Skip to main content

Meet Our Graduates: Anna Douglas

Posted by on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 in Meet Our Graduates, News.

Anna Douglas – Engineering – Olin. Anna Douglas is a PhD student who has received a prestigious (and not yet publicly announced) award to work at ORNL on SkyNano, a company based on technology she developed that could make the manufacture of single-walled carbon nanotubes easier and cheaper. Production now requires expensive equipment and controlled conditions, resulting in a final product that sells for $900/gram and makes widespread adoption cost prohibitive. She is one of five entrepreneurs picked for Innovation Crossroads, at ORNL for the first time, and is the only one who does not already have her PhD. The fellowship covers living costs, benefits, travel and up to $350,000 in research costs for up to 2 years to use on collaborative research in clean energy innovations. Anna's technology takes carbon dioxide out the ambient air to produce high-value carbon nanotubes, which have applications in electronics, aerospace, medical devices, drug delivery, shielding, sensors, etc. The material has great strength and less weight than typical composites. It has great conductivity and can withstand high heat and pressure. Single-walled carbon nanotubes, if successfully commercialized at a larger scale, could be the foundation for nextgen electronics.  Anna and Professor Cary Pint believe her system could produce SWCN for less than $1/gram. They formed SkyNano - Anna is the CEO and deferring her NSF fellowship to work on scaling it to a product line. For Engineering School website, likely Research News at Vanderbilt and possible outside media. Photo by Joe Howell

Anna Douglas earned her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Materials Science at Vanderbilt University in 2019.  While at Vanderbilt, Anna began her studies developing nanostructured materials that can improve the performance of energy storage devices including lithium and sodium ion batteries. During her graduate studies, Anna co-invented a novel electrochemical synthesis method to produce high quality carbon nanotubes from carbon dioxide, and subsequently spun out a startup company called SkyNano LLC in an effort to commercialize the technology. Since it’s founding in 2017 with Prof. Cary Pint, Anna has served as SkyNano’s CEO and has grown the team to 7 scientists and engineers, and raised $5M in non-dilutive funding. Anna was a part of the inaugural cohort of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s prestigious Innovation Crossroads program, where she learned business skills that aided in her transition of the technology from the lab to the marketplace. Anna was named a 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 in the Energy category, and SkyNano’s underlying technology has received a 2020 R&D 100 award, a 2021 TechConnect Innovation Award, and has to date served a variety of customers ranging from batteries to tires and coatings through the sale of electrochemically-produced carbon nanotubes.

Tags: , , ,