(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third article in a series on Cohort 4 of “Innovation Crossroads.” The Cohort is in its second year of the program. Each article will focus on what’s next for the innovators and their companies.)
By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA
Almost halfway through the second year of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) “Innovation Crossroads” program, Danielle Castley, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Becq, has been making strides with its radiation shielding materials. You can read more about Becq and its start in “Innovation Crossroads” here. Recently, Castley said her company has rebranded its line of neutron shielding products to Becqshield and has developed a pourable gamma shielding product line, Becqrete.
There are three core products in the Becqshield line. Becqshield-RT is a pourable, low-density (0.97 g/cm3) neutron shield with more hydrogen than commercially available borated polyethylene. Becqshield-HT is the first and only high-temperature, low-density (1.04 g/cm3) neutron shield that does not sacrifice hydrogen for increased operating temperature. Finally, Becqshield-HD (1.7 g/cm3) is a pourable, lead-free, neutron-gamma shield.
The Becqrete product line of pourable, lead-free, gamma shielding includes Becqrete-S (density 4.7 g/cm3) and Becqrete-C (density 6.1 g/cm3).
“The Becqshield and Becqrete product lines can be tailored for a given source to maximize radiation stopping power per unit weight, unit volume, or unit cost,” Castley said. “Becq’s unique approach to shielding design is enabling our expansion into the space and defense industries where reductions in material weight and/or volume are particularly valuable.”
Becq continues to work out of ORNL to do material characterization and beta testing of its shielding products. During COVID-19, Becq redirected some of their material testing to other facilities.
Outside of resources at ORNL, the “Innovation Crossroads” program has helped Becq connect to marketing, accounting, and legal support in the East Tennessee region. Working alongside other start-ups has also been beneficial.
“We’ve been very impressed with Knoxville’s strong start-up community; interacting with other entrepreneurs in the region has been a great learning experience,” Castley said.
In addition to rebranding and growing its product line, Becq recently partnered with Illinois-based Transco Products, Inc. Transco provides metal reflective shielding and insulation to more than 200 nuclear power plants, and Becq will work with Transco to eliminate problematic radioactive hot spots in nuclear facilities.
“We are always excited to collaborate on projects that will benefit the economy and safety of nuclear power, our largest, most reliable source of clean energy,” Castley said.