Becq is a radiation shielding materials company whose technology will help to reduce costs and increase safety in the nuclear industry. Becq’s core competency is currently neutron shielding technology. Innovation in the neutron shielding market has lagged in the past several decades and Becq’s technology is a breakthrough for the field. Becq’s initial product offering, NE-300, is a lightweight, high-temperature neutron shielding material. The key differentiation of NE-300 over existing materials is a temperature resistance of 300oC instead of 180oC. NE-300’s higher operating temperature introduces significant opportunities for deploying neutron shielding materials in higher-temperature locations within the reactor containment and/or to improve the safety margin in applications originally designed for shielding with a lower operating temperature. While NE-300 currently exceeds the requirements for many applications in the nuclear industry, the Innovation Crossroads program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will allow Becq to perform the additional development necessary to validate the long-term use of this product and prepare it for commercialization.
Becq’s vision is to become first-in-sales in the $1 billion international neutron shield materials market over the next decade by becoming the dominant supplier to the commercial nuclear industry and expanding into the defense and space markets. Becq has the long-term goal of becoming the largest radiation shielding company and one of the largest materials suppliers in the world.
Becq is enrolled in ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads program. TAEBC and Launch Tennessee provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads Innovators.
Starting new clean-tech hardware-based companies can be challenging, and that’s one reason the number of energy startups has declined significantly over the past decade. Innovation Crossroads is a program supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Manufacturing Office, Building Technologies Office, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) that leverages Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) unique scientific resources and capabilities and connects the nation’s top innovators with experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take world-changing ideas from research and development (R&D) to the marketplace.
Innovation Crossroads is a two-year program for fellows focusing on energy and advanced manufacturing technologies. Through an annual national call and competitive stage-gate process, top entrepreneurial-minded fellows are selected to join the program. Selected innovators receive a fellowship that includes a personal living stipend, along with health insurance and travel allowance, a substantial grant to use on collaborative R&D at ORNL, and comprehensive mentoring assistance to build a sustainable business model.
By embedding the next generation of top technical talent within ORNL, Innovation Crossroads positions entrepreneurial researcher fellows to address fundamental energy and manufacturing challenges identified by industry.