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DOE Industrial Assessment Center Established in Tennessee
For release: Dec. 4, 2006
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Small and medium-sized manufacturers across the state can soon take advantage of no-cost energy assessments to increase their competitiveness.  Three Tennessee universities – the University of Memphis, Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, and East Tennessee State in Johnson City – have formed a team that received a grant from the Department of Energy to establish the 3-Star Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). 

Although the 3-Star IAC joins other Centers that have been established at 25 universities across the country, the Tennessee IAC is unique in that three universities have teamed to form a single entity to provide effective and efficient service to all three grand divisions of the state.

Energy assessments performed by the 3-Star IAC will provide immediate and long-term benefits to Tennessee’s manufacturers and to the state’s environment.  Teams of faculty and students will visit small and medium-sized manufacturers across the state to identify where and how energy is consumed and waste streams are generated. This information will be analyzed, and a detailed set of recommendations will be reported to the manufacturer suggesting where and how energy consumption and waste streams can be reduced.

“Energy savings directly reduce manufacturing costs, so they’re of immediate benefit to the state’s economy, because these manufacturers will become more competitive in today’s global marketplace,” said Dr. John Hochstein, professor and chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the U of M.  “Energy savings are of long-term benefit to the global environment, because reduced energy consumption means digging fewer mines, drilling fewer wells, and processing less radioactive material.”

 It also means less air pollution, less water pollution, and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases that are currently suspected of causing global warming, he added.

“Throughout their careers, the experience and expertise acquired by today’s students performing IAC energy assessments will provide a long-term benefit to the state, as they bring this knowledge and skill set to their professional practice,” said Hochstein.

Although the assessments are free to industry, participants must provide personnel to assist the analysts and must be inclined to implement the suggestions, if energy savings are to be realized. The program includes a six-month follow-up assessment to determine the level of success that has been achieved in reducing energy consumption and minimizing waste. 

Manufacturers in the small-to-medium range are defined by the DOE as those with annual energy costs between $100,000 and $2.5 million. 

For more information about the 3-Star IAC and its benefits, call Hochstein at 901-678-2173 or e-mail jhochste@memphis.edu

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