One of the top priorities of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is strengthening American manufacturing competitiveness through energy efficiency. U.S. industry accounts for 32% of the country’s total energy consumption, so innovations that reduce that annual $200 billion energy bill can make a huge impact on our energy economy. Unfortunately, the risks involved in objectively validating emerging energy-saving technologies in real-world industrial environments are a major barrier to adoption.

That’s why DOE recently launched a new initiative designed to help manufacturing plants and water/wastewater treatment facilities evaluate cost-effective, innovative technologies with the opportunity for large energy savings and widespread adoption. Through the Industrial Technology Validation (ITV) pilot, experts from DOE’s National Laboratories will lead on-site testing, conduct energy-performance analysis, and draft reports validating field performance of the technology in a dynamic, industrial environment. These results will be shared broadly to help American industry understand the benefit of an emerging technology, while offsetting many of the risks associated with being a first adopter.

DOE will administer the ITV in collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Office’s Better Plants partners, a group of nearly 250 leading manufacturers from across the country that are achieving ambitious energy productivity and sustainability goals. As part of the voluntary leadership program, these partners share tools and resources, technical assistance, peer-to-peer networking, and technology solutions. Through Better Plants, our partners have contributed to more than one quadrillion Btu and more than $8 billion in energy cost-savings to date, savings which allow manufacturers to reinvest in their companies to create jobs, raise wages, and expand operations.

The ITV pilot will build off the success of other field-validation initiatives led by DOE’s Building Technologies Office, the General Services Administration, and the Department of Defense. By participating, Better Plants partners will:

  • Engage in a full-scale pilot, with measurement and verification (M&V) managed by National Lab experts;
  • Receive independent insights regarding technology suitability for industrial processes;
  • Inform public and private-sector investment decisions through publicly available M&V findings;
  • Increase market acceptance of emerging technologies by validating real-world performance;

Following the initial pilot, DOE plans to issue a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit input from the innovation and manufacturing communities on the most impactful emerging technologies for the second cohort of field validations.

Testing, measurement, and verification of the energy impact of advanced manufacturing technologies in real-world conditions are fundamental steps in the research and development process. By working with manufacturers who have pledged to improve their energy performance to implement innovative energy-savings technologies while technologies are still in development, this pilot program will strengthen America’s manufacturing competitiveness and contribute to meaningful investments in innovation—all while supporting the 12 million Americans who work in the U.S. industrial sector.

For more on the ITV pilot, view the announcement and the Request for Proposals.

Though the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), DOE invests in manufacturers, not-for-profit entities, research organizations, and institutions of higher education to identify challenges, catalyze innovations, and develop the cutting-edge material, process, and information technologies needed for an efficient and competitive domestic manufacturing sector. Learn more about AMO.

 

Alex Fitzsimmons
Alex Fitzsimmons, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
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