Energy Mentor Network graduates secure funding to advance technologies

Active Energy Systems receives an SBIR Phase II Award, while Nth Cycle secures $3.2 million in seed funding

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council 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. Two of our graduates have recently secured funding to advance their technologies.

Active Energy Systems received an NSF SBIR Phase II Award

Active Energy Systems graduated from the Energy Mentor Network in 2019. The startup invented the world’s first “icephobic coating,” which creates a surface impervious to freezing water. It recently received an NSF SBIR Phase II Award to unleash the potential of water as a thermal energy storage medium for building air conditioning.

This funding will allow Active Energy Systems to create Icephobic Heat Exchange (IHEX) technology eliminating the adhesion of freezing water to cold surfaces, preventing ice buildup on the coil and realizing the power of water for low-cost, high efficiency, resilient building cooling.

Nth Cycle secured $3.2 million in seed funding

Nth Cycle graduated from the Energy Mentor Network in 2020. The startup is developing a system to cost effectively recycle lithium-ion batteries to recover the high-value metals. It secured $3.2 million in seed funding to scale its technology for battery recycling for sustainable mining. This funding will allow Nth Cycle to execute their technology roadmap and deploy several pilot projects with recyclers and mine operators early next year.

Nth Cycle was also featured in Waste360 where CEO Megan O’Connor stated, “We can process in a cost- and environmentally effective way compared to standard, existing methods. We can reduce operating costs by 75 percent and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent [determined using a Department of Energy battery recycling model].”

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Energy Mentor Network Company: Nth Cycle

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is featuring the companies benefiting from the Energy Mentor Network program, which offers industry specific expertise from experienced mentors.

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.

Nth Cycle is developing a recycling technology that utilizes carbon nanotube membranes for enhanced separation and recovery of solid rare earth and specialty elements (RESE)-oxides. If successful, this technology will provide a high-throughput electrochemical recovery process for recycling RESE as an alternative to the conventional energy-intensive extraction and refining processes currently used to obtain these metals for manufacturing. Megan O’Connor holds a PhD in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University and is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nth Cycle.

TAEBC is currently accepting applications from Tennessee advanced energy companies to apply for the Energy Mentor Network program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Startups” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

Nth Cycle is enrolled in ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads program. TAEBC and Launch Tennessee provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads Innovators.

Energy Mentor Network Company: Ascend Manufacturing

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is featuring the companies benefiting from the Energy Mentor Network program, which offers industry specific expertise from experienced mentors.

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.

Ascend Manufacturing is focused on developing a manufacturing grade, additive manufacturing  system, called Large Area Projection Sintering (LAPS), that offers many advantages over new and traditional additive manufacturing technologies.  With LAPS, components can be economically created with increased production rates, reduced peak processing temperatures, and extended exposure times, which enable processing of a broader range of materials while also providing superior mechanical properties.

TAEBC is currently accepting applications from Tennessee advanced energy companies to apply for the Energy Mentor Network program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Startups” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

Ascend Manufacturing is enrolled in ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads program. TAEBC and Launch Tennessee provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads Innovators.

Energy Mentor Network Company: Lux Semiconductors

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is featuring the companies benefiting from the Energy Mentor Network program, which offers industry specific expertise from experienced mentors.

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.

Lux Semiconductors‘ vision is to build the first ubiquitous flexible semiconductor platform, a Wafer 2.0. The birth of the modern electronics industry was largely predicated on a breakthrough in crystal growth, the Czochralski (CZ) method. The technique paved the way for the silicon wafer, a semiconductor platform used in over ninety-five percent of electronic devices today. However, the electronics industry is now entering a new era, one that demands ultra-thin and flexible devices with more functionality and at lower cost. The silicon wafer is thick, fragile, size restricted, and expensive and can no longer meet all modern demands.

By leveraging a century of innovations in bulk crystal growth, and applying them to low cost thin-films, Lux will deliver a new class of flexible semiconductor substrates to serve as the next generation platform. With single crystal-like properties at price points significantly below existing competitors, Lux will enable new device architectures for flexible and lightweight electronics with improved performance and functionality. The platform is suitable to host a range of electronic components and fully integrated system-on-chip designs including sensors, RF, displays, lighting, processors, memory, MEMS, and photovoltaics.

TAEBC is currently accepting applications from Tennessee advanced energy companies to apply for the Energy Mentor Network program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Startups” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

Lux Semiconductors is enrolled in ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads program. TAEBC and Launch Tennessee provide non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads Innovators.

Energy Mentor Network team meets Innovation Crossroads Second Cohort

The Energy Mentor Network’s mentors had an opportunity to meet the Innovations Crossroads newly inducted second cohort at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and hear more about their exciting technologies and innovations.

Selected through a merit-based process, these scientists and engineers will have access to world-class science expertise and capabilities at ORNL, including Titan, the nation’s most powerful supercomputer; the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, DOE’s largest advanced manufacturing research center; and the Spallation Neutron Source, offering atomic-level insight into advanced materials.

The innovators also will be partnered with a powerful network of mentoring organizations in the Southeast to help them develop business strategies to advance their breakthroughs to market, including the Energy Mentor Network which provides non-exclusive business mentoring services to the Innovation Crossroads Innovators.

The Energy Mentor Network’s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and industry specific expertise.

The second cohort of Innovation Crossroads fellows and their projects include:

Donald DeRosa: High Voltage Electrolytes for Ultracapacitors

DeRosa is developing a high voltage electrolyte to significantly lower the cost and size of ultracapacitor modules. The resulting lower cost, smaller modules can be used in tandem with lithium ion batteries to dramatically improve the efficiency, range, and longevity of hybrid and electric vehicles. DeRosa is a doctoral candidate in nanoscience at the State University of New York at Albany and chief technology officer of Eonix.

Shane McMahon: Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing of Highly Crystalline Thin-Film Semiconductor Substrates

McMahon is developing a novel thin-film semiconductor recrystallization process that grows highly crystalline silicon and germanium thin-films as precursor substrates for flexible electronic devices. These flexible, large-area substrates will serve as a platform technology for thin-film transistors, sensors, displays, lighting, and photovoltaics. McMahon is a doctoral candidate in nanoengineering at the State University of New York at Albany and is founder and chief executive officer of Lux Semiconductors.

Justin Nussbaum: Large Area Projection Sintering

Nussbaum is developing a manufacturing grade, additive manufacturing (AM) system, called Large Area Projection Sintering (LAPS), that offers many advantages over new and traditional AM technologies. With LAPS, components can be economically created with increased production rates, reduced peak processing temperatures and extended exposure times, enabling processing of a broader range of materials while also providing superior mechanical properties. Nussbaum is a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at the University of South Florida.

Megan O’Connor: Electrochemical Recovery of Rare Earth and Specialty Elements

O’Connor is developing a recycling technology that utilizes carbon nanotube membranes for enhanced separation and recovery of solid rare earth and specialty elements (RESE) oxides.  This technology will provide a high-throughput electrochemical recovery device for recycling RESE as an alternative to the conventional energy-intensive extraction and refining processes currently used to obtain these metals for manufacturing. O’Connor holds a PhD in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University and is co-founder and chief technology officer of Nth Cycle.

Matthew Smith: Thermally Conductive 3D Printing Filaments

Smith’s new class of high thermal conductivity plastic composite material aims to improve heat dissipation, allowing for metal replacement and light-weighting, cost and component reductions, and improved performance and reliability. These materials also exhibit the unique ability to be 3D printed, allowing thermal engineers to rapidly and cheaply prototype multi-functional thermal solutions and enabling the design of heat transfer products that cannot be manufactured using traditional methods. Smith holds a PhD in materials science and engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is co-founder and chief technology officer of TCPoly.