A Purdue University entrepreneur is one of five chosen for the Argonne National Laboratory’s new Chain Reaction Innovations program. A panel of judges selected Ian Hamilton, chief executive officer of Atlas Energy Systems, to take part in the initiative, which aims to accelerate the development of sustainable energy technologies.
Hamilton was chosen because of his company’s technology that focuses on converting radioactive nuclear waste into usable energy. The CRI says the technology will not only reduce the amount of storage space needed for nuclear waste, but also replace other energy sources such as gasoline and lithium-ion batteries.
Hamilton and his fellow CRI participants will begin two years of research and development at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois in January. The group makes up the first cohort of the program at Argonne, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy.
"Chain Reaction Innovators, with the support of Argonne National Lab, will help the next generation of entrepreneurs developing the technologies needed to combat climate change and advance a low-carbon economy," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. "Our national laboratory system is a cornerstone of U.S. science and technology and plays a key role in driving innovation by working with entrepreneurs to commercialize clean energy solutions that create new businesses and manufacturing opportunities."
The other CRI participants and their technologies include:
- Felipe Gomez del Campo, Ohio – Decrease the operating cost of jet engines by designing a new fuel nozzle that uses plasma-assisted combustion to burn fuel more efficiently during flight and idling.
- Tyler Huggins and Justin Whiteley, Colorado – Reduce expensive wastewater treatment costs and create a cheaper manufacturing process for high-performance carbon products. This will be accomplished by using wastewater to grow fungus to create tunable carbon-based products, such as battery electrodes.
- Chad Mason, Michigan – Decrease the cost of fuel cells by eliminating the need for the electrolytes to act as electronic insulators, which will decrease water management costs. Development of a low-temperature solid-state fuel cell to open the door for new applications for electrochemical devices.
In addition to serving as CEO of Atlas Energy Systems, Hamilton is also pursing a master’s degree in nuclear engineering at Purdue. He previously earned bachelor’s degree from Purdue in materials science engineering.
Purdue Foundry was also named a mentor partner organization for the CRI program, along with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago.