Up to $52.5 million (£38m) of funding has been announced to help manufacturers and wastewater treatment facilities in the US improve their efficiency, save money and reduce their carbon footprint.
The funding will be distributed through the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Assessment Centres (IACs), which are university-based programmes that train students and offer no-cost efficiency improvement recommendations to small and medium manufacturing facilities.
As part of the assessment process, participating students and faculty will make recommendations for energy and water savings, waste reductions, productivity improvements, cybersecurity and smart manufacturing opportunities for qualifying facilities – all while measuring their impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
To date, the IAC programme has provided nearly 20,000 assessments and more than 145,000 recommendations for improvement measures, with assessments typically identifying more than $130,000 (£111,342) in potential annual savings opportunities.
IACs selected for this funding will offer coursework and hands-on experience for undergraduate and graduate engineering students in industrial processes, energy assessment procedures and energy management systems.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said: “These programmes are proof that big climate investments can help small businesses reduce their emissions and increase their efficiency, while saving them thousands of dollars.
“This new funding is an investment in both the infrastructure and next-generation clean energy workforce we need to tackle the climate emergency and meet President Biden’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”