The new group will seek to increase domestic energy efficiency and manufacturing through innovation and improved manufacturing processes.
Through the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Texas Tech University will play an active role in a new $140 million institute selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of its new network of Manufacturing USA Institutes.
The Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute, led by the AIChE, will be the 10th and newest member of this network, which has a $70 million commitment over five years from the Department of Energy and another $70 million from private partners and energy industries. The goal is to increase domestic productivity and efficiency of various forms of energy by 20 percent over the next five years through improved manufacturing processes.
Texas Tech is one of 34 academic institutions participating in RAPID and has contributed multiple research projects for a commitment of more than $10 million in the first five years of the proposal.
“As an enterprise member of the partnership led by AIChE, we are pleased to join a growing list of elite research universities, national laboratories, companies, and non-governmental organizations to improve U.S. energy efficiency and manufacturing productivity through successful development and demonstration of innovative modular process intensification technology, said Chau-Chyun Chen, the Jack Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chair in the Texas Tech Whitacre College of Engineering'sDepartment of Chemical Engineering.
According to the AIChE, RAPID evolved from the Department of Energy's call earlier this year for the establishment of a network of manufacturing innovation institutes that will use modular chemical process intensification, such as combining large, complex processes into a single step, for clean energy manufacturing.
These institutes will combine the strengths of private industry, academia and governmental resources to increase energy efficiency and manufacturing productivity through cutting operating costs and reducing waste associated with traditional chemical manufacturing. The DOE estimates these technologies in the chemical industry alone could save more than $9 billion annually in process costs.
“Our investment in this cross-cutting technology is an investment in the future of U.S. manufacturing,” said DOE acting assistant secretary David Friedman. “As we expand the Manufacturing USA Network, we provide greater opportunities for businesses of all sizes to solve their toughest technology challenges and unleash major savings in energy-intensive sectors like oil and gas, pulp and paper-making and other industries.”
RAPID is a collection of 75 companies, 34 academic institutions, seven national laboratories, two government laboratories and seven non-government organizations from across the U.S.
The Texas Tech Department of Chemical Engineering ranks eighth nationally in best value by Value Colleges and ranks 47th national in overall faculty scholarship according to Academic Analytics.
For more information on the RAPID Manufacturing Institute and its objectives, visit its website.