Cleantech startup Active Energy Systems maps path toward market

(Originally published on Venture Nashville Connections)

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MITCH ISHMAEL PhD and his colleagues at Active Energy Systemsare working to solve one of the world’s biggest energy problems in a lab space so small that one can nearly touch its opposite walls with both hands.

During an interview for this story, Co-Founder Ishmael and a visiting journalist squeezed between a desk bearing the company’s first and second prototypes and a window overlooking the parking lot of Knox County’s Fairview Technology Center (FTC).

“I think it used to be the principal’s office,” when the building served as a schoolhouse, said Ishmael.

The FTC incubator that provides office and lab space for Active Energy sits just outside Knoxville city limits and about 10 miles from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

The incubator also supports seven other startups led by entrepreneurs fresh from doctoral and post-doctoral studies as they pursue commercialization of Clean Energy technologies with assistance from the two-year-old Innovation Crossroads(IC) program.

IC is a public-private partnership created and managed by ORNL, with backing from units of the U.S. Department of Energy. Federal funding for ORNL’s IC program has thus far totaled nearly $7MM.

The IC will begin taking applications for its 2019 Clean Energy cohort in September.

A rundown on all participating startups and related comments from program lead Tom Rogers are in our accompanying story, here.

Read more here.

“Electric Mass Transit as an Option for Urban Mobility” panel discussion reviews policy issues, smart mobility case studies

A panel held at the Baker Center Toyota Auditorium in Knoxville covered a variety of topics regarding electric mass transit and its potential in the United States.

Discussions ranged from technology and connectivity concerns to examining smart mobility case studies. Policy options and issues were also reviewed, as well as evaluating future visions and groundtruthing.

The two day panel, open to the public, analyzed the costs, benefits, and barriers associated with electrified transit and intelligent transportation system technologies while also addressing what local governments, utilities, and transit agencies must consider in making the switch.

With the emergence of these technologies expanding, best practices were also identified through smart mobility case studies and further analysis was conducted and discussed at what can be done at the local, state, and federal levels to provide momentum for these technologies.

“Electric Mass Transit as an Option for Urban Mobility” was jointed hosted by the Baker Center, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

To view the recording of the June 20 discussions, click here

To view the recording of the June 21 discussions, click here

Register for the 2018 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum

TDEC, in partnership with TDOT and TNCleanFuels, will hold the fourth annual Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum from September 17-18, 2018 at the UT Conference Center in Knoxville.

The forum will highlight new research and technologies that improve transportation efficiency, reduce vehicle emissions, and address the mobility needs of all Tennesseans. The forum will also honor winners of the 2018 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards. For more information about the awards, visit the website at https://www.tn.gov/environment/tsta.

Register at tsta.eventbrite.com. Registration includes access to all forum sessions and lunches, an alternative fuel vehicle showcase, and an offsite networking reception at the Sunsphere.

  • An advanced conference registration rate of $35 will be available until September 10, 2018.
  • Students may register for the event at a discounted rate of $5 and must present their student IDs at the time of event sign-in.

For attendees that require overnight accommodations, hotel blocks are available at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park(code: STC) and the Hilton Knoxville (code: STF18). These discounted rates will expire when the group blocks sell out, so be sure to book accommodations early.

Event staff are also working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to organize a tour of the National TransportationResearch Center (NTRC) on the afternoon of September 18. The NTRC supports the U.S. Department of Energy with research focused on vehicle electrification, engines and emissions controls, new materials for future systems, data science, and automated vehicle technologies. Forum registrants will receive instructions via email on how to reserve a space on this tour. Learn more about the NTRC here: https://www.ornl.gov/ntrc.

ORNL launches world’s most powerful, smartest scientific supercomputer Summit

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory unveiled Summit as the world’s most powerful and smartest scientific supercomputer.

With a peak performance of 200,000 trillion calculations per second—or 200 petaflops, Summit will be eight times more powerful than ORNL’s previous top-ranked system, Titan. For certain scientific applications, Summit will also be capable of more than three billion billion mixed precision calculations per second, or 3.3 exaops. Summit will provide unprecedented computing power for research in energy, advanced materials and artificial intelligence (AI), among other domains, enabling scientific discoveries that were previously impractical or impossible.

“Today’s launch of the Summit supercomputer demonstrates the strength of American leadership in scientific innovation and technology development. It’s going to have a profound impact in energy research, scientific discovery, economic competitiveness and national security,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “I am truly excited by the potential of Summit, as it moves the nation one step closer to the goal of delivering an exascale supercomputing system by 2021. Summit will empower scientists to address a wide range of new challenges, accelerate discovery, spur innovation and above all, benefit the American people.”

The IBM AC922 system consists of 4,608 compute servers, each containing two 22-core IBM Power9 processors and six NVIDIA Tesla V100 graphics processing unit accelerators, interconnected with dual-rail Mellanox EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand. Summit also possesses more than 10 petabytes of memory paired with fast, high-bandwidth pathways for efficient data movement. The combination of cutting-edge hardware and robust data subsystems marks an evolution of the hybrid CPU–GPU architecture successfully pioneered by the 27-petaflops Titan in 2012.

ORNL researchers have figured out how to harness the power and intelligence of Summit’s state-of-art architecture to successfully run the world’s first exascale scientific calculation. A team of scientists led by ORNL’s Dan Jacobson and Wayne Joubert has leveraged the intelligence of the machine to run a 1.88 exaops comparative genomics calculation relevant to research in bioenergy and human health. The mixed precision exaops calculation produced identical results to more time-consuming 64-bit calculations previously run on Titan.

Read the full story here.

Ridgeline Venture Law recognized for positive community impact as B Corp Best for the World

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Ridgeline Venture Law was recognized for positive community impact based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab.

RVL is honored in the Best For Community list, which includes businesses that earned a Community score in the top 10 percent of more than 2,400 assessed Certified B Corporations. RVL is Tennessee’s only entry on the list of 226 companies spanning 90 industries and 34 countries. The full assessment measures a company’s impact on its workers, community, customers and the environment.

The Community portion of the B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s involvement in the local community, including its practices and policies around service and charitable giving. Honorees scoring in the top 10 percent set a gold standard for how business can be a force for good in communities around the world. RVL qualified by introducing triple-bottom-line business practices promoting environmental and social impact as metrics of success, in addition to profits. Locally, RVL’s Chattanooga office partners with Green|Spaces, Southeastern Climbers Coalition, and Access Fund to promote environmental stewardship and sustainability initiatives throughout the greater Chattanooga region.

Through its Cookeville office, RVL promotes advanced education and economic development opportunities for people of color and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds through partnerships with the Biz Foundry (rural entrepreneurship), Habitat for Humanity (low-income empowerment), IMPACT Cookeville (minority empowerment), Legal Assistance Volunteers for Patent Applicants (low-income entrepreneurship), and Tennessee Tech’s Center for Rural Innovation (rural entrepreneurship).