The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on March 26 that it will fun up to $70 million for a Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute to develop technologies that will advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, energy efficiency, and innovation.
This Institute will focus on early-stage research for advancing cybersecurity in energy efficient manufacturing.
Energy efficiency is an important issue as the manufacturing and industrial sector consumes about 25% of the country’s energy. The adoption of automated controls and sensors provide the potential for up to 15% improved energy efficiency in manufacturing, according to a report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Ensuring the security of the nation’s energy grid is especially important due to cybersecurity threats. These threats could negatively impact the manufacturing and deployment of energy technologies such as electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines, the DOE points out.
“Improved cybersecurity can reduce risks as well as catalyze adoption of more energy efficient technologies in the manufacturing industry,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, in a statement from DOE. “This Institute will conduct early-stage research to help U.S. manufacturers remain resilient and globally competitive against cyberattacks.”
DOE identified two major high priority challenge areas where collaborative research and development can help U.S. manufacturers remain resilient and globally competitive against cyberattacks: 1) Securing Automation and 2) Securing the Supply Chain Network.
The Institute will pursue targeted early-stage R&D that will focus on understanding the evolving cybersecurity threats to greater energy efficiency in manufacturing industries, developing new cybersecurity technologies and methods, and sharing information and knowledge to the broader community of U.S. manufacturers.
In addition, the Institute will address the education and training needed for cyber-secure automated sensors that will enable greater manufacturing energy efficiency.