Friday, July 21, 2017

Renewable Energy Start-Up Makes University of New Orleans Home

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Renewable energy start-up Advano is now headquartered on the University of New Orleans campus. A cooperative endeavor agreement with the University allows Advano to rent space, use equipment and collaborate with faculty at UNO’s Advanced Materials Research Institute (AMRI).

Advano aims to improve battery life by using silicon nanomaterials for energy storage. The company’s focus on nanomanufacturing is aptly aligned with AMRI’s materials science expertise.

“This relationship with Advano represents a new paradigm for collaboration with the private sector,” said John Wiley, AMRI’s director. “The mutually beneficial arrangement brings revenue to the University and makes advanced instrumentation available to a young, New Orleans-based company, all centered around our common goals for discovery and knowledge sharing.”

“That we get to work closely with UNO alumni is a significant added benefit,” Wiley added.

Advano’s co-founder and chief technical officer, Shiva Adireddy, has earned two advanced chemistry degrees from UNO—a master’s degree in 2011 and Ph.D. in 2013. Lab manager Mark Granier earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UNO in 2015. A summer intern at Advano, Pramathesh Maji, received a master’s degree from UNO and in the fall will become a full-time student in the chemistry Ph.D. program.

Setting up shop at UNO comes on the heels of two notable successes for Advano. In March, the company secured $500,000 in investments from venture capitalists. More recently the company was accepted into an incubator organization for start-ups called Y Combinator, who will invest $120,000 to grow the company.

For almost 20 years, UNO’s Advanced Materials Research Institute (AMRI) has served as a multidisciplinary institute, integrating academic, private and government sectors in the conception and development of novel research programs. Comprised of professors, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and undergraduates, AMRI focuses on multiple aspects of materials science, including nanofabrication, magnetism, drug delivery, solar conversion and thermal and electrical transport properties.