Energy Mentor Network company Electro-Active Technologies featured in Waste360

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council runs the Energy Mentor Network in partnership with Launch Tennessee. Its goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry specific expertise. Electro-Active Technologies, an EMN company and Innovation Crossroads graduate, was recently featured in Waste360 for its zero-carbon, alternative fuel product. 

In the Waste360 article, Electro-Active Technologies’ Co-Founders Alex Lewis and Abhijeet Borole discuss how they use food waste combined with electricity to create clean hydrogen, a renewable source of energy that could cut greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel by up to 34%.

“In simplest terms, we use electrons and protons from food, which have electric charges, to make hydrogen,” Lewis told Waste360. 

Read the rest of the Waste360 article about Electro-Active Technologies here. To learn more about the Energy Mentor Network, along with its companies and mentors, follow this link

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Middle Tennessee Advanced Energy Virtual Business Roundtable highlights private-public partnerships, transportation electrification initiatives

Stakeholders from government agencies, higher education, and the private sector emphasized the value of the state’s advanced energy economy and opportunities for future development and collaboration

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) hosted its second Advanced Energy Virtual Business Roundtable, this time focused on Middle Tennessee stakeholders. The event brought together 10 speakers representing three main areas of the state’s advanced energy (AE) economy: government agencies, higher education, and the private sector.

Government Agencies

David Salyers, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), kicked off the event by speaking about the value of EV adoption for the environment and economy, along with the TN Corridor Fast Charging Network, a new partnership between TDEC and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

“We strongly support the goal of becoming the number one state in the country for the EV supply chain,” said Salyers. “We are committed to providing a cleaner, safer environment, and are supportive of more efficient modes of transportation that can reduce emissions, improve air quality, decrease transportation-related energy costs, and drive economic plus job growth across our state.”

Representing the federal perspective, Chris Berryman, Senior Target Market Specialist at TVA, discussed the wide-reaching economic impacts EVs can have on the state’s economy from the EV manufacturing project to the supply chain. He also discussed the effects of EVs on the utility sector and on TVA in particular.

“TVA, along with its State Economic Development Partners, are currently working on approximately $25 billion of new EV manufacturing projects,” said Berryman. “These projects are considering the TVA’s seven-state region along with other competing States in the Southeastern U.S. This equates to a potential job creation of approximately 35,000 new jobs.”

Next, Van Tucker, Chief Executive Officer of Launch Tennessee, spoke about the organization’s many network partners, including the statewide entrepreneur centers and the Energy Mentor Network, run by TAEBC in partnership with LaunchTN. She also provided an update about the restoration of State Matching Funds for federal SBIR/STTR grant recipients across the state.

“Those funds are important because federal funds are restricted as to how those dollars can be spent,” said Tucker. “The State Matching Funds are unrestricted and can be used for things like hiring a business development officer, launching a website, or even hiring an attorney to secure your IP. As a company, you’re able to use those funds that really help grow and scale a business.”

Wrapping up the government agency portion of presentations, Victoria Hirschberg, Director of Business Development at Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD), spoke about TNECD’s mission to make the state a leader in the EV supply chain and referred to the sector as a “very fluid and active.”

“There is a lot going on in our state and I’m really proud to be part of it,” said Hirschberg. “I think as we continue to build out this network and talk to companies that are interested in doing business, having meetings like this is so important.”

Higher Education

Both Flora Tydings, Chancellor of Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), and Claude Pressnell, President of Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA), returned for the second Business Roundtable to discuss higher education’s role in the AE sector.

Tydings provided an overview of TBR’s mission, AE programming, and how TBR received an additional $80 million from the state’s budget to increase what the system is doing with technical education, reduce the technical education waitlist, and look directly at what they are doing in the AE sector.

“We are always looking toward the economic development of our state,” said Tydings. “We are dedicated to making sure we place students. Right now, our rate for placement is at 89 percent. So, if you graduate from one of our programs, 89 percent of our students have received a job immediately after graduation in their field of study.”

Following Tydings’ presentation, Pressnell gave an overview of TICUA campuses and students, various public-private partnerships across the state, and engineering programs that were created to specifically meet the needs of local employers.

“The focus on science, the focus on technology is pretty critical to us. We rely very heavily upon corporate advisory committees to be able to shape our curriculum so that we can meet the needs of local and statewide employers,” said Pressnell. “We are very responsive to the corporate needs in the area.”

Private Sector

Moving into the private sector portion of the webinar, Jim DeMouy, Vice President of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability at Bridgestone Americas and TAEBC Board Member, highlighted Bridgestone’s environmental mission and key milestones, along with renewable energy goals for its operations, products and technologies. DeMouy also highlighted two of the company’s environmental milestones it is set to reach by 2030.

“One is to increase the recycled and renewable content of our products to 40% by 2030,” said DeMouy. “The second was to move to an absolute emissions reduction, which again goes to the energy discussions we’re having here, by 50 percent by 2030.”

Finally, two representations from Nissan Group of Americas closed the presentation portion of the event. Chris Goddard, Manager of Energy and Environmental, and Mike Clemmer, Director of Corporate & Manufacturing Facilities and Environmental, presented about Nissan’s efforts to accelerate toward carbon neutrality and electrification, including EVs, battery innovations, intelligent factories, and a greener energy supply.

“Like a lot of companies, earlier this year, globally, we made the announcement to be carbon neutral by 2050. If you look at just Tennessee operations, we have improved our efficiency by close to 40 percent,” said Goddard. “And we’re very excited about the electrification of our fleet.”

Following presentations, speakers answered a range of audience questions on building up the infrastructure of the state’s AE economy, EV supply chain efforts, private-public partnership, workforce development, and recent electrification updates across the state.

“It was really exciting to join TVA earlier this year by trying to remove some of the barriers to adoption,” said Commissioner Salyers about the launch of the TN Corridor Fast Charging Network and future EV initiatives.

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Don’t miss TAEBC’s second webinar about how to use the advanced energy sector to stimulate economic growth

Did you attend and enjoy the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council’s (TAEBC) first Advanced Energy Virtual Business Roundtable focused on West Tennessee? Maybe you missed it or are looking forward to hearing from stakeholders in your region? TAEBC will host its second Advanced Energy Virtual Business Roundtable, focusing on Middle Tennessee stakeholders, on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, beginning at 10:00 a.m. CT / 11:00 a.m. ET.

Middle Tennessee: Advanced Energy Virtual Business Roundtable

Like the first event focused on West Tennessee, TAEBC’s second webinar will bring together government officials, business executives and higher education leaders to share their expertise and insight about how our state can create a collaborative network to drive economic development through the advanced energy (AE) sector. 

For this event, seven speakers will represent each of these three areas, including: David Salyers, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC); Chris Berryman, Senior Target Market Specialist at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA); Van Tucker, CEO of Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN); Victoria Hirschberg, Director of Business Development at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD); Jim DeMouy, Vice President of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability at Bridgestone Americas and TAEBC Board Member; Dr. Claude Pressnell, Jr., President of Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA); Dr. Flora Tydings, Chancellor, Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR); Chris Goddard Manager, Energy and Environmental, Nissan Group of Americas; and Mike Clemmer, Director, Corporate & Manufacturing Facilities & Environmental, Nissan Group of Americas.

Stakeholder #1: Government agencies

From the state government perspective, Commissioner Salyers will kick off the event, speaking about the TN Corridor Fast Charging Network and goals to make the state the electric vehicle (EV) epicenter of the Southeast. From LaunchTN’s perspective, Tucker will highlight the value of the Energy Mentor Network and provide an update about the SBIR/STTR Matching Fund program. 

Next, Hirschberg will discuss TNECD’s vision to create a cohesive statewide network to become the number one state in the country for the electric vehicle supply chain. Additionally, she will speak about efforts to cultivate an AE economy to attract and retain innovative businesses.

At TVA, a federally owned corporation, Berryman offers a unique perspective for bridging the gap between federal government and higher education and private sectors. He will discuss the economic impact of EVs and the impact of EVs on the utility sector.

Stakeholder #2: Higher education 

Attendees will also hear from the higher education side of the conversation, with Tydings discussing TBR’s current advanced energy focus and outline what a transition to support AE might look like. From TICUA, Pressnell will provide perspective on how private campuses are exploring and supporting AE as well as how private sector partners can collaborate for future opportunities. 

Stakeholder #3: Private sector 

During his presentation, DeMouy will highlight Bridgestone Americas’ corporate sustainability goals and the progress they are making toward meeting these targets. Finally, Goddard and Clemmer will wrap up the presentation by discussing Nissan’s sustainability goals and milestones.

The presentations will be followed by audience Q&A. Want to attend the event? Register here.

Tennessee’s 2021-2022 Budget restores SBIR/STTR Matching Fund

SkyNano Technologies praises restoration of funds that will help advance its core technology 

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is pleased to announce Tennessee’s 2021-2022 Budget included $7,000,000 in non-recurring funding for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Fund. 

This SBIR/STTR Matching Fund restoration would not have been possible without the hard work of Launch Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and other key stakeholders across the state.

“The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council applauds the General Assembly and Governor Bill Lee’s allocation of $7 million in funding for the SBIR/STTR Matching Fund,” said TAEBC Executive Director Cortney Piper. “TAEBC champions advanced energy as a job creation and economic development strategy. One of our commitments to our members is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups, such as those in our Energy Mentor Network program. The restoration of the SBIR/STTR Matching Fund is essential to helping us meet this goal.”

Anna Douglas, Co-Founder and CEO of SkyNano Technologies, an Innovation Crossroads and Energy Mentor Network graduate, was instrumental in highlighting the need for these funds for innovative entrepreneurs in the region. Earlier this year, Douglas penned an Op-Ed in the Knoxville News Sentinel and an open letter to her state representative, highlighting her need for the SBIR/STTR Matching award. SkyNano received an SBIR Matching grant in 2020 and was counting on the restoration of these funds to support the development of its technology and cover the cost of necessary expenses that were not covered by the SBIR/STTR program.  

“We are relieved and excited that the SBIR/STTR Matching program funding has been restored in the state budget,” said Anna Douglas, Co-founder and CEO of SkyNano Technologies. “The SBIR/STTR Match program helps businesses like SkyNano thrive in the state and continue to pull in more federal SBIR/STTR funding to continue creating jobs for talented Tennesseans.” 

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TAEBC Executive Director to moderate panel at the Tennessee Valley Corridor’s 2021 National Summit

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council’s Executive Director Cortney Piper will moderate a panel session on the second day of the Tennessee Valley Corridor’s 2021 National Summit, held June 2-3, 2021, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. TAEBC is proud sponsor of the upcoming virtual and in-person event.

The theme for this year’s event is “The Power of Partnerships: National Leadership Through Regional Collaboration.” Piper will moderate the panel, “Working Together Inspires Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” on Thursday, June 3 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. ET. The session’s speakers and panelists include:

  • Dr. Bill Greer, President, Milligan University
  • Greg Vital, Chairman & President, Morning Pointe
  • Randy Boyd, President, The University of Tennessee
  • Dr. Thomas Zacharia, Director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Jeff Lyash, President & CEO, Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Larry Leopard, Associate Director, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Register to attend the event virtually here. Learn more about the other sessions, sponsors and speakers here.

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