Friday, May 1, 2015

INL picks two teams for DOE commercialization program

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., is working with six national labs, including INL, identifying innovative technologies with potential for commercialization.
Idaho National Laboratory has selected two teams to participate this year in the Department of Energy’s Lab-Corps Program.

Last fall, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy selected proposals from six national labs, including INL, for a $2.3 million pilot program called Lab-Corps, which is designed to accelerate the commercialization of clean energy technologies.

“Our program is designed to immerse each three-person team in an approach to learn about successfully commercializing their discoveries to the private sector,” said INL Lab-Corps leader Tammie Borders, in a press release this week.

INL reviewed several technologies for the Lab-Corps program that promise advancements in sustainable transportation, renewable power and energy efficiency lab technologies. The winners were Matthew Balderree, who's technology is an application that facilitates material inspection of wind turbine blades using unmanned aircraft, and Brant Peery, who developed technology that compiles data from databases in different formats and presents it in a user-friendly way.

“DOE’s Lab-Corps program offers a new pathway to advance greater collaboration between industry and national laboratories,” said INL Associate Laboratory Director Steven Aumeier. Modeled closely after the National Science Foundation's I-Corps program, Lab-Corps is managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and seeks to strengthen the impact national laboratories have on the nation's energy resources. The technology accelerator and training curriculum enables lab-based teams to gain direct market feedback on their technologies and pursue commercialization opportunities.

“Each team has an INL researcher, an entrepreneurial lead and an industry mentor,” Borders said. “The entrepreneurial lead and the industry mentor are selected from talented business leaders who work outside of INL in order to offer a fresh perspective for the team.”

INL’s pilot program capitalizes on previous work with the Idaho Technology Council, Boise State University and Renewable Technology Ventures. These groups have assisted in identifying potential entrepreneurial leads and industry mentors for the teams.

During the seven-week training provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, each team will visit companies in the appropriate market sectors and meet face-to-face with customers. “We are expecting highly energetic teams who will hone their new entrepreneurial talents and gain exceptional insight into commercializing innovative technologies in the private sector,” Borders said.

Energy Department Announces New Lab Program to Accelerate Commercialization of Clean Energy Technologies