Advanced Energy Materials Researchers at AEM LCC Win TriEcon’s Top50 Startup Award

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Dawn Marie Yankeelov, Aspectx

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Researchers at Advanced Energy Materials, LLC Win

TiEcon’s Top50 Startup Award

Company Closes On an SBIR Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation for $750,000

(Louisville, KY—Oct. 24, 2014)–Louisville-based Advanced Energy Materials, LLC (AdEM) has been selected as a Winner of the Top 50 Startups in 2014 by the prestigious TiECon Awards Program in Santa Clara, CA. In addition, the company successfully was awarded its first SBIR Phase II grant this summer from the National Science Foundation for a total award of $750,000.

AdEM is a spinoff company of the University of Louisville, researching fuel improvements, fuel alternatives, and nanowire applications to improve energy efficiencies.  The company holds an exclusive license agreement, with a patent portfolio of 9 issued and 4 pending U.S. patents through the University of Louisville Research Foundation’s Office of Technology Transfer. The original technology was developed by researchers at University Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research. The innovations include processes for making advanced nanomaterials and their formulations for catalysts, adsorbents, composites and batteries.

TiEcon’s 50 is the TiE Silicon Valley’s premier annual awards program, drawing competition from thousands of technology start-ups worldwide. Awards are announced at TiEcon, the world’s largest conference for entrepreneurs annually. TiE is a global, not-for-profit network of entrepreneurs and professionals dedicated to the advancement of entrepreneurship.  The TiE50 track record since inception in May 2009 shows that 94% of the winners and finalists have been funded.


      TiECon’s Top50 Award Winner interview for Advanced Energy Materials:

AdEM has been awarded its first SBIR Phase II grant through the National Science Foundation for its proposal titled “Advanced Hydrodesulfurization Catalysts”. During the Phase I, AdEM developed a high performance catalyst product, “AdeSulfur™”. This advanced catalyst accomplishes desulfurization for lowering sulfur levels well below the levels possible with currently available catalyst technologies.

The high performance catalyst technology has the potential beyond sulfur removal for a number of other technological applications such as sulfur tolerant hydrogenation within chemical industry. Using the funds in Phase II, the company intends to demonstrate commercial scale production at tons per day.

“Sulfur removal has become significant for transportation fuels due to increased environmental regulations. Any sulfur content in the fuel makes it poisonous for specific applications such fuel cells. As such, a sulfur removal catalyst that does not leave any trace of sulfur has a huge impact to the market,” explained Vasanthi Sunkara, CEO of AdEM.

Dr. Neville G. Pinto, Dean of the University of Louisville J. B. Speed School of Engineering, explained further.  “The success of this start-up is an excellent example of how basic research at the University of Louisville Conn Center for Renewable Energy can translate into a technological solution to an important societal need,  in this case the development of an alternative fuel. The company is on a robust path for success with the potential to impact job creation significantly in the longer term,” he said.

About AdEM:

Advanced Energy Materials, LLC (AdEM) is an early stage company that conducts research and development of catalytic technologies for ultra-deep desulfurization and aromatic saturation in fuels. The company was founded in 2009 to commercialize patented technology from the University of Louisville. AdEM’s unique competency in the bulk manufacturing of nanowires affords a significant advantage in the discovery, development, and patenting of nanowire-based materials for energy applications and will maintain our advantage in scalable nanowire manufacturing.

Due to their unique properties, nanostructured materials are being increasingly utilized in emerging renewable energy applications such as desulfurization catalysts, anode materials for lithium-ion batteries, solar cells, capacitors, and composites. AdEM’s catalyst product “AdeSulfur™” is nickel-supported on zinc-oxide Nanowire, and alumina based powder for deep desulfurization of a variety of fuels including diesel, gasoline, kerosene and jet fuels.

Prior funding for AdEM includes, two SBIR Phase I grants through the National Science Foundation and two SBIR matching grants through the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s SBIR match program. AdEM’s laboratory is currently located in the Nucleus Innovation Park TechCenter at 201 E. Jefferson St. in downtown Louisville.  For more information on AdEM’s products and capabilities, please visit