The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office issued a statement honoring the millions of people who work in the field and touting its funding opportunities for advanced manufacturing technologies, especially for projects that reduce energy consumption. Manufacturing is a key part of the cleantech development process, and Centered gives a shout out to everyone involved in the industry. You’ll notice that most of our stories today have a direct connection to manufacturing.
🥤 PLASTICS: Ames Laboratory researchers discovered a lower-energy, lower-temperature process to convert lignin — a natural plant compound that becomes waste during paper manufacturing — into chemical precursors for making nylon. The conversion process is more environmentally friendly than others and is an alternative to the waste lignin’s typical disposal method: burning it for heat.
- Chicago-based lithium-ion battery material startup NanoGraf Technologies (previously featured in Centered) made Built In’s list of 21 semiconductor companies that are driving technological and manufacturing growth.
- Argonne National Laboratory received nearly $15 million in funding from the Department of Energy for six advanced battery manufacturing projects. Researchers are working to develop more powerful, longer-lasting, cheaper, and safer batteries that enhance energy efficiency and strengthen the electric grid.
🏃 ACCELERATORS: The Milwaukee Business Journal posted an interactive map of tech hub spaces spanning the I-94 corridor from Chicago to the Twin Cities. Milwaukee’s Energy Innovation Center and Global Water Center are among the featured innovation hubs.
- Chicago startup Aeromutable (previously featured in Centered) is one of eight regional winners for the Cleantech Open accelerator. Later this month it will compete in the finals for the national prize.
- R&D World magazine honored the National Renewable Energy Laboratory with awards for six energy-focused innovations including flexible solar cells, featured in yesterday’s Centered.