DOE to Invest in Efficient Industrial Processes

The Department of Energy will provide more than $26 million in federal funding over three years, subject to congressional appropriations, for cost-shared development of energy-efficient industrial processes in the steel and other energy-intensive industries.

These projects support the Energy Policy Act of 2005 goal of reducing the energy intensity of U.S. manufacturing industries by 25 percent in 10 years as well as contributing significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) and other emissions.

"The projects demonstrate a shared public-private commitment to advance development of energy efficient industrial technologies to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil while also confronting the serious challenge of global climate change," said DOE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary John Mizroch. "The department is committed to the research, development, and deployment of cleaner, more efficient technology options for American industry, from laboratory to the plant floor."

The industrial sector consumes approximately one-third of the energy used in the United States and accounts for 28 percent of domestic GHG emissions. Much of this energy is used in processes that are common across numerous industries. DOE's Industrial Technology Program's (ITP) Energy Intensive Processes Initiative seeks to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency across the most energy-consuming manufacturing processes by developing and promoting technologies that can be applied in many industrial settings. ITP's approach is to increase efficiency while applying the best energy management practices to help industry save energy, improve productivity, and stimulate growth.

Pending congressional approval, the $26.6 million will leverage an additional $15.3 million in cost-share funds provided by the award recipients and their industry partners for the eight awards described below.

1. Energy Reduction and Advanced Water Removal via Membrane Solvent Extraction Technology for an estimated $5.6 million: 3M Company, in collaboration with Archer Daniels Midland Company, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Karges-Faulconbridge Inc., will fully develop the concept of the membrane solvent-extraction technology for water removal and verify the technology at a pilot scale for bio-ethanol production to increase energy and water savings. Water removal is the most energy intensive stage in conventional bio-ethanol production.

2. Research, Development and Field Testing of Thermochemical Recuperation for High Temperature Furnaces for an estimated $4.5 million: American Iron and Steel Institute will team up with Gas Technology Institute, Thermal Transfer Corporation, U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal, Republic Engineered Products, Steel Manufacturing Association, and Ohio Department of Development to develop and test thermochemical recuperators for steel reheating furnaces to increase waste heat recovery and reduce natural gas use. A thermochemical recuperator uses the partial oxidation of a fuel to recover energy from heating processes.

3. Paired Straight Hearth Furnace – Transformational Ironmaking Process for an estimated $1.5 million: American Iron and Steel Institute, in partnership with McMaster University, U.S. Steel, Bricmont, and Harper International, will work to optimize the Paired Straight Hearth (PSH) furnace technology and to establish its scalability potential from the bench-scale stage. The PSH furnace is an alternative to the energy and carbon-intensive blast furnace commonly used to make steel.

4. Induction Consolidation/Molding of Thermoplastic Composites using Smart Susceptors for an estimated $4 million: The Boeing Company will lead a team composed of Ford Motor Company, Vestas, Ajax-TOCCO, Steeplechase, Temper, and Cytec to establish the technical and economic viability of induction consolidation of thermoplastic composites to fabricate aerospace, automotive, and wind turbine components in an energy efficient manner. Induction consolidation uses the electrical conductivity properties of the thermoplastic materials to soften them and allow them to be formed.

5. Prototyping Energy Efficient Thermo-magnetic and Induction Hardening for Heat Treat and Net-Shape Forming applications for an estimated $4.3 million: Eaton Corporation will lead a team composed of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, American Magnetics, Ajax-Tocco, Dura-Bar, Ohio State University, and North Western University to develop and test a hybrid thermo-magnetic and induction hardening technology to replace conventional heat treatment processes in forging applications. This technology uses the magnetic and electrical conductivity properties of a material to change its surface hardness.

6. Electrohydraulic Forming of Near-Net Shape Automotive Panels for an estimated $3.7 million: Ford Motor Company will work with a team consisting of U.S. Steel, Troy Tooling, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and IAP Research to develop and demonstrate this forming technology as an alternative to conventional stamping technology to form automotive panels. Electrohydraulic forming uses intense pressure waves to force the automotive panels into the proper shapes.

7. Inorganic Membranes for Refinery Gas Separations for an estimated $897,265: Media and Process Technologies, Inc., working with Chevron and the University of Southern California, will develop and performance-test hydrogen selective inorganic membranes for in-situ hydrogen recovery and recycling for improved refinery hydro-treating applications. The membrane to be developed will allow recovery of hydrogen formerly lost from the hydro-treating processes, with significant energy savings.

8. Ultra-Efficient and Power Dense Electric Motors for the U.S. Industry for an estimated $1.8 million: Reliance Electric Company will collaborate with Colfax Pumps, Howden Fan, DuPont, DOW, Duke Energy, American Electric Power, and Emeren Power to develop general-purpose, permanent-magnet electric motors that are more efficient, smaller and lighter than NEMA-premium efficient induction motors.

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