Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
October 10, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Newest cohort of “Innovation Crossroads” introduced during virtual event on Thursday

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

The six innovators in Cohort 5, the newest group in the “Innovation Crossroads” (IC) program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, introduced their companies to the region during a virtual event on Thursday.

It was another in a series of sessions during “Innov865 Week” and was held in collaboration with the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC). Cortney Piper, Executive Director of the Council, opened the event by talking about the need for programming for energy entrepreneurs in the region and how that resulted in “Innovation Crossroads” here in Tennessee. Last year IC provided services to more than 20 start-ups that have raised around $4 million in mostly non-diluted capital funding.

“We are extraordinarily proud of this program and the service that it provides to our community and the start-ups that participate in it,” Piper said. TAEBC also runs the “Energy Mentor Network” underwritten by Launch Tennessee.

Piper shared some statistics from the most recent “Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report” that was released in August. Tennessee’s advanced energy industry contributes over $45 billion to the state’s GDP and provides more than 390,000 jobs at more than 20,000 businesses. The report also found that for the second year in a row, the advanced energy economy outpaces the state’s overall economy.

Dan Miller, the Program Lead of “Innovation Crossroads,” gave updates on the program, including information on Cohort 6 applications, which opened in September. Learn more in this article.

The members of Cohort 5, in the order they presented, are as follows:

  • Shuchi “SK” Khurana of Addiguru, a start-up that is doing real-time monitoring of metal additives in manufacturing. Khurana has created an artificial intelligence platform that determines defects based on images collected during the manufacturing process. Learn more in this article.
  • Caleb Alexander of DayLyte Batteries, a start-up working to build a sodium ion membrane for a more high-energy, low-cost sodium-air battery that would make electric vehicles more affordable, as well as allowing the industry to better expand into solar and wind energy. Learn more in this article.
  • Philip Stuckey of FC Renew, a company that is building a 3D hierarchical separator and catalyst support system for fuel cells. Stuckey’s bi-polar plate separators create a structure that meets the demands for fuel cell stackability while also extending the lifetime of the fuel cell’s electrocatalyst.
  • Tommy Gibbons, whose company named Hempitecture is researching energy-efficient, carbon-negative, bio-based insulation for buildings. The hemp fiber insulation used is non-toxic, high-performing, and carbon-negative to make. Learn more in this article.
  • Forrest Shriver of Sentinel Devices, who is working in database construction using machine learning for cyber-attack detection. The automatic learning system builds asset-specific operational databases which can be used in several industries. Shriver also was one of six start-ups that pitched at “Startup Day 2021.” Learn more about “Startup Day” in this article, and more about Shriver here.
  • Sam Evans of Unbound Water Technologies, who is researching a carbon-supported magnetic nano-absorbent. Evans’ system is a water filtration process that uses magnetic iron nanoparticles to bind to contaminants in the water, which can then be filtered out with magnets.

Look for profiles on Stuckey and Evans in the coming weeks on

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!