Using father’s tools as a youngster sparked Ascend Manufacturing Justin Nussbaum’s interest

(NOTE: This is the third article in a five-part series spotlighting the work of the second cohort of start-ups comprising Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “Innovation Crossroads” initiative. They arrived in the area in May to begin their two-year effort to further advance their early stage energy-focused companies.)

Credit: Teknovation.biz

By: Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

One characteristic of many young entrepreneurs we have met and interviewed since launching teknovation.biz in early 2012 is the influence that their parents had on their pursuits. That’s certainly the case with Justin Nussbaum who is part of the second cohort of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads” initiative.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ascend Manufacturing told us that his father had a lot of tools that were available to the young son as he grew-up in Clearwater, FL. “I enjoyed using them and, over time, they slowly became mine,” Nussbaum says. “I liked to take things apart. If I wanted something, I just built it.”

That curiosity led him to the University of South Florida where, as a volunteer at the school’s Micro-Integration Lab, Nussbaum was exposed to 3D printing. His interest in 3D printing began with the repair of a Fab@Home, one of the first commercially available hobby-level 3D printers. Nussbaum then used the printer to conduct research for his master’s degree and made his first invention disclosure for that work.

And, as they say, “game on” as his career path, at least for now, has been established. Ascend Manufacturing is developing an additive manufacturing  system, called Large Area Projection Sintering (LAPS), that offers many advantages over new and traditional technologies. With LAPS, components can be economically created with increased production rates, reduced peak processing temperatures, and extended exposure times, enabling the processing of a broader range of materials while also providing superior mechanical properties.

Read more here.

Nth Cycle all about recycling to provide secondary source for rare earth materials

(NOTE: This is the second article in a five-part series spotlighting the work of the second cohort of start-ups comprising Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “Innovation Crossroads” initiative. They arrived in the area in May to begin their two-year effort to further advance their early stage energy-focuses companies.)

By: Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Megan O’Connor has adopted the mantra that all investors like to hear. She’s “all in” as it relates to Nth Cycle, the start-up company that provides a recycling technology to enable a secondary source of rare earth and specialty metals for a sustainable, secure energy future.

And, in spite of several detours along the way – one academic, another a “fork-in-the-road” career decision, and the third a difficult technology problem not solved until the proverbial 11th hour – O’Connor is very optimistic about the future several months into her fellowship as part of the second cohort of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads” initiative.

The Plattsburgh, NY native says her interest in entrepreneurship began while an undergraduate student at Union College near Albany, NY. “I wanted to build a technology to solve a big problem,” O’Connor explained.

She went from Union College to Duke University in Durham, NC where, halfway through her doctoral work, O’Connor’s advisor left for Yale University. That individual was Desiree Plata.

“Desiree’s passion for teaching and the environment was the right fit for me personally,” O’Connor says, so she followed the inspirational advisor to New Haven, CT where she finished her academic work at Yale, but graduated with her doctorate from Duke.

Read more here.

ORNL 2018 Technology Innovation Showcase

ORNL is hosting a Technology Innovation Showcase on Thursday, October 18 to highlight eight technologies that have significant commercial potential.

The showcase will consist of a series of technical presentations in the morning, a lunchtime networking event, and opportunities for research laboratory tours, ORNL facility tours, and one-on-one business discussions in the afternoon.  The showcase is open to the public, but registration is required and seating is limited.

2018 Technologies:

  • Heartbeat – Cyber Anomaly Detection through Side-Channel Analysis of Periodic System Function Invocation [summaryvideo]
  • Carbon Nanomaterial Enabled Ultra Conductive Metal Composites (UCC) [summaryvideo]
  • Low-Cost, High Strength Ni-Fe-Cr Alloys for High-Temperature Applications [summaryvideo]
  • Commercialization of High-Temperature Aluminum Alloys [summaryvideo]
  • Safe Impact Resistant Electrolytes (SAFIRE) [summaryvideo]
  • A Novel Catalyst for the Synthesis of Electrochemical Fuels [summaryvideo]
  • Novel Catalyst for Low Temperature Emissions Control [summary]
  • Used (spent) Nuclear Fuel Management and Analysis Tool [summary]

Spotlight on Lux Semiconductors and flexible silicon wafers

(NOTE: This is the first article in a five-part series spotlighting the work of the second cohort of start-ups comprising Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “Innovation Crossroads” initiative. They arrived in the area in May to begin their two-year effort to further advance their early stage energy-focuses companies. Teknovation.biz will be running one article each week on these innovative companies.)

By: Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

“We’re making a flexible version of the silicon wafer,” Shane McMahon, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lux Semiconductors, says of the technology that he is advancing as part of the second cohort in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads” program.

As most readers no doubt know, silicon is the primary platform for semiconductor devices, and a wafer is a thin slice of this semiconductor material that serves as the substrate for microelectronic devices built in and over the wafer.

“The silicon wafer is currently serving as the foundation for over 90 percent of electronic devices,” McMahon explains. “It’s been a critical platform for device manufacturers.”

That said, the young entrepreneur says that “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, expensive, and can no longer meet all modern demands.”

Lux, led by McMahon and Co-Founder Graeme Housser, will deliver a new class of semiconductor substrates, ones that are flexible, large area, and low cost, to serve as a next generation platform.

Read more here!

Innovation Crossroads hosting series of webinars for interested cohort three applicants

Innovation Crossroads, an ORNL program that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with experts and mentors in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from R&D to the marketplace, will soon be opening up applications for cohort three.

But before that happens, Innovation Crossroads leaders are hosting a series of webinars to educate interested applicants in what the program offers.

Through an annual call, up to five entrepreneurs will be selected to transform their ideas into energy and advanced manufacturing companies with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. Innovators will receive a fellowship that covers living costs, benefits and a travel stipend for up to two years, plus substantial funding to use on collaborative research and development at ORNL.

Eligibility Requirements include:

  • Must have PhD or equivalent experience
  • Must be focused on energy or manufacturing innovation
  • Must leverage ORNL R&D capabilities and have an impact on Department of Energy missions
  • Must be willing to relocate to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge area
  • Must be US citizen or lawful permanent resident at time of application

Some key dates to keep in mind:

  • September 6, 2018: Cohort 3 Applications Open
  • September 6, 2018: Cohort 3 Informational Webinar
  • October 4, 2018: Cohort 3 Informational Webinar
  • October 29, 2018: Cohort 3 Applications Close
  • May 2019: Cohort 3 Onboarding

Click here for more information.