The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently awarded $10 million to six projects that will support the adoption of clean-energy technologies and advanced energy-efficiency measures in American industry. Three awardees will develop renewably powered district energy systems, which can provide multiple buildings with heating or cooling from a central plant. Another three awardees will establish regional smart-manufacturing pilot initiatives, offering technical assistance on the implementation of smart-manufacturing technologies and structured energy-management systems.
District energy systems are ideal for efficiently sharing heat and energy resources throughout a campus environment. The projects funded through these smart manufacturing technical assistance awards will help American manufacturers optimize their energy and material use.Kelly Speakes-Backman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Major energy consumers, including manufacturers, can improve their energy efficiency, curb their carbon emissions, and bolster their global competitiveness by deploying renewably supplied district energy systems and integrating smart manufacturing technologies into their energy-management practices.
District energy systems are more efficient and sustainable than individual building-energy systems, says the DOE. They also provide a reliable and resilient source of thermal energy that is particularly useful for energy-intensive facilities, such as manufacturing plants, healthcare campuses, and military bases. District energy systems can incorporate energy-efficient, flexible combined heat and power (CHP) systems, which can provide support to the electricity grid on demand. DOE’s awardees will design, construct, and demonstrate advanced district energy systems that can use low-carbon fuels or renewable energy sources in combination with combined heat and power and energy storage systems.
Structured energy management systems, such as those aligned with the global International Organization on Standardization (ISO) 50001 standard, have proven to yield deep and sustained energy savings for manufacturers. Smart technologies, including advanced sensors, controls, software platforms and data analytics, allow manufacturers to further optimize their use of energy and materials. DOE’s awardees will establish new regional initiatives to provide smart-manufacturing and energy-management system technical assistance to existing state, local and utility-sector industrial energy efficiency programs.
Funding for these opportunities is provided by DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, which catalyzes research, development and adoption of energy-related advanced manufacturing technologies and practices to drive U.S. economic competitiveness and an equitable transition to a decarbonized economy by 2050.