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WVU earns federal funding to assist manufacturers in cutting carbon footprint

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Statler College faculty members Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan and Ashish Nimbarte have helped WVU become one of 32 universities in the country to receive U.S. Department of Energy funding aimed at helping small- and medium-sized manufacturers reduce carbon emissions and energy costs. (WVU Photo)

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West Virginia University will help promote emerging concepts, technologies and use of alternative energy sources to supply heat, power and new feedstocks for energy-intensive industries, thanks to U.S. Department of Energy funding aimed at helping small- and medium-sized manufacturers reduce carbon emissions and energy costs.

The WVU Industrial Assessment Center, housed in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, will receive a proposed $2.19 million in total project funding for the next five years to accomplish that and to train the energy workforce of tomorrow.

Founded in 1992, the WVU-IAC assesses ways for small- and medium-sized enterprises, water treatment facilities and other large energy-using facilities to optimize energy and environmental performance. It is part of a cohort of 32 IACs across the country that will focus on improving productivity, enhancing cybersecurity, promoting resiliency planning and providing training to entities located in disadvantaged communities.

Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan, director of the WVU-IAC, said, “We look forward to the next five years on this continuing project to generate the next generation of energy and manufacturing engineers and assist manufacturers and water treatment facilities in their efforts towards energy efficiency, water and waste reduction, smart manufacturing, energy management, cybersecurity, decarbonization and resiliency planning.”

Ashish Nimbarte, professor of industrial and management systems engineering, is a co-investigator on the project.

Nationally, the DOE Industrial Assessment Centers program offers no-cost energy efficiency recommendations to small- and medium-sized manufacturers and wastewater treatment facilities. It also trains the next generation of energy-engineering professionals.

Since its inception, the program has provided nearly 20,000 no-cost assessments for small-and-medium-sized manufacturers and more than 147,000 recommendations for improvement measures. IACs typically identify more than $130,000 in potential annual savings opportunity for every manufacturer assessed, nearly $50,000 of which is implemented during the first year following the assessment.

“Through these assessments, and effective partnerships with key stakeholders, including the West Virginia Office of Energy and award-winning alumni, the WVU-IAC will continue its commitment to creating the next generation of energy engineers with applied energy and manufacturing-related experience, in a strongly diverse and inclusive environment,” Gopalakrishnan said. “The WVU-IAC will aim to maximize the student experience by providing applied training using real-time building performance data and systems-based building evaluation methods.”

WVU-IAC will also collaborate with state-accredited technical training centers and community colleges to ensure services to deeper areas of the state and the region including disadvantaged communities.



CONTACT: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Jake Stump
WVU Research Communications

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