TAEBC signs on to updated $150 billion stimulus proposal sent to new Administration

Last year, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council signed on to a $150 billion stimulus proposal, spearheaded by the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP), a national coalition of cleantech companies and organizations, and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). 

On March 30, 2021, the coalition sent a new letter to Congress and the Biden Administration, updating the White House and relevant agencies on its proposals and voicing support for President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which is in line with the coalition’s priorities.

The updated proposal reflects the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better Plan. The goal of the $150 billions stimulus is job creation in manufacturing, infrastructure, and innovation to help boost the economy post pandemic, reduce air pollution, improve public health, protect vulnerable populations, and build climate resilience. Under the updated proposal, an estimated 2.3 million jobs would be created while helping America build its leadership on electric vehicle manufacturing, supply chain, and deployment. 

According to the updated proposal, recommended actions include:

  1. $25 billion investment in the assembly and adoption of electric and zero emissions vehicles along with supply chain development (e.g., producing domestic lithium for batteries, etc.);
  2. $85 billion for EV charging and related infrastructure investment;
  3. $25 billion for zero emissions public transit, active transit and safe streets;
  4. $12.5 billion for workforce development, safety standards and job training; and
  5. $2.5 billion in innovation ecosystems for cleantech startups and related small businesses, prioritizing those created by underrepresented founders.

Since TAEBC originally signed on, the TEP coalition supporting the stimulus proposal has grown to include over 100 organizations in 18 states across the country. 

Learn more about TAEBC’s response to the new Administration’s transportation infrastructure plan here.

July marks beginning of Thomas Zacharia’s new role as ORNL director

Thomas Zacharia, who built Oak Ridge National Laboratory into a global supercomputing power, has been selected as the laboratory’s next director by UT-Battelle, the partnership that operates ORNL for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The UT-Battelle board conducted an open, competitive search for a new director after Thom Mason announced he would be leaving to join Battelle after 10 years leading ORNL. Among the goals Zacharia outlined if he were chosen as director: leading ORNL to be the world’s premier research institution; building on the lab’s original sense of mission – winning World War II while pushing the boundaries of research – to reshape its creative energy for the future; celebrating a science and technology culture that encourages individuals to be the best in their fields; and pursuing institutional excellence that advances US leadership in neutron science, computing, materials, and nuclear science and engineering.

Thomas Zacharia (Credit: ORNL)

Zacharia’s appointment as director became effective July 1, after Mason was appointed senior vice president for laboratory operations at Battelle in Columbus, Ohio.

“Thomas has a compelling vision for the future of ORNL that is directly aligned with the U.S. Department of Energy’s strategic priorities,” said Joe DiPietro, chair of the UT-Battelle Board of Governors and president of the University of Tennessee.

Zacharia came to ORNL in 1987 as a postdoctoral researcher after receiving his Ph.D. in engineering science from Clarkson University in New York. He also holds a master’s in materials science from the University of Mississippi and a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Karnataka, India.

When UT-Battelle became ORNL’s management and operating contractor in April 2000, Zacharia was director of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division. In 2001, he was named associate laboratory director for the new Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate, and over the next eight years he built a scientific enterprise that brought more than 500 new staff to Oak Ridge and opened the nation’s largest unclassified scientific computing center, the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, a user facility of DOE’s Office of Science.

Zacharia was named ORNL’s deputy for science and technology in 2009, responsible for the lab’s entire research and development portfolio. During his tenure, the lab has strengthened its translational energy programs, establishing the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate and the Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate.

In 2012, Zacharia took a leave to serve as executive vice president of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, overseeing research in energy and the environment, information and computing technology, life sciences and biomedical research, and social sciences, as well as leading the country’s science and technology park, which is home to more than 40 multi-national companies including GE, Microsoft and Siemens. He returned to ORNL in 2015, where he previously served as Deputy Lab Director for Science and Technology.

ORNL welcomes Innovation Crossroads innovators

Oak Ridge National Laboratory welcomed the first cohort of innovators to join Innovation Crossroads, the Southeast region’s first entrepreneurial research and development program based at a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory.

Innovation Crossroads, announced in the fall of 2016, is one of DOE’s Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs that embed top technical talent within national labs as entrepreneurial research fellows with the express goal of subsequently launching businesses. The program’s dual focus on early-stage R&D and entrepreneurial development enables the innovators, selected through an open merit-based process, to transform their breakthrough ideas into U.S.-based companies. The two-year fellowship provides a cost-of-living stipend, comprehensive business development plan assistance, and up to $350,000 to use on collaborative R&D at ORNL, the nation’s largest science and energy laboratory.

The Innovation Crossroads entrepreneurial research fellows will have access to world-class scientists and DOE facilities at ORNL, including the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, the National Transportation Research Center, the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, and the Spallation Neutron Source. Through the program and partnerships with mentor organizations in the Southeast, fellows will also receive assistance with developing business strategies, conducting market research, and finding long-term financing and potential commercial partners.

Click here to read the full announcement.

Click here to learn more about the innovators.

Energy Mentor Network Spotlight: Ira Weiss

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is continuing its series of feature stories highlighting the mentors behind the Energy Mentor Network program offering industry specific expertise.

The Energy Mentor Network‘s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors. This gives Tennessee yet another advantage in grabbing its more than fair share of the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

In broad strokes, the Energy Mentor Network pairs mentors with promising new companies and entrepreneurs through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions.

The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups. After completing the program, startups will have an investable pitch deck, a rock solid business model and a plan to establish more traction. These tools will position Tennessee’s entrepreneurs to raise capital, request other funds like SBIR grants, and scale their company.

This week TAEBC is highlighting Ira Weiss. He serves as principal of Weiss Associates. He’s also a Finance Executive with over 35 years of decisive and successful financial management experience, including the clean tech sector. His extensive finance and operations expertise, audit and procedural accounting background, along with his extensive information systems and analytical skills have enabled him to meet corporate goals and produce results on time and within budget.

He also currently serves as a board member at green|spaces “Building a Sustainable Chattanooga.”

TAEBC is continuing to accept mentors for the Energy Mentor Program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Mentors” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

Today last day to apply for clean energy accelerator Innovation Crossroads

Clean energy entrepreneurs have only a few hours left to apply for an Oak Ridge National Laboratory accelerator that could solve America’s energy challenges.

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-12-31-46-pmInnovation Crossroads is a new program based at ORNL that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with the experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from research and development (R&D) to the marketplace.

Through an annual call, up to five entrepreneurs will be selected to transform their ideas into clean energy companies with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Innovators will receive a fellowship that covers living costs, benefits and a travel stipend for up to two years, plus up to $350,000 to use on collaborative research and development at ORNL. Each innovator will also be paired with a doctoral student from the University of Tennessee’s Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education for assistance with market research and customer discovery.

“There is a huge opportunity and need to develop an emerging American energy ecosystem where cleantech entrepreneurs can thrive,” said Mark Johnson, director of EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO). “This program gives the next generation of clean energy innovators a chance to make a transformative impact on the way we generate, process and use our energy resources. Innovation Crossroads will play an important role in strengthening the Southeast region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Innovation Crossroads was announced back in September and is the most recent clean energy accelerator to launch at a DOE national laboratory and the first located in the Southeast. ORNL is the nation’s largest science and energy laboratory, with expertise and resources in clean energy, computing, neutron science, advanced materials, and nuclear science.

The deadline to apply is today Friday, November 18, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. For a look at the application, go to innovationcrossroads.ornl.gov