Tennessee companies receiving DOE SBIR, STTR Phase II grants

(Originally published on Department of Energy)

The Department of Energy (DOE) will award 105 grants totaling $116 million to 92 small businesses in 31 states, including some in Tennessee. 

Funded through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, the selections are for Phase II research and development (R&D). 

Small businesses that demonstrated technical feasibility for innovations during their Phase I grants competed for funding for prototype or processes development during Phase II. 

In addition, prior Phase II awardees competed for second or third Phase II awards to continue prototype and process development. The median Phase II award is $1,100,000 for a period of two years.   

Those awardees include:

  • Coulometrics (Chattanooga)

Project Title: The development of a stabilized SEI layer for si-containing lithium ion battery anodes

  • Carbon Rivers LLC (Knoxville)

Project Title: Recovery of glass fiber reinforcement from retired wind turbine blades for recycled composite materials

Summary: An innovative process is being developed to convert waste from retired wind turbine blades, as well as other reinforced plastics, into new materials for manufacturing. If successful, this technology would allow for wind blades and other reinforced plastics to be diverted from landfills and into new lightweight materials for making products like fuel efficient vehicles.

DOE awards $20 million to new Oak Ridge Institute at the University of Tennessee

(Crossposted from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville)

The U.S. Department of Energy today awarded $20 million to the new Oak Ridge Institute at the University of Tennessee to expand the university’s partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to train the next generation of American scientists and engineers.

“This $20 million federal grant is in support of an institute that is the culmination of 40 years of effort to merge the strengths of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. “The Oak Ridge Institute will be a pipeline for a new supply of American-trained scientists and engineers, which our country sorely needs in this competitive world. It will also combine the resources and experience of the nation’s largest science and energy laboratory and a major research university. Already, the UT–Oak Ridge partnership has 250 joint faculty, five joint institutes and 250 PhD students in jointly administered energy and data programs. With such a strong foundation and such strong current leadership, I am betting that during the next 80 years, the Oak Ridge Corridor brand and the Oak Ridge Institute will be recognized as one of the most important science and engineering alliances in the world.”

For the past six years, Alexander has been chair of the Senate Energy and Water Subcommittee on Appropriations, which provides funding for the national laboratories.

“We are thankful to the Department of Energy for its support of this program that will deliver a top-tier interdisciplinary workforce talent in emerging fields for industry, government, and academia,” said UT System President Randy Boyd. “This is the first step in establishing ORI as a force to change our state and nation.”

Read more here.

ORNL researchers win five R&D 100 Awards

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers and scientists were recently named winners of five R&D 100 Awards. R&D World magazine and its parent company, WTWH Media, LLC., made the announcement, bringing ORNL’s total wins to 221 since the creation of the award in 1963.

The winners are as follows:

  1. “CellSight – Rapid, Native Single Cell Mass Spectrometry,” developed by ORNL and Cytena GmbH
  2. “Multiparameter Sensor Platform for Cyber-Physical Security of the Electric Grid,” developed by ORNL and Brixon
  3. “High Strength Binder System for Additive Manufacturing,” developed by ORNL and ExOne
  4. “Voltanol: Electrochemical Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Ethanol,” developed by a team of ORNL researchers
  5. “Unified Communications X (UCX),” submitted by Los Alamos National Laboratory and co-developed with ORNL

“This awards program is so well recognized across the R&D community. Being named as one of the R&D 100 is an incredible honor,” said Paul J. Heney, Vice President, Editorial Director for R&D World. “These 100 winning products and technologies are the disruptors that will change industries and make the world a better place in the coming years.”

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) researchers were involved in 41 of the 100 awards. Researchers at Vanderbilt University also won an award for “Real-time Intraoperative Parathyroid Identification to Prevent Accidental Removal of Parathyroid Glands During Thyroid Surgery.”

Winners will be honored at the annual R&D 100 Conference on December 5.

Final stages near for top Innovation Crossroads cohort three applicants

Final interviews will soon be underway for the Innovation Crossroads cohort three top contenders to determine if they’ll be joining the elite program.

Innovation Crossroads is a new program based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with the experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from R&D to the marketplace.

Just last August, the Department of Energy and the Tennessee Valley Authority announced their partnership to support the third cohort of these energy entrepreneurs. For the first time, TVA will provide funding to support Innovation Crossroads fellows focusing on energy-related topics such as grid reliability and emerging technologies.

Currently, there are eight startups enrolled in the program whose founders come from some of the most prestigious universities in the nation.

In this latest cohort, up to six innovators will be selected to receive the two-year post-doctoral entrepreneurial fellowship at ORNL worth nearly $500,000 that includes stipends, vouchers for collaborative research and development at ORNL, startup business guidance and mentoring, and health and travel benefits.

During the selection process, Innovation Crossroads team leaders received a record number of 60 applications, representing 28 states and 39 universities.

The final interviews will be conducted February 27 and February 28, with on-boarding scheduled to take place in May of this year.

Several Innovation Crossroads entrepreneurs are enrolled in the Energy Mentor Network, formed by TAEBC and Launch Tennessee, to provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the innovators.

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.

Read more here.