5th Cohort of Five Innovators Selected

Lemont, IL (April 30, 2021) — Five new innovators will be joining Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI), the entrepreneurship program at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory, as part of the elite program’s fifth cohort.

The five will join the two-year program starting this June, and each innovator will collaborate with a host scientist at Argonne while embedded full-time. Innovators plan to develop clean energy startups that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase U.S. competitiveness in emerging energy technologies. These resulting technologies may assist in meeting the country’s greenhouse gas pollution reduction targets by 2030.

Chain Reaction Innovations’ impact is far-reaching as it celebrates its fifth year of embedding entrepreneurs at Argonne. CRI’s first cohort graduated in June 2019, amassing millions in investment. The combined total raised by CRI startups through April 2021 is over $84 million. In addition, the program helped create 185 jobs to date.

“I am pleased to welcome CRI’s newest cohort to Argonne. The CRI program celebrates its fifth year by continuing to support talented innovators with a broad range of backgrounds and experiences to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing our society,” Argonne Director Paul Kearns said. “I am excited to see this cohort work with our lab’s scientists and engineers to bring new technologies to market that will deliver solutions for a clean energy economy.”

The five new innovators in Chain Reaction Innovations’ Cohort 5 are:

  • Arsheen Allam (Duke University) Graphene-based Capacitative Deionization Water Filtration Technology
  • Claudiu Bucur (Florida State University) Solid State Battery with 2x Density of Li-ion
  • Sanza Kazadi (California Institute for Technology) Entrochemical Systems Technology
  • Niall O’Dowd (University of California San Diego) Optical In-situ Monitoring for Metal Additive Manufacturing
  • Hongjun Zeng (University of Illinois at Chicago) High Performance Carbon Nanotube Composite Materials for Energy Related Applications

“We are delighted to admit such a talented & diverse group of individuals to the program,” said John Carlisle, Director of CRI. “We believe their clean energy technologies have the potential to make a difference as we address climate change and other critical challenges.”

Innovators were selected following an extensive national solicitation process and two-part pitch competition, with reviews from industry experts, investors, scientists and engineers. A total of 177 applications were received, with the top rated 16 individuals participating in CRI’s Virtual Finals Pitch Competition this past February.

Argonne’s Chain Reaction Innovations program is funded by The Advanced Manufacturing Office with support this year from the Building Technologies Office within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Applications for CRI’s sixth cohort will open on September 21, 2021.

For more information about Cohort 5 and their projects, visit https://chainreaction.anl.gov/innovators/cohort-5/.

About Chain Reaction Innovations 

Chain Reaction Innovations provides a two-year fellowship for entrepreneurs focusing on clean energy and science technologies. Selected annually through an application call, the program enables innovators to work on their technology full-time, de-risking their startups with the help of leading experts and equipment from Argonne National Laboratory. Each cohort works to build their startups into market-ready businesses. CRI is located at Argonne and supported by area mentors from the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago and mHUB.

Chain Reaction Innovations is part of the Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). EERE created the Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs to provide an institutional home for innovative postdoctoral researchers to build their research into products and train to be entrepreneurs.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supports early-stage research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to strengthen U.S. economic growth, energy security, and environmental quality.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science.

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