A crowd of investors and supporters turned out for last week’s Innovation Crossroads Showcase at the Knoxville Chamber as part of Innov865 Week. Sponsored by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council, the event celebrated deep-tech entrepreneurs and the Oak Ridge Corridor as a growing energy innovation hub for the nation.
Innovation Crossroads is a two-year ORNL program for entrepreneurs focusing on energy and advanced manufacturing technologies. The program is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, Building Technologies Office and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
In her opening remarks, ORNL Deputy for Science and Technology Susan Hubbard connected ORNL’s mission with its purposeful support of entrepreneurs.
“Our mission is to deliver scientific discoveries and scalable technologies that solve some of the nation’s most challenging energy and security problems, which helps drive the country’s global competitiveness and economic prosperity,” she said. “ORNL is also committed to advancing regional innovation, including in our Oak Ridge Corridor. That means dedicating ORNL support, resources and expertise that enable entrepreneurs to develop cutting-edge technologies and grow businesses and jobs in East Tennessee.”
In his introduction to the pitches, Innovation Crossroads program director Dan Miller said the program’s entrepreneurs have secured more than $100 million in additional funding.
“This success is a testament to our entrepreneurs and how they have leveraged access to ORNL’s expertise and facilities and the support of our business community and our energy ecosystem,” he said.
During the showcase, entrepreneurs in Innovation Crossroads’ cohort five and six delivered their company pitches followed by a panel discussion about the Knoxville-Oak Ridge region’s position as a destination for cleantech entrepreneurs. The panelists included Miller and leaders of two other local accelerators, Tricia Martinez from Techstars and Carol Seamons with Spark Innovation Center.
The companies and their presenters included:
- Agriwater, presented by Bianca Bailey, which is creating water treatment technology to purify livestock manure into clean water, fertilizer and carbon credits.
- Ateios Systems, presented by Rajan Kumar, which is developing coating and processing technologies necessary to scale solid-state batteries for faster, cheaper and cleaner battery component manufacturing.
- Addiguru, presented by Shuchi ‘SK’ Khurana, which provides real-time monitoring technology for additive manufacturing processes.
- Captis Aire, presented by Kim Tutin, which is developing air pollution control technology to adsorb and recover turpentine from wood dryer exhaust rather than using gas to burn it.
- DayLyte Batteries, presented by Caleb Alexander, which develops thin, flexible solid electrolyte for a high energy metal-air battery that uses abundant materials to overcome supply problems.
- FC Renew, presented by Philip Stuckey, which develops electrode technology for hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty trucks to achieve 30,000 hours of durability or over 1.2 million miles on the road.
- Holocene Climate Corporation, presented by Tobias Rueesch, which designs and builds chemical plants that efficiently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- Sentinel Devices, presented by Forrest Shriver, which is addressing industrial cybersecurity through autonomous cyberattack detection.
- Unbound Water Technologies, presented by Sam Evans, which is focused on removing pollutants from concentrated waste sources that end up in waterways.
- Vitriform3D, presented by Alex Stiles, which has developed a patent-pending binder jet technology that enables the use of recycled glass in large-scale 3D printing.
Innovation Crossroads cohort six entrepreneurs will be pitching their companies at the East Tennessee Technology Council at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7, at the council’s weekly meeting.
UT-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for DOE’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit energy.gov/science.