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Boise State, CEERI Receive $1.5 Million for Manufacturing Efficiency Training

By:    Published 12:44 pm / September 15, 2011

The CAES Energy Efficiency Research Institute (CEERI), headquartered at Boise State, this week was awarded $1.5 million by the U.S. Department of Energy to train engineering students in energy efficiency and to provide energy audits to mid-sized industrial facilities in the Northwest.

Boise State, through its leadership of CEERI and in partnership with the University of Idaho and Idaho State University, was among 24 across the nation to receive the award. Only five of those schools are in the West.

“This is a truly collaborative effort and a great win for the state of Idaho,” said John Gardner, Boise State engineering professor and director of CEERI, which is one the initiatives within the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, a research and education partnership between Idaho National Lab and the three Idaho research universities.

“The partnership that CEERI and CAES embodies enabled us to put together a very innovative and competitive proposal. This program aligns perfectly with CEERI’s research mission while providing resources to enhance undergraduate education at all three universities and providing a valuable service to industries throughout our region.”

With a goal of producing the nation’s next generation of industrial energy efficiency experts,CEERI will receive $300,000 per year for up to 5 years to help teams of engineering students gain practical experience in core energy management concepts through DOE’s successful Industrial Assessment Center program.

“This industrial efficiency training program opens the door to good jobs in a growing, global sector for thousands of energy-savvy students while promoting real, boots-on-the-ground progress toward our transition to a clean energy economy,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The Centers will provide a boost to the next generation of American workers as well as to the businesses with which they work.”The Industrial Assessment Center program enables promising engineering students around the country to conduct energy assessments in a broad range of manufacturing facilities, providing skills and experience that prepare the students to compete in today’s economy while helping local companies and factories reduce energy waste, save money, and become more economically competitive.

Through these university-based Industrial Assessment Centers, engineering students will receive extensive training in industrial processes, energy assessment procedures, and energy management principles, which will be put to use working directly with small and medium-sized industrial and manufacturing facilities in the surrounding communities. Under the program, each Industrial Assessment Center will be expected to train at least 10 to 15 students per year, conduct approximately 20 energy assessments annually, and perform extensive follow-on reporting, tracking, implementation and management-improvement activities.

In addition to conducting assessments at industrial plants, each Industrial Assessment Center will be expected to promote interaction with private sector partners that could provide valuable workforce development support, such as scholarships and internship opportunities.