DOE to fund industrial energy efficiency projects
An initiative of the department’s Industrial Technology Program, the Energy Intensive Processes Initiative seeks to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency in the most energy-consuming manufacturing processes by developing and promoting technologies that can be applied in many industrial settings.
The Department of Energy recently announced that it will invest up to $26 million over eight projects to develop energy-efficient industrial processes that will replace the energy-intensive processes currently in use.
Two projects relate to the steel industry. One seeks to develop an energy-efficient alternative to the blast furnace; the other a method to recover waste heat from steel reheating furnaces. The recovered waste heat would then be used to convert natural gas fuel into hydrogen, which provides more energy to the combustion process than natural gas. For the automotive industry, a project will investigate the use of intense pressure waves to shape body panels instead of employing a stamp. A project for refineries will develop membranes to recover the hydrogen typically lost in hydrotreating processes, which are used to remove sulfur from motor fuels. All industries will benefit from an effort to develop high-efficiency industrial motors based on permanent magnets.
The remaining three projects will investigate ways to accomplish feats that usually involve high temperatures, including using membranes to separate water from ethanol rather than boiling and distilling the mixture; inducing electrical currents in thermoplastic composites to soften them rather than using heat; and employing electrical induction and magnetic heating to shape and harden metals rather than using a forge.
The DOE will invest its funds over the next 3 years, subject to congressional appropriations. More information is available at the Department of Energy .
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.