The Department of Energy yesterday announced that it is accepting proposals for its newest Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which will focus on smart manufacturing.
The DOE has designated $35 to $70 million in funding for the institute, along with expected matching funds from the private sector. It will be the third Energy Department-funded facility in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The others focus on advanced composites in Knoxville, Tenn. and semiconductors at North Carolina State University.
The smart manufacturing institute will support research and development advancements to reduce the cost of deployment for technologies such as advanced sensors, controls, platforms, and modeling for manufacturing by as much as 50%. The institute’s goal is to demonstrate these technologies in the manufacturing process to increase energy efficiency by at least 15% and improve energy productivity by at least 50%.
“Smart Manufacturing is a key information technology approach to unlocking energy efficiency in manufacturing,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a statement. “These technologies will make industries from oil and gas to aerospace and food production more competitive with intelligent communications systems, real-time energy savings and increased energy productivity. Energy intensive industries, such as steelmaking, could see a 10 to 20% reduction in the cost of production, making products such as solar panels and chemical materials, such as plastics, as well as the cars and other products they go into, more affordable for American consumers.”
January 29, 2016, is the deadline to submit proposals.
Each NNMI manufacturing institute is a private-public partnership that serves as a regional hub, bridging the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together federal agencies, companies, universities and other academic and training institutions to co-invest in key technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S..
Through Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, the Energy Department seeks to drive down the cost of energy efficient materials and technologies, making them cost competitive for manufacturing in the United States. The Obama administration’s recent Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0, a partnership with the private sector and university leaders, identified smart manufacturing as one of the highest priorities for the development of new technology affecting manufacturing and recommended that the Energy Department take the lead in addressing gaps in the development of smart manufacturing technology.