Governor Lee and TDEC Announce Winners of 2022 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and TDEC Commissioner David Salyers recently announced the winners of the 2022 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards. The winners, which will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony on July 25 in Franklin, are recognized for their achievements and positive impact on the state’s natural resources and communities. Each recipient has demonstrated exceptional voluntary actions that improve or protect the environment and natural resources with projects or initiatives not required by law or regulation. In its 36th year, the awards program covers the following categories: agriculture and forestry; building green; clean air; energy and renewable resources; environmental education and outreach; materials management; natural resources; sustainable performance; and water quality. The awardees and their associated categories are as follows:
  • Building Green: 225 Polk Avenue – Hastings Architecture (Davidson County)
  • Water Quality: City of Maryville Water and Sewer Department (Blount County)
  • Natural Resources: FirstBank Amphitheater (Williamson County)
  • Sustainable Performance: Florim USA Inc. (Montgomery County)
  • Energy and Renewable Resources: Pathway Lending (Statewide)
  • Materials Management: Rockwood Sustainable Solutions LLC. (Wilson County)
  • Agriculture and Forestry: Sam Pleasants Cattle Farm (Fayette County)
  • Clean Air: SkyNano Technologies (Knox County)
  • Environmental Education and Outreach: West Tennessee Regional Recycling Hub (Chester County)
Turnip Green Creative Reuse was also recognized with the Pursuit of Excellence Award, which recognizes past award winners who continue to demonstrate a high regard for environmental stewardship. Detailed information about each recipient and their efforts can be found here.
U.S. DOE Launches Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Initiative to Connect More Clean Energy to the Grid
The White House, through U.S. DOE, recently launched the Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X), a new partnership funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that brings together grid operators, utilities, state and tribal governments, clean energy developers, energy justice organizations, and other stakeholders to connect more clean energy to America’s power grid by solving challenges facing the power industry. The partnership will help reduce wait times for clean energy sources in interconnection queues and will lower costs to connect to the grid. As the Biden Administration ramps up expansion of new renewable energy to reach the President's goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035, i2X partners will develop solutions for faster, simpler, and fairer interconnection of clean energy resources through better data, roadmap development, and technical assistance.

The i2X program aims to solve these challenges by addressing the core issues surrounding grid interconnection, such as a lack of data, shortage of human resources, and more complicated grid impact assessments. The i2X program will provide technical assistance to partners to develop solutions to specific regional, state, and local interconnection issues, helping connect more clean energy to the grid and lowering costs for consumers and families. i2X partners will also address the inequities caused by burdensome interconnection processes in alignment with the Administration’s Justice40 Initiative.

Collaborating with participating i2X organizations, experts from DOE’s Solar Energy and Wind Energy Technologies Offices and DOE’s National Labs will develop a 5-year roadmap that sets goals and identifies research gaps and benchmarks for success. Click here to learn about joining this partnership.
Tennessee Entities Receive Funding to Reduce Industrial Emissions and Manufacture Clean Energy Technologies
In June, U.S. DOE announced the selection of 30 projects that would receive $57.9 million in funding from the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO). The selected projects will help decarbonize the U.S. industrial sector, advance clean energy manufacturing, and improve America’s economic competitiveness. These projects will advance manufacturing innovations needed to drive economy-wide reductions in carbon emissions.

Under the Advanced Materials Manufacturing Topic Area, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will receive $2,000,000 to develop a holistic approach for the processing science of next generation ultrahigh temperature materials for heat exchangers. Under the Manufacturing Process Innovation Topic Area, Knoxville-based Trillium Renewable Chemicals will receive $2,500,000 for research and development of the sustainable manufacturing of acrylonitrile, a material widely used for the production of a number of materials including rubber, plastics, synthetic fibers, and carbon fiber.

Click here to learn more about selected projects.
Tennessee Entities Receive Funding for Research and Development to Turn Buildings into Carbon Storage Structures
U.S. DOE recently announced $39 million in awards for 18 projects seeking to develop technologies that can transform buildings into net carbon storage structures. Led by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), selectees for the Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA) program will prioritize overcoming barriers associated with carbon-storing buildings, including scarce, expensive, and geographically limited building materials. 
The Tennessee recipients and their projects are as follows:
  • ORNL ($1,098,000) - Renewable, Carbon-negative Adhesives for OSB and Other Engineered Woods
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville ($2,557,383) - Lignin-derived Carbon Storing Foams for High Performance Insulation
  • SkyNano (Knoxville, $2,000,000) - CO2mposite: Recycling of CO2, Carbon Fiber Waste, and Biomaterials into Composite Panels for Lower Embodied Carbon Building Materials
Click here for a full list of selected projects.
UT-Knoxville Awarded Funding Through U.S. DOE Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP)
U.S. DOE recently awarded more than $61 million for 74 nuclear energy projects across the country. The projects will support nuclear technology development, infrastructure improvements, and career opportunities at more than 40 U.S. universities. They will also help move the nation closer toward its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 by expanding access to nuclear energy—the nation’s largest source of clean power. The awarded funding is divided into three main buckets to support nuclear energy research efforts at U.S. universities in 29 states. These three buckets include Research and Development, Infrastructure Improvements, and Career Development.
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville was selected to receive funding for three projects:
  • Research and Development ($399,522) - Extending the HMF71 Benchmark Series for Graphite Reflector Thickness up to 18 Inches
  • Research and Development ($4,000,000) - Developing the technical basis and risk assessment tools for flexible plant operation
  • Infrastructure Improvements ($319,306) - Construction of a Flexible Fast Flux Facility for Cross Section Measurement, Benchmarking, and Education
To read more about these and other selected projects, visit the FY2022 Research and Development Awards, Integrated Research Projects Awards, and Infrastructure Grants pages on the NEUP site. 
Spark Cleantech Accelerator Selects First Cohort of Companies
The Spark Cleantech Accelerator, a strategic initiative within the Spark Innovation Center at the University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm, has selected the first six companies to participate in its inaugural program this summer. The program—which is sponsored by U.S. DOE, the City of Knoxville, Launch Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the UT Research Foundation— will lead the companies through a comprehensive curriculum including customer discovery, product-market fit, financial modeling, organizational development, and investor outreach.
The selected companies include:
  • frakktal (Houston, TX), which is developing a no-waste manufacturing process that begins with 95% locally recycled materials such as tires and plastics;
  • GenH (Boston, MA), which has developed a rapidly deployable modular system to produce hydro-electric power from small dams and canals;
  • Green Llama (Johnson City, TN), which is reducing the environmental footprint of consumer cleaning products by producing eco-friendly cleaning materials and sustainable packaging;
  • Groundstar (Cincinnati, OH), which is a carbon capture technology focused on functionalized graphene for use in hard-to-abate emission sources;
  • RAEV (Philadelphia, PA), which is developing an urban transportation system of small, shareable electric vehicles; and
  • Windfall (Knoxville, TN), which has developed a system to recycle and recover high purity fiberglass from wind blades and automotive composite scrap.
For additional information about the Spark Cleantech Accelerator or the Spark Innovation Center at the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm, please contact John Bruck at
ORNL Receives Funding to Advance Energy-Efficient Water Treatment Technologies
U.S. DOE, in partnership with the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) hub, recently announced the selection of 16 projects that will help the U.S. secure an affordable, energy-efficient water supply. Selected projects will develop innovative desalination technologies that can treat nontraditional water sources (e.g., brackish water, seawater, and industrial wastewater) and shrink the carbon footprint of the water-treatment industry.
ORNL will receive $1,983,149 to lead an advanced process controls project that will research and develop autonomous control and optimization for water desalination, as well as $1,510,999 for a project researching the selective separation of selenium oxyanions by chelating hydrogen-bonding ligands. Additionally, ORNL will serve as a project partner on four additional projects under this award.
Click here to see details of each award.
Better Buildings Summer Webinar Series
The U.S. DOE Better Buildings Summer Webinar Series takes on the most pressing topics facing energy professionals, with new experts leading the conversations on proven best practices, cost-effective strategies, and innovative new ways to approach sustainability and energy performance. The series will continue throughout the summer and focus on key areas in the field of building energy efficiency. The next webinars in the series are:
  • July 12, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM ET: Financing Solutions that Drive Energy Efficiency in the Water Nexus – Attendees will learn how market leaders in the hospitality sector finance and deploy projects that tackle energy efficiency and the water conservation nexus.
  • July 19, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM ET: Shelter from the Storm: Powering Community Resilience Hubs - During extreme weather, community resilience hubs can supply power before, during, and after grid outages. Learn from Better Buildings partners who have successfully ensured critical community facilities are online when they are needed most.
  • July 26, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM ET: Driving Decarbonization with 50001 Ready - Learn how to use DOE’s new 50001 Ready decarbonization management guidance to help organizations align internal systems, processes, and stakeholders to reduce energy-related GHG emissions effectively and efficiently.
Click any of the above links to register for individual sessions. Click here to see the full webinar schedule.
2022 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) will hold its 22nd biennial Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Monterey, CA from August 21-26. Energy efficiency and demand flexibility in buildings are critical parts of local, state, federal, and utility decarbonization strategies, enabling higher penetrations of variable renewable energy sources and electrification. As we transition to the new clean energy economy, when and where demand-side resources provide grid services is increasingly important for a reliable, low-cost, decarbonized future. At the same time, rapid changes in policies and programs signal a shift in approaches to bring equity and environmental justice to the forefront of climate solutions. The Summer Study will bring professionals from around the world to discuss the science and policies that equitably advance efficiency in our built environment and reduce climate impacts. Click here to register.
Carbon Negative Shot Summit
To advance the development of the emerging carbon dioxide (CO2) removal industry, U.S. DOE launched Carbon Negative Shot, the third target within DOE’s Energy Earthshots Initiative. Carbon Negative Shot is an all-hands-on-deck call for innovation in CO2 removal pathways that will capture CO2 from the atmosphere and durably store it at gigaton scales for less than $100/net metric ton of CO2-equivalent. To put this into perspective, one gigaton of CO2 is equivalent to the annual emissions from approximately 250 million vehicles driven in one year. CO2 removal, in conjunction with aggressive decarbonization, is a climate-critical activity required to reach our nation’s climate goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
On July 20 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM Eastern, the Carbon Negative Shot Summit will convene industry innovators, environmental and climate justice organizations, labor unions, academia, government leaders, and many more in order to increase collaboration to advance deployment of commercially viable, just, and sustainable CO2 removal in the U.S. Click here to register.
Energyshed – Exploring Place-Based Generation
U.S. DOE recently announced the Energyshed: Exploring Place‐Based Generation funding opportunity, which will award $10 million in funding for projects to develop tools to help communities understand the implications of consuming clean energy that they generate locally. These tools can enable more reliable, resilient, efficient, and affordable grids that address long-standing inequities in the distribution of cost and benefits across energy systems.

DOE expects to make two to five awards under this funding opportunity, each ranging from $2 to $5 million. DOE seeks a diverse set of applicants, including universities, research and development centers, individuals, and civil society organizations. Results from these tools should be accessible to all audiences and consistent whether considered from the perspective of utilities, government agencies, local communities, or individual consumers.
Successful projects will:
  • For a defined geographic area, collect a variety of relevant data as needed from utilities, consumers, local governments, community-based organizations, etc. to make energy decisions and understand the implications of those choices;
  • Develop a set of analytical tools which provide stakeholders the ability to fully weigh the impacts and tradeoffs, including potential benefits and challenges of developing more locally-derived generation under a range of future scenarios;
  • Create associated communications tools to efficiently present analytical results in an appropriate context for different categories of users; and
  • Validate data, tools, and processes through robust stakeholder engagement with one or more representative communities.
This work should be directed towards balancing the impacts and tradeoffs, including potential benefits and challenges of more locally based generation, and addressing a variety of considerations outlined in the funding opportunity.
DOE encourages the participation of underserved communities and underrepresented groups. As part of the application, applicants should describe how they will incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives in the project. Click here to access the full funding opportunity announcement (FOA) and to apply. Full applications under this award are due August 1. For FOA-specific support, contact
American-Made Solar Prize Round 6
U.S. DOE recently launched Round 6 of the American-Made Solar Prize, a $4 million competition designed to spur innovations in U.S. solar hardware and software technologies and address challenges to rapid, equitable solar energy deployment. In Round 6, the previously separate hardware and software tracks will be merged into one track for all competitors. This challenge requires competitors to make progress quickly, form private-sector partnerships, and engage customers to bring their ideas to life. Interested participants can sign up and read the official competition rules on the HeroX platform. 
Entrepreneurial students, professors, small business owners, company staffers, researchers at national laboratories, or anyone else based in the U.S. with a potentially marketable solar technology solution are eligible to compete. Competitors have access to the American-Made Network to find partners and testing facilities to accelerate their progress.
The competition contains an optional Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Contest that runs parallel with every phase of the competition. Competitors have three opportunities to vie for additional cash prizes if their solution addresses solar market barriers faced by underserved communities and work to substantially advance their approach towards JEDI goals.
Individually, each competitor can win up $700,000 in cash and $150,000 in technical support vouchers over the course of three phases (not inclusive of the JEDI Contest prize money). DOE will hold an informational webinar on July 13 at 2:00 PM Eastern. Sign-ups to compete must be completed by October 6. For questions, e-mail Click here to sign up.
Tennessee Valley Solar Conference + Storage
TenneSEIA will host the 2022 Tennessee Valley Solar Conference + Storage at the Downtown Knoxville Hilton from October 26-27. The focus of the Conference is to bring together people who are interested in growing solar business opportunities in the Tennessee Valley to discuss strategies, market trends, and policies that impact the solar industry. Attendees will participate in in-depth and forward-looking discussions on TVA policy and processes as well as the evolving technical opportunities facing the industry in the Tennessee Valley region. Early Bird registration pricing continues through July 4. Click here to register. See the conference agenda here.
U.S. DOE to Fund Applied Research and Development to Accelerate Decarbonization of American Industry
U.S. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recently announced its intent to issue, on behalf of the Advanced Manufacturing Office, a funding opportunity announcement that will support DOE’s efforts to decarbonize the U.S. industrial sector and move the U.S. towards a net-zero economy by 2050.
The “Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization FOA” is expected to include the following topics, applying the four industrial decarbonization pathways to energy-intensive U.S. industries where decarbonization technologies could have the greatest impact:
  • Decarbonizing Chemicals –This topic will focus on unit operations, including advanced separations and advanced reactors, and alternative production and process heating technologies to reduce carbon impacts from the production of high-volume chemicals.
  • Decarbonizing Iron and Steel –This topic will focus on advancements that enable decarbonization in ore-based or scrap-based iron and steelmaking operations, and that convert other existing iron and steelmaking ancillary and thermal processes to use clean fuels or electricity.
  • Decarbonizing Food and Beverage Products – This topic will focus on innovative technologies that decarbonize process heating operations within the food and beverage sector.
  • Decarbonizing Cement and Concrete – This topic will focus on next generation cement formulations and process routes, utilization of low carbon fuels, and carbon capture technologies.
  • Decarbonizing Paper and Forest Products – This topic will focus on novel paper and wood drying technologies, and innovative pulping and paper forming technologies.
  • Cross-sector Decarbonization Technologies – This topic will focus on innovations in low temperature waste heat to power, thermal energy storage, and industrial heat pump technologies.
Click here to access the full Notice of Intent.
Cybersecurity and Manufacturing Innovation Institute Roadmap
The Cybersecurity and Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII) Roadmap outlines a broad vision for cybersecurity in U.S. manufacturing for the next five years and is aimed squarely at Small and Medium Manufacturers (SMM), large manufacturers, as well as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) that supply large production industries. The purpose of the Roadmap is to present a robust and aggressive pathway to transform the industry by making U.S. manufacturers the most cybersecure in the world. Attacks will be increasingly focused at the advanced persistent threat or sabotage levels, in addition to IP theft and ransomware. The aim of these attacks is simple: disrupt our critical manufacturing ecosystem and undermine our economy.
With this dynamic in mind, the Roadmap offers manufacturers insight into the national benefits of a dedicated effort to secure the U.S. manufacturing industry from cyber threats. The research path described in the Roadmap is essential as U.S. manufacturers of all sizes drive toward processes that are data intensive, digitized, and that utilize emergent applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to drive productivity gains in the face of growing complexity. Click here to access the full Roadmap.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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