In business, a better bottom line means better profitability, competitiveness and overall success. For energy-intensive businesses in the manufacturing sector, improving energy efficiency can reduce costs and send those savings straight to the bottom line.
The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy seeks to help make the U.S. manufacturing industry more energy-efficient, productive and secure through a nearly $35 million Industrial Assessment Centers program.
IACs make site-specific recommendations to improve efficiency while providing undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity for first-hand exposure to industry manufacturing processes, energy assessment procedures and energy management systems.
Arizona State University is one of 28 universities the DOE tasked with establishing IACs in 2016. The DOE awarded ASU $1.5 million for the five-year project. The ASU IAC is led by faculty in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering: Director and industrial engineering Associate Professor Rene Villalobos, Assistant Director and Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Pat Phelan, and Manager and Assistant Research Technologist Jon Sherbeck.
Villalobos and Phelan, faculty members in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering and the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, two of the six Fulton Schools, bring their experience running an IAC at ASU for more than 15 years that ended its work in 2006 after completing more than 400 assessments. Over the 40 years the DOE has funded the IAC program, centers have provided more than 17,000 assessments and more than 130,000 recommendations for improvement.