The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will open an office in Chattanooga’s Innovation District that will link local companies to the national laboratory’s resources and expertise.
Thom Mason, ORNL director, announced the office at the Southeast Regional Energy Innovation Workshop at The Chattanoogan hotel.
“This is the best way for us to build on existing ORNL collaborations in Chattanooga and to identify new opportunities,” Mason said. “The work involving EPB, the Department of Energy, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory illustrates the power of regional cooperation. We want to accelerate opportunities in developing clean energy technology, manufacturing, and computing.”
The office will be located in EPB headquarters due to a continued partnership between the two companies.
The opening of the new ORNL office follows reciprocal visits arranged by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, of Tennessee’s third congressional district, for leaders in Oak Ridge and Chattanooga.
“ORNL gives our region an intellectual and technical expertise any community would envy, and Chattanooga, the Gig City, is a perfect collaborator. I envision a partnership on energy, manufacturing and 3D printing to advance economic development and technology jobs,” said Fleischmann.
In addition to its EPB research, ORNL recently began working with Chattanooga’s Enterprise Center.
The Entrerprise Center is working with multiple organizations to create the Advanced Manufacturing Applications Center with the goal of enhancing the use of 3D-printing technologies by regional companies. The lab also is a partner in the SimCenter, which provides high-performance computing, modeling and simulation at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.
“This new office provides a liaison to connect Chattanooga innovators with experts and capabilities at the nation’s largest multi-program national laboratory. The potential is tremendous,” said L. Joe Ferguson, EPB Chairman.
“Increased collaboration with Oak Ridge will have a powerful impact on Chattanooga,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said. “An ORNL office located in our Innovation District means access to world-class laboratory expertise for our growing list of companies seeking new ways to apply the latest technologies.”
“This is all about opportunity. We have incredible assets both nationally and locally and to be able to bring the Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) together with our local technology assets – including EPB, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and the people who drive innovation in our region – brings Chattanooga great opportunities, some we haven’t acknowledged yet,” said Bill Kilbride, Chamber President and CEO.