October 18 – December 8, 2016
Golden, CO

Information about the Energy I-Corps cohort 4 teams, their technologies, and how Energy I-Corps is helping the teams fine-tune their potential pathways to market are highlighted here. 

Idaho National Laboratory – CellSage

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Kevin Gering
Entrepreneurial Lead: Josh McNally
Industry Mentor: Frank Meijers

INL's CellSage is an advanced research and development software tool that closes the gap in understanding how to monitor and manage complex battery systems. It provides a means toward more comprehensive battery characterization, as well as diagnostics and prognostics of aging mechanisms. CellSage provides information that can be used to optimize battery design and usage, and aids in the development of battery management schemes variable combinations of operating conditions and environments.

Idaho National Laboratory – Detection Systems

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Troy Unruh
Entrepreneurial Lead: Gregory Lancaster
Industry Mentor: Sontra Yim

This effort will provide a nuclear-focused strategy for providing an advanced, innovative, and intuitive imaging technology to workers at nuclear facilities called Change Detection System (CDS) .When deployed for nuclear applications, CDS will transform the way work is accomplished by leveraging powerful computer vision techniques for the identification and analysis of objects/areas not currently available to the nuclear reactor community. CDS has received two patents and two R&D 100 awards.

Idaho National Laboratory – Dry Cask Vital Signs

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Ahmad Al Rashdan
Entrepreneurial Lead: Carson McNair
Industry Mentor: John Kessler

The proposed technology is to enable online performance monitoring of vented dry casks by installing a device on all air vents to monitor the physical parameters of air such as temperature, flow rate, density, nuclear radiation, impurities, humidity, salt content, acidity, and chemistry, and to apply a method that is based on accumulating measurements, then correlating accumulated measurements to dry cask failure baselines or signatures.

Idaho National Laboratory – E-RECOV

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Tedd Lister
Entrepreneurial Lead: Luis Diaz Aldana and Leslie Ovard
Industry Mentor: Jon Cook

Electrochemically Recycling Electronic Components of Value (E-RECOV) is novel technology developed specifically to reclaim valuable metals from discarded electronic equipment. The process uses an electrochemical cell to efficiently recover the bulk of metals, leading to more thorough recycling of materials while significantly minimizing chemical use and waste generation. The process is sustainable, safe, and environmentally friendly and can be accomplished domestically and economically.

Idaho National Laboratory – Optiblend

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Allison Ray
Entrepreneurial Lead: Hong Hu
Industry Mentor: Ryan Bills

Researchers at INL are developing a solution to enable a blended feedstock strategy in the production of renewable fuels. The use of blended feedstocks addresses several challenges in the current supply chain, including availability, cost, quality, and variability. Blending provides a mechanism to reduce supply chain risk and may reduce feedstock costs by as much as 30%. Preliminary results suggest blending provides a low-cost, consistent biomass supply for advanced bio-fuel production.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – CryoH2

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Guillaume Petitpas
Entrepreneurial Lead: Ryan Zarkesh
Industry Mentors: Herie Soto and Tobias Brunner

Hydrogen offers a wide variety of benefits to today's challenges for carbonless transportation (zero tail pipe emissions, rapid refueling and long driving range) but its widespread commercialization is still limited due to high costs. Cryo-compressed H2 brings in unique cost-effective and compact technologies along the entire transportation pathway – delivery, dispensing and vehicle storage – that would make carbonless transportation a practical reality.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – MECS

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Congwang Ye
Entrepreneurial Lead: Lionel Keene
Industry Mentor: Gerry Baranano

As CO2 emission continues to impact our global environment, more effective approaches to capture CO2 are desired. To this goal, we developed micro-encapsulated CO2 sorbents (MECS) with microfluidic processing. These mechanically robust microcapsules are not only safer to use in many unprecedented scenarios, but also captures CO2 3.5-10x faster than current CO2 removal technologies. The captured CO2 can then be released by heat or diffusion to obtain high purity CO2 for reuse or storage.

Los Alamos National Laboratory – FuSS: Fuels Synthesized from Sugars

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Andrew Sutton
Entrepreneurial Lead: Cameron Moore
Industry Mentor: David Thorne

By using small bioderived molecular building blocks, we can synthesize several products - paint additives, chemical solvents and chemical precursors using a handful of simple chemical transformations. As it's a single pathway we can alter the reaction conditions to adjust the chemicals produced dependent on market demand. To increase robustness in our process we can also produce both diesel, gasoline and jet components to tap into a limitless volume market in case of market saturation.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Autonomous Concrete Printing

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Scott Jenne
Entrepreneurial Lead: Jason Cotrell
Industry Mentor: Sandy Butterfield

Autonomous Concrete Printing uses demonstrated concrete 3D printing technologies in a novel configuration to manufacture ultra-tall wind turbine towers in place. This technology is intended to print complex concrete structures without the need for additional support structures. In the envisioned embodiment, the technology will be able to print towers in heights that exceed 200m using low cost materials and structurally efficient designs not possible using traditional manufacturing techniques.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – GeoCAES

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Chad Augustine
Entrepreneurial Lead: Greg Stark
Industry Mentor: Jim Corboy


Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) uses compressors to store pressurized air during low electricity demand periods and release it through turbines to generate electricity during high electricity demand periods. CAES projects typically use underground salt domes for air storage, which limits suitable geographical locations. This novel technology aims to expand the geographical locations for CAES and lower its costs by repurposing depleted hydraulically fractured gas wells for air storage.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Halo

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Aaron Ptak
Entrepreneurial Lead: David Young
Industry Mentor: Sally Hatcher

Team HALO will explore a business model for NREL's research on dynamic hydride vapor phase epitaxy (D-HVPE) to grow high efficiency III-V solar cells at a greatly reduced price compared with the incumbent technology of metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). D-HVPE produces devices with excellent bulk material quality, and sharp, well-passivated interfaces at high deposition rates (> 1 µm/min), using low-cost bulk metal and HALOgen chemistry.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Thermoelectric Dryer

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Kyle Glusenkamp
Entrepreneurial Lead: Ahmad Abu-Heiba
Industry Mentor: Guolian Wu

The majority of U.S. homes contain an electric clothes dryer, and these appliances account for about 6% of residential energy consumption. Thermoelectric Dryer has been developing a ventless dryer using thermoelectric heat pump can reduce energy consumption by about 40% while being less expensive to purchase than the existing vapor compression-based heat pump dryers on the market.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – Lubricant Engineers

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Lelia Cosimbescu
Entrepreneurial Lead: Karl Albrecht
Industry Mentor: Tony Christensen

Lubricant Engineers has been developing multi-branched and hyper-branched polymers that have shown promise as viscosity index improvers and friction reducers. Hyper-branched polymers are previously un-reported for this application, but are believed to be more resistant against shear degradation versus their linear counterparts. Homo-polymers of lipophilic monomers were prepared and in some cases polar co-monomers were introduced in the design for friction control.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – RF Tag

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Daniel Deng
Entrepreneurial Lead: Lara Aston
Industry Mentor: Paul Jacobson and Sara Hunt

A smaller RF tag with increased tag life that could be implanted by injection instead of by surgery would substantially overcome present constraints thereby broadening the application range of RF tag. Besides being used to study the survival of small fishes through hydroelectric dams, it would permit tracking of most bats and small birds currently not possible using presently available active tags and could provide a breakthrough to understanding interaction between wind turbines and bats.

Sandia National Laboratories – Sandia Technology Systems

Team Members

Principal Investigator: Paco Maldonado and Scott Lindbolm
Entrepreneurial Lead: David Sais
Industry Mentor: Todd Hunter

Harsh environments prove to be a limiting factor for standard electronics. Utilizing advanced electronics and packaging techniques, we are able to develop rugged electronics systems that can withstand the punishing conditions they must operate in.