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New Investment in Energy-Efficient Manufacturing

March 26, 2013 - 11:30am

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The Energy Department is supporting new research and development projects that focus on reducing energy use and costs for U.S. manufacturers. One project is expected to dramatically reduce the cost and lower the energy needed to produce aircrafts. | Photo courtesy of ARM Climate Research Facility.

The Energy Department is supporting new research and development projects that focus on reducing energy use and costs for U.S. manufacturers. One project is expected to dramatically reduce the cost and lower the energy needed to produce aircrafts. | Photo courtesy of ARM Climate Research Facility.

On the heels of the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative launched earlier today, Assistant Secretary David Danielson announced five new innovative research and development projects focused on reducing energy use and costs for U.S. manufacturers, while helping to boost product output and improve companies’ bottom lines.

These new projects join an initial set of 13 projects announced in June 2012 that focus on building a strong foundation for clean energy manufacturing in the United States. From improving manufacturers processes that reduce the energy needed to make components for aircraft and vehicles to lowering the production costs of essential materials like high-strength, lightweight steels, these projects are part of our broader efforts to advance clean energy manufacturing and help American companies increase their competitiveness.

Through this investment, the Energy Department awarded about $23.5 million -- leveraging approximately $8.1 million in additional private sector cost share -- for five projects in Michigan, Texas, Colorado, New York and Massachusetts, including:

  • Headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford Motor Company will lead a project to develop a highly flexible energy-efficient sheet metal forming tool that can simultaneously create features on both sides of sheet metal -- eliminating the need for customized tooling like castings and dies. This new technology is expected to reduce material scrap and energy consumption by 70 percent, while lowering production cost by 90 percent.
  • A team led by University of Texas at Austin will develop a tool that integrates performance metrics, models and simulations with real-time plant energy data. This tool will help manufacturers optimize energy productivity in real-time and, in turn, reduce waste and improve energy efficiency by up to 30 percent.
  • Colorado School of Mines will work with industry partners to develop a new manufacturing process that replaces hot stamping (typically 1650°F) for making advanced high-strength, lightweight steels with a room-temperature stamping technique. This process is expected to dramatically reduce the cost and lower the energy needed to produce aircrafts, vehicles and other large equipment.
  • Ithaca, New York-based Novomer will head up a project that converts waste CO2 from industrial sources and ethane-derivatives from shale gas into valuable chemical intermediates that are used in applications such as paints, coatings, textiles, diapers and plastic polymers. Compared to current production technologies, this process is expected to reduce cradle-to-grave energy use by 20 to 40 percent.
  • TIAX LLC, based in Lexington, Massachusetts, will develop a new technology that converts waste heat from manufacturing and industrial processes to electric power. Partnering with Green Mountain Coffee, this project is expected to help reduce the energy needed by coffee roasters.

Check out more information on the awards announced today as well as other public-private partnerships activities led by the Department’s Advanced Manufacturing Office

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