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$140 million to fund RIT clean energy hub

The Rochester Institute of Technology-led consortium that won a nationwide competition this week will bring a public-private clean energy manufacturing institute here, officials said. Its work and jobs are to be fueled by $70 million in federal funding along with another $70 million in matching funds from consortium partners.

The competition was held by the U.S. Department of Energy. The RIT-led consortium includes Xerox Corp. and Caterpillar Inc.

The consortium is known as the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance and consists of over 100 research universities, national laboratories and industrial partners.

RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability was selected to lead the new Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions Institute, which is under the Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance.

The REMADE Institute will have a direct jobs impact in Rochester, creating 50 technical and administrative positions directly at the institute’s headquarters, officials said. Additional positions at RIT are to support the university’s role in leading the remanufacturing and reuse node and two of the institute’s test bed facilities.

Nationally, the anticipated indirect job creation and retention numbers are 250,000 over five years, officials said.

Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of Golisano Institute for Sustainability, will serve as chairman and CEO of SMIA and REMADE Institute.

The REMADE Institute is a national coalition of universities and companies that will bring forth clean energy initiatives deemed critical to keeping U.S. manufacturing competitive, RIT said. It primarily will focus on bringing down the cost of technologies essential to reuse, recycle and remanufacture materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and electronic waste.

The goal is to increase overall energy efficiency by 50 percent by 2027, which could save billions of dollars and give the U.S. a competitive edge.

RIT officials said it will work with Idaho National Lab, Argonne National Lab in Illinois, University of Illinois and other universities, national labs and industrial partners in partnership with the Department of Energy.

A total of 26 universities, 44 companies, seven national labs, 26 industry trade associations and foundations and three states—New York, Colorado and Utah—are part of the effort, officials said.

The project aims to increase sales for the U.S. manufacturing industry by 50 percent, to $21.5 billion, while also creating a next-generation recycling and manufacturing workforce in New York and nationwide, officials said.

The mission of the REMADE Institute is to not only pioneer these efforts to make U.S. manufacturing better by reducing net-energy costs and reducing costly manufacturing waste materials and emissions, but to also grow new clean-tech and clean energy businesses and jobs, RIT officials said. SMIA is to develop new technologies that, when employed by REMADE Institute members during its first five years of operations, can achieve new manufacturing efficiencies by reducing manufacturing material waste, increasing remanufacturing applications and boosting material recycling.

Goals for the next five years for the REMADE Institute are:

 5 to 10 percent improvement in manufacturing material efficiency by reducing manufacturing material waste;

 50 percent increase in remanufacturing applications;

 30 percent increase in efficiency of remanufacturing operations; and

 30 percent increase in recycling efficiencies.

 “This new institute will strengthen our economy, create jobs and build on our reputation as a global leader in manufacturing innovation,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Perinton, in a statement. “It is a major win for our community and a testament to the strong proposal developed by this alliance of over one hundred world-class research universities, national labs and industry partners.”

The locally led team faced competition from nationwide proposals. The consortium called on Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz directly to advocate for Rochester’s potential.

The proposals were submitted in September under the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation program to create a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute, officials said. The program invests federal resources together with private and non-federal funds to support the country’s advanced manufacturing capabilities through creating an initial network of up to 15 new institutes, officials said. It is now known as Manufacturing USA.

Other Manufacturing USA projects that RIT is part of include AIM Photonics, Digital Manufacturing and Design Institute, Flexible Hybrid Electronics (Next Flex), Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute and America Makes (Additive Manufacturing).

1/6/2017 (c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.


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