Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
July 04, 2024 | Tom Ballard

EDA announces a dozen Tech Hubs awardees; two are in the Southeast

SC Nexus for Advanced Resilient Energy and South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub are among the 12 announced this week.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced approximately $504 million in implementation grants to 12 Tech Hubs designees to scale up the production and delivery of critical technologies, strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness and national security, and accelerate the growth of industries of the future in regions across the country.

The 12 Tech Hubs slated to receive Phase 2 implementation funding were chosen from the initial 31 Designated Tech Hubs that were announced in October 2023 (see post here). The actual award amounts will be finalized in the coming months, although there were recommended budgets for each of the dozen..

Among those selected were two from the Southeast:

SC Nexus:

This project covers the Midlands and Upstate regions of the Palmetto State along with the Augusta-Richmond County metropolitan statistical area of South Carolina and Georgia. Led by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the goal is to be a global leader in advanced energy, with a focus on cyber-secure grid resilience technologies (GRT) and improving the clean energy supply chain. The SC Nexus Tech Hub will leverage the region’s manufacturing base, research capabilities, and public-private collaboration to innovate and commercialize emerging energy storage materials and manufacturing techniques, including a demonstrative microgrid implementation that integrates renewable energy and storage into the state’s electricity systems.

This Tech Hub will also expand opportunities for developing, testing, and deploying exportable electricity technologies regionally. In doing so, SC Nexus will contribute to economic and national security by expanding the availability of GRTs and enabling greater deployment of distributed energy resources (DERs) that will fortify energy supplies, promote decarbonization, and reduce grid disruptions.

The SC Nexus Tech Hub seeks to remove barriers for GRT advances and increase likelihood of commercialization by providing the infrastructure to test and demonstrate new advanced energy technology, including battery energy storage systems (BESS).

In July 2024, EDA recommended this Tech Hub receive grant funding of approximately $45 million to implement four projects, including:

  • Expanding pilot manufacturing infrastructure to accelerate innovation and commercialization of battery energy storage systems at reduced costs and with improved features;
  • Upgrading an existing grid testing facility for GRTs to create a versatile, reconfigurable, and mobile 25MW test facility and real-time power grid emulator;
  • Developing a full-scale multi-modal grid operations center to conduct cyber-physical assurance on grid hardware and software, and train grid cyber defenders;
  • Raising awareness about GRT careers, provide skills training, and address the lack of critical support services like childcare and transportation which inhibit greater workforce engagement; and
  • Establishing a division within the South Carolina Department of Commerce dedicated to the Hub, granting it full access to the ancillary capabilities of the full agency, including communications, compliance, and legal.

South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub:

Led by the Miami-Dade County Office of Innovation and Economic Development, the geographic area covered by the project includes Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. The goal is to advance its global leadership in sustainable and resilient infrastructure (SRI) solutions for the global climate crisis. Building off the region’s unique combination of resources such as its coastal and marine infrastructure, cluster of clean cement and energy efficiency building industries, and academic and research institutions, this Tech Hub will jumpstart SRI innovation by developing, commercializing, and scaling SRI technologies, focused on climate adaptation and mitigation.

South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub seeks to advance community-level climate outcomes with a focus on bringing clean cement and concrete to market.

In July 2024, EDA recommended this Tech Hub receive grant funding of approximately $19 million to implement three projects, including:

  •  Scaling advanced concrete technologies made with reduced emissions that protect environments in low-lying areas, specifically focusing on communities most affected by extreme weather events;
  • Establishing workforce development programs that offer career pathways to diverse groups through certifications, training, and apprenticeships, supplemented with wraparound services; and
  • Dismantling silos within the climate and capital ecosystem to foster collaboration among government, climate justice advocates, startups, corporations, capital partners, and academia.

One of the top leaders of a third awardee has ties to East Tennessee. It is the iFAB Tech Hub led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Officially known as the Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing (iFAB) Tech Hub, it is designed to position Central Illinois as a global leader in biomanufacturing and precision fermentation, supporting national security, economic growth, and job generation. A key member of the leadership team is Beth Conerty, iFAB Regional Innovation Officer and Associate Director of Business Development at the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory, part of the University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.  A former Bredesen Center Fellow, Connerty also served as an Intern and later Program Lead for Entrepreneurial Support and Development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory before joining UI at the end of 2017.

The other nine Tech Hubs selected for funding were:

This announcement marks the culmination of Phase 2 of the first iteration of the Tech Hubs Program, a flagship initiative aimed at advancing U.S. leadership in critical and emerging technologies and industries. Phase 1 of the program identified 31 Tech Hubs in geographically diverse, high-potential regions across the country with demonstrated expertise in emergent technology sectors.

The Tech Hubs Program was authorized by the bipartisan “CHIPS and Science Act.”

Like what you've read?

Forward to a friend!

Don’t Miss Out on the Southeast’s Latest Entrepreneurial, Business, & Tech News!

Sign-up to get the Teknovation Newsletter in your inbox each morning!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

No, thanks!