Kim Tutin is #MadeForKnoxville.

Tackling the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is both cool and necessary. Kim is using a new Capture Technology that will lead to a better future, not only for manufacturing companies but also for a more sustainable planet.

With many entrepreneurial endeavors under her belt and a deep passion that drives her work, Kim is working overtime to make a positive environmental impact on the world. She’s a chemist, a mechanical expert, and a business owner with an energy-efficient mindset. Through her business, Captis Aire LLC, she has tested a process that collects turpentine at wood product manufacturing plants and thereby produces cleaner air. Kim’s varied skill set, education, and hours of testing give her ample credibility to lead the way towards a more energy-efficient world. She is passionate about the potential to disrupt the industrial manufacturing industry and works towards that goal everyday.  

“It is extremely rare to find a project that is both good for industry AND good for the environment. This is one of those very rare projects.”

In Their Own Words…

We are working to provide a new Capture Technology that cleans the air in industrial manufacturing processes. The Capture Technology could enable our customers to 1) generate revenue by selling turpentine from pine wood and carbon offsets, 2) improve sustainability by reducing greenhouse gasses (GHG), and 3) reduce operational costs by reducing natural gas use as it cleans the air. 

I am passionate about this project for a number of reasons. First, it is extremely rare to find a project that is both good for industry AND good for the environment. This is one of those very rare projects. Second, it fits my skill set. My bachelor’s degree in chemistry provides a solid foundation from which to deploy the turpentine products. My mechanical inclination enables me to physically operate, maintain, and debug the equipment. My MBA gives me the financial and strategic tools to be successful with the business side of entrepreneurship. My desire for accomplishment drives me to make a real IMPACT on the world. I see the value of this technology. It could be truly DISRUPTIVE to the industry. This Capture Technology could replace the decades-old “gas guzzler” regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) air pollution control technology with a new energy-efficient technology that not only cleans the air, but also creates a beautiful and valuable product, the turpentine! Last but not least (and totally unscientific), this technology is cool. It is what I want to do every day when I wake up, before I go to bed at night, and throughout the day. I hope the pictures give you a glimpse into why this technology inspires me! Beyond my “work”, my family is most precious to me.

I am pursuing this Capture Technology as an entrepreneur via Captis Aire because this spin-out technology is my passion. I’ve been working 6-7 days per week, 10-12 hours per day or more in support of this technology since 2015. We did initial lab studies, then ran two very successful pilot unit demonstrations at a commercial wood products manufacturing facility. In the second demonstration, we were on-line for over 1,700 hours. We successfully collected turpentine and cleaned the air. Since then, we’ve been doing commercial development.

Our biggest pivotal moment was being selected for the Innovation Crossroads Program, founded by Oak Ridge National Lab. We are extremely humbled and honored to have the opportunity to leverage this tremendous wealth of resources! 

What Led Me to Entrepreneurship:

I have been an entrepreneur since I was four years old working in my family’s Kiddieland business. It was a great learning experience and created the mindset that it is normal to perform every role needed to run the business including working with team members, doing maintenance/cleaning, counting the money, doing sales/marketing, etc. As an adult, I ran side businesses the entire time I was working for a major wood products manufacturer. My first official “startup” in 2005, East Point Tower LLC, has been very successful. East Point Tower is a commercial building, formerly a bank. When we bought it, it had been sitting vacant for 10-20 years. Now it is a beautiful vibrant facility, housing nine small businesses and my own AirBnB business/residence!

Lessons Learned: 

Gathering information and implementing feedback from peers, colleagues, mentors, industry personnel, etc is the single most important and impactful thing from which we’ve benefited as entrepreneurs. Innumerable people in our broad network have generously helped and continue to help our team learn and improve. Implementing these learnings has been pivotal to our successes.


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