Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
March 17, 2024 | Tom Ballard

One of the presenters at this week’s Venture Connect Summit has East TN ties

Doug Speight, CEO of AxNano, was on the staff of ORNL from 2009 to 2014.

For slightly more than five years, Doug Speight served in a variety of roles at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) before returning in late 2014 to his native North Carolina. He was at the time and still is an entrepreneur at heart.

Doug Speight

Later this week, the ORNL alum will be presenting his newest start-up named AxNano at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s Venture Connect Summit in Raleigh. The company treats water polluted by PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals, and Speight serves as its Chief Executive Officer.

According to this article from GrepBeat, AxNano has two products that work together. The first is a mobile system that concentrates PFAS chemicals from a polluted body of water so that it’s easier to destroy the chemicals with the second product which destroys 99.99 percent of the PFAS chemicals in the concentrated water. Clients can either have the concentrated water shipped to the second product for PFAS destruction or have the product brought to the site, assuming they have the utilities to support it.

The polluted water is safe to return to its originating body of water after it’s gone through both of AxNano’s products, but it is not drinkable. AxNano provides the client with the system, but the client must provide its own labor to collect and concentrate the water. The first product costs approximately $200,000 while the second product costs about $3 million.


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