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    • 2018-04-17 12:00:44
    • Article ID: 692957

    Argonne Selects Innovators From Across Nation to Grow Startups

    • Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

      John Carlisle, director of Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) at Argonne, is seen here introducing the opening of the second CRI cohort pitch on February 7. Six innovators were chosen from that competition and will work to grow their technologies at Argonne over the next two years.

    • Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

      New Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) cohort innovator Chad Husko gives his pitch at CRI’s second cohort competition in February.

    • Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

      Chain Reaction Innovations identifies innovators with ideas for energy- and science-based technologies and provides them with the laboratory tools, seed capital and collaborators needed to grow their early-stage technologies to attract the long-term capital and commercial partners.

    Entrepreneurs from Illinois, California, New York, Texas and Missouri have won spots in an elite national program at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory to grow startup technologies.

     On April 18, John Carlisle announced the second cohort of Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) following an extensive two-part pitch competition and reviews by panels of industry experts, investors, scientists and engineers. CRI is the Midwest’s first entrepreneurship program to embed innovators in a national laboratory.

    “CRI will accelerate the development of sustainable and energy-efficient technologies and drives manufacturing growth by helping startups and innovators reduce development costs and risks.” — John Carlisle, director of CRI.

    DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) created the Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs to provide an institutional home for innovative postdoctoral researchers to build their research into products and train to be entrepreneurs. The two-year program is funded by EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO). CRI is located at Argonne and supported by area mentors from the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago and the Purdue Foundry at Purdue University.

    “We need entrepreneurs in cleantech to drive innovation, and we need a stronger connection between national laboratories and entrepreneurs to accelerate that,” said AMO Director Rob Ivester. “The more we as a nation drive technologies into applications that change manufacturing, the more we realize the direct benefits of that innovation through job creation, economic growth and global competitiveness.”

    Eighty-three innovators from 26 states applied to earn a spot. The goal: Embed in Argonne for two years and access the lab’s scientific expertise, world-class facilities and mentorship to support them in developing their innovative technologies. The new technologies focus on enhancing energy efficiency or sustainability, and overcoming complex scientific challenges to improve quality of life. Technologies in advanced manufacturing, smart grid, grid-level storage, graphene, water, electronics and energy conversion made it to the final competition.

    “Argonne National Laboratory, as one of the nation’s leading energy science laboratories, and the University of Chicago, which operates Argonne on behalf of the Department of Energy and is home to the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, are particularly well-positioned to spur energy technology innovation,” said Eric Isaacs, executive vice president for research, innovation and the national laboratories at the University of Chicago. “The new cohort in Chain Reaction Innovations can draw from the expertise of these two institutions, and the city of Chicago's entrepreneurial ecosystem for startups with a growing investor network and several of the nation’s top engineering schools.”

    “The Purdue Foundry has a strong track record of launching successful science-based businesses,” said Tim Peoples, managing director of the Purdue Foundry. “We are thrilled to be able to leverage that expertise to help Argonne and CRI innovators commercialize clean energy solutions that create new businesses and manufacturing opportunities.”

    Innovators of the second cohort will focus on the following technologies and goals: 

    Erika Boeing (St. Louis): DRIVETRAINS FOR SMALL WIND POWER

    Boeing wants to drastically lower the cost of small wind turbine technology. She is developing small-scale wind power systems that can be integrated as part of a sustainable energy platform to power buildings. These design features efficiently capture and translate high velocity wind currents into energy. The key innovation involves a flywheel-based drive train that minimizes costs associated with power electronics that are economically prohibitive for small wind applications.

    Tom Guarr (Michigan State University): ORGANIC MATERIALS FOR ENERGY STORAGE

    Guarr wants to use molecular design principles to create organic compounds that will revolutionize the field of energy storage. He is developing a small molecule that enables the production of a novel flow cell battery for energy storage. The structural flexibility of the molecule depends on its redox state which translates into electrolyte solutions that can function with simple barrier separation as opposed to ion selective membranes found in the state-of-the-art flow batteries.

    Chad Husko (Columbia University): INTEGRATED HYBRID SILICON LASERS

    Husko wants to harness emerging materials for applications in silicon photonics for energy-efficient computing and data centers. He is developing technology that reduces optical interface footprint and provides a highly efficient manufacturing technology for hybrid silicon based lasers. The technology has been advanced to show the principles of experimental feasibility by demonstrating components function in a controlled laboratory environment.

    David Manosalvas-Kjono (Stanford University): DYNAMIC FLOW CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR VEHICLES

    Manosalvas-Kjono uses computational fluid dynamics for the design of add-on mechanisms to reduce aerodynamic drag, energy consumption and harmful emissions in heavy vehicles. He is developing an adaptive add-on device to reduce aerodynamic drag on commercial semi-trailers thereby improving fuel efficiency. The technology relies on generating a dynamic air flow across the back of the trailer to direct the wake of the trailer in real-time, reducing drag and boosting fuel efficiency up to 16%.

    Ted Seo (Northwestern University): GRAPHENE ENHANCED ELECTRODES

    Seo focuses on the interdisciplinary fields of nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing. His proposed graphene-based technology takes advantage of the unique properties of graphene to enable the preparation of nanoscale composites to serve as advanced electrodes in lithium-ion batteries.

    Veronika Stelmakh (MIT): PORTABLE THERMOPHOTOVOLTAIC POWER GENERATOR

    Stelmakh’s project involves the development of an innovative thermophotovoltaic technology that affords a lightweight, small-footprint power alternative to battery packs. The team has shown basic combustion technology that drives a photonic crystal, which emits selectively enhanced photons that are captured by lowbandap photovoltaic cell to produce electricity.

    DOE estimates that the global clean energy market will be in the trillions of dollars as the demand for energy-based products grows, thanks to an expanding global middle class and the private sector’s increasing appetite for new clean energy technologies.

    The selected innovators will move to Illinois in May to begin two years of research and development at Argonne. Through CRI, they will gain unprecedented access to world-leading tools and experts at Argonne and the fertile innovation ecosystem in Chicago, which sits at the heart of one of the nation’s greatest concentrations of research institutions and industrial bases.

    “CRI will accelerate the development of sustainable and energy-efficient technologies and drives manufacturing growth by helping startups and innovators reduce development costs and risks,” said John Carlisle, director of CRI.  

    “To meet the greatest global challenges in energy, sustainability and security, we need to support a culture of innovation that combines the risk-taking spirit of entrepreneurs with the expertise and capabilities of national laboratories,” said Argonne Laboratory Director Paul Kearns.

    CRI’s ability to embed innovators at Argonne and provide multifaceted support sets it apart from similar programs that typically only provide business support.

    At Argonne, CRI participants gain access to tools and capabilities at five DOE Office of Science User Facilities, including the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, the Center for Nanoscale Materials, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility, the Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System and the Advanced Photon Source, the nation’s highest-energy X-ray synchrotron for materials characterization. Innovators can also collaborate with more than 1,600 scientists and engineers and use a variety of other resources, such as the Center for Transportation Research and energy storage leaders ACCESS and JCESR.

    Applications for CRI’s third cohort will open in September 2018 and selected innovators will be asked to join the two-year program. Innovators receive up to $220,000 to spend on research and development, and up to $110,000 annually in stipend, benefits and a travel allowance.

    The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) supports early-stage research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that make energy more affordable and strengthen the reliability, resilience, and security of the U.S. electric grid.

    EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) supports early-stage research to advance innovation in U.S. manufacturing and promote American economic growth and energy security.

    Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

    The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.

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    Researchers switch material from one state to another with a single flash of light

    Scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have demonstrated a surprisingly simple way of flipping a material from one state into another, and then back again, with single flashes of laser light.

    The Stories Behind the Science: How Does the Ocean's Saltiness Affect Tropical Storms?

    Two researchers with personal experience of hurricanes set out to investigate the role of an underestimated factor in storm's strength - salinity. They found that salinity plays a larger role than anyone thought, including them.

    Surprise finding: Discovering a previously unknown role for a source of magnetic fields

    Feature describes unexpected discovery of a role the process that seeds magnetic fields plays in mediating a phenomenon that occurs throughout the universe and can disrupt cell phone service and knock out power grids on Earth.

    Genetic behavior reveals cause of death in poplars essential to ecosystems, industry

    Scientists studying a valuable, but vulnerable, species of poplar have identified the genetic mechanism responsible for the species' inability to resist a pervasive and deadly disease. Their finding could lead to more successful hybrid poplar varieties for increased biofuels and forestry production and protect native trees against infection.

    Pushing the (Extra Cold) Frontiers of Superconducting Science

    Ames Laboratory has developed a method to measure magnetic properties of superconducting and magnetic materials that exhibit unusual quantum behavior at very low temperatures in high magnetic fields.

    Scientists Find Unusual Behavior in Topological Material

    Argonne scientists have identified a new class of topological materials made by inserting transition metal atoms into the atomic lattice of a well-known two-dimensional material.

    Wind Farms and Reducing Hurricane Precipitation

    New research reveals an unexpected benefit of large-scale offshore wind farms: the ability to lessen precipitation from hurricanes.

    New simulations confirm efficiency of waste-removal process in plasma device

    PPPL scientists have found evidence suggesting that a process could remove the unwanted ash produced during fusion reactions and make the fusion processes more efficient within a type of fusion facility known as a field-reversed configuration device.

    How Animals Use Their Tails to Swish and Swat Away Insects

    A new study shows how animals use their tails to keep mosquitoes at bay by combining a swish that blows away most of the biting bugs and a swat that kills the ones that get through.

    Missing gamma-ray blobs shed new light on dark matter, cosmic magnetism

    Scientists, including researchers from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, have compiled the most detailed catalog of such blobs using eight years of data collected with the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope. The blobs, including 19 gamma-ray sources that weren't known to be extended before, provide crucial information on how stars are born, how they die, and how galaxies spew out matter trillions of miles into space.


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    Engineering professor receives Department of Energy grant

    New Mexico State University Department of Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Ehsan Dehghan Niri has received a United States Department of Energy grant. This is a three-year award for $400,000 and is a collaboration with Arizona State University.

    AVS and AIP Publishing Expand Partnership to Launch AVS Quantum Science

    AIP Publishing and AVS: Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing (AVS) today announced an agreement to publish AVS Quantum Science, a new online interdisciplinary journal. The announcement coincides with the AVS 65th International Symposium & Exhibition in Long Beach, California, from October 21-26, 2018.

    Prototype Solar Energy, Battery Systems to Fuel Commercialization

    Designing, building and testing prototype systems that show how renewable energy can power devices, such as a weather and soil sensor station, can help bridge the gap between basic science research and commercialization.

    Argonne to Advance High Performance Computing in Manufacturing

    Argonne awarded funding to partner with Industry to advance the use of high performance computing in manufacturing.

    "Invisible Glass" Wins 2018 Create the Future Design Contest Grand Prize

    Scientists from the Center for Functional Nanomaterials developed a technique for making nonreflecting glass, silicon, and plastic surfaces.

    Missouri S&T researchers win multimillion dollar grant to build fast-charging stations for electric cars

    Researchers from Missouri S&T and three private companies will combine their expertise to create charging stations for electric vehicles that could charge a car in less than 10 minutes - matching the time it takes to fill up a conventional vehicle with gasoline."The big problem with electric vehicles is range, and it's not so much range as range anxiety.

    Making batteries store more energy, last longer

    A new solid polymer electrolyte may help make cell phone batteries store more energy and last longer.

    Three Brookhaven Lab Scientists Named Fellows of American Physical Society

    The American Physical Society (APS), the world's largest physics organization, has elected three scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory as 2018 APS fellows.

    Southern Research first to win accreditation under ISO 14034

    Southern Research has become the first organization in the United States to earn accreditation under ISO 14034, a new international standard for evaluating and verifying environmental technologies that was recently adopted by the American National Standards Institute.

    Kawtar Hafidi to head Physical Sciences and Engineering directorate at Argonne

    Physicist Kawtar Hafidi has been appointed Associate Laboratory Director, Physical Sciences and Engineering at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.


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    Cryocooler Cools an Accelerator Cavity

    Researchers demonstrated cryogen-free operation of a superconducting radio-frequency cavity that might ease barriers to its use in societal applications.

    Shining Light on the Separation of Rare Earth Metals

    New studies identify key molecular characteristics to potentially separate rare earth metals cleanly and efficiently with light.

    Placing Atoms for Optimum Catalysts

    Precise positioning of oxygens could help engineer faster, more efficient energy-relevant chemical transformations.

    How to Make Soot and Stardust

    Scientists unlock mystery that could help reduce emissions of fine particles from combustion engines and other sources.

    Breaking the Symmetry Between Fundamental Forces

    Scientists improve our understanding of the relationship between fundamental forces by re-creating the earliest moments of the universe.

    Water Plays Unexpected Role in Forming Minerals

    Water molecules line up tiny particles to attach and form minerals; understanding how this happens impacts energy extraction and storage along with waste disposal.

    Heavy Particles Get Caught Up in the Flow

    First direct measurement show how heavy particles containing a charm quark get caught up in the flow of early universe particle soup.

    Seeing Between the Atoms

    New detector enables electron microscope imaging at record-breaking resolution.

    Scaling Up Single-Crystal Graphene

    New method can make films of atomically thin carbon that are over a foot long.

    Discovered: Optimal Magnetic Fields Suppress Instabilities in Tokamak Plasmas

    U.S. and Korean scientists show how to find and use beneficial 3-D field perturbations to stabilize dangerous edge-localized modes in plasma.


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