The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Industrial Assessment Center Receives $1.3 Million from DOE

The campus will receive $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) over five years to help university teams gain practical training on core energy management concepts through DOE's Industrial Assessment Center Program. The Industrial Assessment Center on campus provides energy, waste, and productivity assessments to small and mid-sized manufacturers at no cost by experienced engineering faculty and students. In 2007, the DOE chose the UMass Amherst Industrial Assessment Center from among 26 similar IACs nationwide as its 2007 Center of Excellence, measured by energy and dollars saved and also the effort put forth by IAC Director Dragoljub “Beka” Kosanovic to promote ITP initiatives.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu last week announced grants of more than $30 million for 24 universities in 23 states across the country to train undergraduate and graduate engineering students in manufacturing efficiency to help them become the nation's next generation of industrial energy efficiency experts.

Between 1984 and 2008, the UMass Amherst IAC served more than 640 plants employing 96,000 people. In that time, the IAC identified some 4,400 energy saving recommendations. The average annual saving in one year, for example, was $162,000 per plant assessment. IAC recommendations annually save more than 110,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and more than 1,150,000 MMBTU of fossil fuel, which cuts annual carbon dioxide emissions by 150,000 tons, nitrogen oxide emission by 125 tons, and sulfur dioxide emissions by 825 tons.

The national Industrial Assessment Center Program, Chu said, enables promising engineering students around the country to conduct energy assessments in a broad range of manufacturing facilities, providing skills and experience that prepares the students to compete in today's economy while helping local companies and factories to reduce energy waste, save money, and become more economically competitive.

"This industrial efficiency training program opens the door to good jobs in a growing, global sector for thousands of energy-savvy students while promoting real, boots-on-the-ground progress toward our transition to a clean energy economy," said Chu. "The Centers will provide a boost to the next-generation of American workers as well as to the businesses with which they work."

Through these university-based Industrial Assessment Centers, engineering students will receive extensive training in industrial processes, energy assessment procedures, and energy management principles, which will be put to use working directly with small and medium-sized industrial and manufacturing facilities in the surrounding communities. Under the program, each Industrial Assessment Center will be expected to train at least 10 to 15 students per year, conduct approximately 20 energy assessments annually, and perform extensive follow-on reporting, tracking, implementation, and management-improvement activities.

In addition to conducting assessments at industrial plants, each Industrial Assessment Center will be expected to promote interaction with private sector partners that could provide valuable workforce development support, such as scholarships and internship opportunities.
Read the full list of award winners.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. (September 2011)