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SkyNano celebrates opening of new facility in Louisville, Tennessee

East Tennessee science-based technology company SkyNano opened its new 20,000-square-foot facility in Louisville, TN, on March 20, with a ribbon cutting ceremony, where the Launch Tennessee CEO gave remarks. 

“SkyNano is a quintessential success story,” LaunchTN CEO Lindsey Cox said.  

The new Wrights Ferry Road in Louisville, Tennessee will allow for expansion, including additional team members, increased production capacity, further development of the company’s groundbreaking technology, and meeting the growing demand for carbon-negative materials.

“I am thrilled to move into our new facility in Louisville, Tennessee,” Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SkyNano Anna Douglas said.  “SkyNano is a Tennessee-grown company, so it brings me tremendous personal and professional satisfaction to take this next step in our backyard. This move would not have been possible without the hard work and innovative thinking of the SkyNano team. I am grateful for every team member and look forward to reaching new heights in the carbon management industry in 2024 and beyond.”

Since its creation in 2017, SkyNano has been located at Vanderbilt University, Innovation Crossroads at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Spark Innovation Center at the University of Tennessee Research Park. In 2022, it moved into its first location at Suite 3 at 4028 Papermill Drive, Knoxville, and quickly outgrew this location.

Photo: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy

 

What does SkyNano do?
The company is focused on commercializing a free-market solution to carbon pollution.

SkyNano captures carbon dioxide emissions and turns them into nanotubes, which can be used to make an array of useful items, including batteries and tires. 

It specifically develops a novel electrochemical manufacturing technology for capturing and converting CO2 from various industrial sources into valuable carbon-based materials, including its flagship product — the carbon nanotubes.

What’s a carbon nanotube?
According to Forbes, which covered SkyNano in 2022, “carbon nanotubes are hollow tubes of carbon with size in nanometers. These solid carbons are tough, and used in armor for vehicles. They can carry electric currents, and are used in transmission cables. They are flexible, and used in woven fabric.”

Read part 2 of the Forbes interview. 

Read more about SkyNano from the Knoxville News Sentinel. 

Economic benefits to the state
“We are so proud that SkyNano calls Tennessee home,” said Cortney Piper, Executive Director, Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC). 

TAEBC partners with Launch Tennessee to run the Energy Network. SkyNano was one of the first companies to participate in the program and leveraged resources Tennessee has to offer startups, such as SBIR matching grants, to programs like the SPARK Innovation Center and Innovation Crossroads.

“They are a terrific example of an advanced energy company that’s created a solution to carbon emissions and provides real economic benefits to our state,” Piper said. 

The March 20 program
At the event, SkyNano showcased its technology scale-up with its Generation 3 device – 200 gram-multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) per hour and continuous operation for carbon emission uptake. 

Additionally, the startup highlighted several demonstration projects, including:

  • Low-embodied carbon building materials: SkyNano, Endeavor Composites and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are working to develop a low-embodied carbon building material panel for use in non-structural building material applications.
  • High-performance lithium-ion batteries: SkyNano and Eonix are developing a high-performance MWCNT/silicon-based electrode structure for long-lifetime lithium-ion battery anodes. Paired with Eonix’s novel electrolyte screening technology, SkyNano has demonstrated significant improvement in cycle life compared to silicon anodes without MWCNTs and stabilized electrolytes.
  • Low-embodied carbon cementitious composites: SkyNano, in partnership with Dr. Hongyu Nick Zhou’s laboratory at UTK, is developing a novel cementitious composite for defense applications in 3D-printed concrete. The ability to 3D print a structure in extreme or dangerous environments helps improve warfighter capabilities and safety. With SkyNano MWCNTs, the company is working toward in-situ defect detection to improve the quality of prints and the functional strength and properties, such as EMI shielding, lightning strike protection, etc.
  • High-performance, low-embodied carbon composites: The Navy is invested in lowering its operational and embodied carbon across all defense activities. SkyNano, Endeavor Composites and UTK are partnering to develop sustainable, low-embodied carbon composites that don’t sacrifice the high performance required by naval applications. These are anticipated to be excellent material candidates for mass-sensitive applications such as drones and UAVs.

 

Photo: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy

Other speakers at the event were:
TVA’s Joe Hoagland; ORNL’s Susan Hubbard; UT Research Park’s Tom Rogers; the Department of Energy’s Christopher Saldana and the University of Tennessee’s Deborah Crawford.

Read more from Douglas about the company’s journey

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