ORNL is getting a new $95M research building

(Originally published on Knoxville News Sentinel)

Four shovels flung dirt on the former site of two World War II-era buildings at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. As rubble from the Manhattan Project buildings lay piled in the background, officials broke ground for a $95 million laboratory.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., joined ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia and Johnny Moore, ORNL site office manager for DOE, for the ceremony.

The Translational Research Capability facility will be built near the center of ORNL’s main campus. It will include about 100,000 square feet of space, similar to the nearby Chemicals and Materials Sciences building, completed in 2011.

About three-quarters of the building will have open-plan modular areas holding various high-tech equipment and inert environment labs, while the rest will be office and support space, according to a DOE news release.

Some labs had to move to make room for the new Frontier supercomputer, Zacharia said.

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Seven new research fellows joining ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads program cohort three

(Originally published on Innovation Crossroads)

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

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) joined Innovation Crossroads as a program sponsor enabling a record number of innovators focused on energy-related and grid topics. Innovation Crossroads is also sponsored by DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO).

Selected through a merit-based process, these scientists and engineers will have the opportunity to advance their technologies by working with world-class science experts and unique capabilities at ORNL, such as Summit, 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.

The third cohort of Innovation Crossroads fellows and their projects include (video):

  • Jesse Thornburg: Learning-Based Monitoring and Control for Optimizing Commercial Refrigeration Operations
  • Alex Lewis: Microbial Electrolysis for Production of Renewable Hydrogen from Organic Waste
  • Leila Safavi-Tehrani: Advanced Production of High Purity Radioisotopes for Nuclear Medicine
  • Hicham Ghossein: Innovative Processing of Advanced Fiber Nonwoven Mats Through a Hydroentanglement System
  • Trevor McQueen: Next-Generation Sample Preparation Device for Cryo-TEM Studies
  • William Fitzhugh: Industrial Scale Production of Semiconducting Carbon-Nanotubes via Resonant-Dielectrophoresis
  • Jesse Claypoole: Advanced Multi-Spectral Light Field Imaging Sensors

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TCPoly developing thermally-conducted materials to improve heat dissipation

(NOTE: This is the final 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

“We decided we wanted to pursue a company and make something real out of our research,” Matt Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TCPoly Inc., told us.

The other part of the “we” equation is Co-Founder Thomas Bougher, a fellow classmate in the doctoral program at Georgia Institute of Technology. “We were doing our doctorates together and shared a small closet office with no windows for four years,” Smith said.

In October 2016, they launched TCPoly to develop a new class of high thermal conductivity plastic composite materials designed to improve heat dissipation, allowing for metal replacement and light-weighting, cost and component reductions, and improved performance and reliability. The materials also exhibit the unique ability to be 3D-printed, allowing thermal engineers to rapidly and inexpensively prototype multi-functional thermal solutions and enabling the design of heat transfer products that cannot be manufactured using traditional methods.

Today, Smith is participating in the second cohort of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads” initiative, while Bougher remains at the start-up’s home office in Atlanta. Both are engaged full-time in the new venture.

“We have complementary skills,” Smith says. His doctorate is in materials science and engineering, while Bougher’s is in mechanical engineering. They started the company with six 3D printers and a couple of polymer extruders housed in, you guessed it, Bougher’s garage.

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Eonix Energy focused on significantly lowering cost, size of ultra-capacitor modules

(NOTE: This is the fourth 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

“What good is an energy storage device that doesn’t store a lot of energy?”

Don DeRosa, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Eonix Energy, has a plan to solve that challenge with a new high voltage electrolyte that will significantly lower the cost and size of ultra-capacitor modules. The resulting lower cost and smaller ultra-capacitor modules can be used in tandem with lithium ion batteries to dramatically improve the efficiency, range, and longevity of hybrid and electric vehicles.

The State of New York native, part of the second cohort of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads,” learned about the program through word of mouth, something that says a lot about the initiative’s growing national reputation.

“Shane (McMahon) told me about it, and he learned about the program from Mitch (Ishmael),” DeRosa said. Ishmael was in the inaugural cohort selected in 2017, while McMahon is part of the second group that started in May 2018.

“When I first found out about the program, I could not believe it,” DeRosa said, noting that it could significantly help him reach his goal of having a minimum viable product to scale by the time the two-year effort ends.

Read more here.

Two Innovation Crossroads Entrepreneurs named to Forbes 30 Under 30

(Originally published: Teknovation.biz)

Two Entrepreneurs in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads”initiative are among 600 individuals selected from across the U.S. and Canada for the “Forbes 30 Under 30” cohort for 2019.

Anna Douglas, Co-Founder of SkyNano Technologies, and Megan O’Connor, Co-Founder on Nth Cycle, made the prestigious list. They were two of 30 individuals selected from the energy sector, one of 20 industries that Forbes identified for recognition. A total of 30 up and coming leaders was identified in each industry group.

In making the announcement yesterday, Forbes said that “Everything old is new again with the 2019 edition of the “Forbes 30 Under 30,” our annual list chronicling the brashest entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada. From creating milk without cows to trucks without drivers, these innovators are shaking up some of the world’s stodgiest industries. Spanning 20 different industries, our collection of 600 young leaders and entrepreneurs embodies how fresh vision, powerful technology and unwavering optimism can combine into earthshaking companies and movements. From finance to food, fashion to philanthropy, these risk-takers are forever changing how America does business.”

Forbes chose the 600 from thousands of nominees through what it says was a “three-layer process that relies on the knowledge and authority of our wide-reaching community, skilled reporters and expert judges.” The magazine’s Editors worked closely with a panel of judges that included well-recognized individuals like Tory Burch (Art & Style), Craig Newmark (Education), Padma Lakshmi (Food & Drink), Jim Hackett and Eren Ozmen (Manufacturing & Industry), David Axelrod (Law & Policy), Kirsten Green (Retail & Ecommerce), Thomas Tull (Sports), and Arlan Hamilton and Alexis Ohanian (Venture Capital).

Read more here.