for semiconductor devices, and a wafer is a thin slice of this semiconductor material that serves as the substrate for microelectronic devices built in and over the wafer.

“The silicon wafer is currently serving as the foundation for over 90 percent of electronic devices,” McMahon explains. “It’s been a critical platform for device manufacturers.”

That said, the young entrepreneur says that “the electronics industry is now entering a new era, one that demands ultra-thin and flexible devices with more functionality and at lower cost. The silicon wafer is thick, fragile, size restricted, expensive, and can no longer meet all modern demands.”

Lux, led by McMahon and Co-Founder Graeme Housser, will deliver a new class of semiconductor substrates, ones that are flexible, large area, and low cost, to serve as a next generation platform.

Read more here!

Tennessee Valley Authority names 3 top executives

(Originally published: Knoxville News Sentinel)

Tennessee Valley Authority has a new chief operating officer, chief nuclear officer, and vice president of financial operations and performance.

Mike Skaggs, formerly executive vice president for operations, is the new chief operating officer. He will oversee Power Operations, Nuclear, Transmission & Power Supply and Generation Construction, Projects & Services, according to a news release.

Timothy Rausch, former senior vice president and chief nuclear officer for Talen Energy’s Susquehanna nuclear plant, is TVA’s new chief nuclear officer and will report to Skaggs.

Skaggs’ promotion is effective immediately. Rausch will start Oct. 15, working on the transition with outgoing Chief Nuclear Officer Mike Balduzzi, who plans to retire in spring 2019, a news release said.

Thomas Rice, formerly director of Business Planning & Analysis, has been promoted to vice president of Financial Operations & Performance, effective immediately.

Read more here.

Here’s how Tennessee plans to spend $45.8 million from the VW settlement

(Originally published: The Tennessean)

Tennessee environmental officials released a plan that outlines how the state will spend $45.8 million from the Volkswagen diesel settlement.

The plan targets emissions from school buses, city buses, freight trucks and some other vehicles. Also, it invests in electric vehicle charging stations.

Diesel engines emit relatively large amounts of nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog, and fine particulate matter harmful to human health. By expanding the electric vehicle charging network, the state also hopes to spur growth in the auto manufacturing industry.

The Volkswagen funding in Tennessee will be available for replacing older diesel engines with alternate fuel engines running on natural gas, propane, electricity, or diesel-electric hybrid. Also, recipients could replace older diesel vehicles and equipment.

“The goal of this plan is to reduce air pollutants that negatively impact our environment and public health,” Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Shari Meghreblian said in a statement. “We look forward to supporting projects in our state that will ultimately lead to an enhanced quality of life for Tennesseans.”

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TDEC, TDOT announce Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Award winners

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), announced today the winners of the 2018 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards. The fourth annual Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum and Expo continues today at the UT Conference Center in Knoxville.

“Sustainable transportation is an important factor in public health and the quality of our environment,” said TDEC Commissioner Dr. Shari Meghreblian. “The following award winners are being recognized for their innovative ideas to improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans, provide for a strong economy and protect our state’s natural resources.”

The Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards recognize outstanding initiatives to improve the efficiency, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability of transportation systems in the state. A panel of judges selected the following entities as the 2018 winners. A full description of the winning initiatives follows.

  • Averitt Express
  • City of Chattanooga Department of Transportation
  • City of Kingsport
  • Cumberland International
  • Hamilton County Parks and Recreation
  • Hytch, LLC
  • Tennessee State Parks
  • Vanderbilt University

Read more here.