Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Bill Cabage (cabagewh@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Four startup companies use ORNL technology to compete in "America's Next Top Energy Innovator"

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 1, 2012 — Four startup companies, Borla Performance Industries, SH Coatings, TrakLok, Inc., and Woodmont Enterprises, are using Oak Ridge National Laboratory's technology to compete in the Department of Energy's "America's Next Top Energy Innovator Challenge," a competition where Americans vote online for the most innovative and promising startup companies that are using technologies from the Department's national laboratories to develop new products and businesses.

Based on the public vote and an expert review, the top startup companies will be invited to be featured at the premier annual gathering of clean energy investors and innovators around the country, the 2012 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, at the end of February. Voting is available at www.energy.gov/topinnovator.

"Through the America's Next Top Energy Innovator Challenge, we are unleashing startup companies to do what they do best: create new products, new industries, and new jobs," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "We've challenged America's entrepreneurs and innovators to create new businesses based on discoveries made by our world-leading national laboratories."

Americans can view profiles of the competing startups and vote on which ones could make the greatest contributions to the country's economic and energy future by visiting www.energy.gov/topinnovator. An expert panel will also evaluate the companies and rank them. Voting ends at 8:59 a.m EST on Monday, Feb. 6.

Borla Performance Industries, based in Johnson City, Tenn., has an option to license a novel, nano-pore membrane technology from ORNL. Combining this innovation with Borla's exhaust technology will lead to a low cost, unique exhaust system that will double as an energy neutral device to recover and reclaim clean water from engines powered by diesel, gasoline or natural gas. Military and commercial applications include transport and stationery power plants, marine, cars and trucks. View a video (http://energy.gov/americas-next-top-energy-innovator/borla-performance-industries-inc) on the company's technology.

SH Coatings, based in Dallas, Texas, employs Super Hydrophobic Coating (SHC) technology that protects power systems by preventing ice accumulation on power lines in ice storm threatened areas and contamination of power lines from salt on the coasts. In order to successfully utilize and commercialize the SHC technology for this application, tools to apply the coating onto new and existing lines must be developed. SH Coatings is developing these tools with the help of technology from ORNL. View a video (http://energy.gov/americas-next-top-energy-innovator/sh-coatings-lp) on the company's technology.

TrakLok, Inc., based in Knoxville, Tenn., intends to use an ORNL-developed, technology for tagging, tracking, locating and communicating with cargo containers and trailers in transit. The ORNL technology provides an avenue to meet increasing requirements for shipping containers to be "smart boxes" that can be tracked electronically. TrakLok uses GPS technology and satellite communications as part of its tracking and warning capability and international container locking technology to protect against container tampering, theft, vandalism and smuggling. Shipments can be tracked through a web-accessible, information technology-based global tracking system to provide real time visibility of cargo. View a video (http://energy.gov/americas-next-top-energy-innovator/traklok-corporation) on the company's technology.

Woodmont Enterprises, based in Nashville, Tenn., is creating a top-coat solution moisture barrier product for oriented-strand board (OSB), an engineered wood product formed by layering flakes of wood, by using technology developed at ORNL. The primary focus is to create a moisture barrier on OSB during transportation and after installation. One net benefit to moisture protected OSB after installation is mold resistance. View a video (http://energy.gov/americas-next-top-energy-innovator/woodmont-enterprises-llc) on the company's technology.

The companies participating in the challenge have signed option agreements allowing them to license valuable, cutting-edge technologies developed and patented by one of the Department of Energy's 17 national laboratories and the Y-12 National Security Complex. Thirty-six companies in total have signed these option agreements with the national laboratories under a streamlined, simplified application process. To learn more about DOE's America's Next Top Energy Innovator program, visit http://energy.gov/science-innovation/innovation/americas-next-top-energy-innovator.

The Energy Department also announced today that it will be extending America's Next Top Energy Innovator through next year, which will continue to make it easier for startups to use inventions and technologies developed at DOE's national laboratories to create new businesses, new products and new jobs for American workers. The Department will also offer another online competition in 2013.

America's Next Top Energy Innovator is part of the White House Startup America Initiative that celebrates its one year anniversary today. Startup America is a multiagency effort across the Obama Administration to promote high-growth entrepreneurship by expanding access to capital, cutting red tape, and accelerate innovation through agency action.

To learn more about the Obama Administration's Startup America Initiative, the program's one year anniversary and new steps the Obama Administration is taking to support job-creating small businesses, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/startup-america-fact-sheet.

To learn more about the 2012 ARPA-E Energy Summit, visit http://www.energyinnovationsummit.com/.