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US Department of Energy focus on smart manufacturing

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World Cement,

On 16 September, the US Department of Energy announced that up to US$70 million worth of funding is to be directed into the next Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which will be focused on clean manufacturing. The aim of this investment is to support research and development advancements that can reduce the cost of deployment for technologies such as advanced sensors, controls, platforms and modelling for manufacturing, by up to 50%. It is also hoped that the institute will demonstrate these technologies in manufacturing processes, with a goal to increase energy efficiency by at least 15% and improve energy productivity by 50%. This would allow businesses to manufacture more while using less energy and spending less.

“Smart manufacturing is a key information technology approach to unlocking energy efficiency in manufacturing,” said DoE Secretary Ernest Moniz. “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 – 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.”

The Innovation Institute on smart manufacturing will form the third Energy Department-funded facility, as part of President Obama’s National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, each of which is a private-public partnership that serves as a regional hub bridging the gap between applied research and product development. The US$70 million federal investment will be matched by private investments and represents a critical step in the Administration’s efforts to double US energy efficiency by 2030.

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