Helping Us Go Green

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University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center receives funding from the US Department of Energy to train and place students in energy-related careers.

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Mesut Avci, PhD in Industrial Engineering - measuring the air flow on a rolling door using air flow meter

A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy will help University of Miami College of Engineering students assist small- and medium-sized local manufacturers in managing their energy requirements, reducing waste, and increasing productivity associated with manufacturing processes. The grant, awarded to the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center (MIIAC), is for five years.

“The center helps local manufacturing companies reduce their energy consumption, thus saving money and making them more competitive and ‘green,’ ” says Shihab Asfour, associate dean of the College of Engineering, director of MIIAC, and principal investigator of the project.

MIIAC uses state-of-the-art equipment and resources to conduct industrial assessments and disseminate information from the center. A strong multidisciplinary group of students from the College of Engineering, led by a management team of faculty members, performs the assessments.

“Our program advances knowledge in the area of energy conservation and management and develops a workforce of energy conscious engineers,” says Asfour.

MIIAC is one of 24 centers recently funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The program has received funding the previous 11 years, during which time it has performed more than 210 assessments and helped a wide range of firms, including companies engaged in metal fabrication, electronic manufacturing, chemical products, wood products, plastics, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, biotech, and the mining industry.

Other objectives of MIIAC are:

• To place engineering graduates in energy-related and engineering careers.

• To provide engineering students with an educational experience and an extensive hands-on training in energy assessment practices, waste reduction, and productivity management.

• To generate advanced degree topics and academic research related to energy efficiency that incorporate energy efficiency practices.

MIIAC will conduct 20 energy assessments per year. The Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension Program (PRIMEX) has committed to recruit seven manufacturing companies that qualify for industrial manufacturing assessments each of the five years that MIIAC is funded. MIIAC and PRIMEX will jointly conduct the seven energy assessments. The remaining 13 assessments will be conducted in the South Florida area.

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