The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has awarded a grant of $1.5 million over three years to the Delaware Valley Industrial Resources Center (DVIRC) and the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NJMEP), the MEP affiliate centers in Philadelphia and New Jersey, to encourage expanded manufacturing of energy-efficient building technologies.
The grant complements a larger U.S. Department of Energy project announced on August 24, 2010, that provides up to $122 million to the Pennsylvania State University for an Energy Innovation Hub. To be located at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Clean Energy campus, the Hub will focus on developing energy-efficient building designs that will save energy, cut pollution, and position the United States as a leader in this industry.
According to MEP, this project represents the first time that federal, state, and local public and private resources will be pooled to create a formal applied research/manufacturing cluster that spans from the lab bench, through production to implementation.
“Expanding the capabilities of U.S. manufacturers to respond to the market opportunities resulting from the development of new energy-efficient building technologies is key to ensuring the linkage between R&D and commercial application,” says Roger Kilmer, director of the NIST MEP.
DVIRC and NJMEPs role will be to connect manufacturers, specifically small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) to the project at all levels, including R&D, design and testing of new products, materials, technologies, and systems, and, more importantly, commercializing those opportunities for business growth and job creation.
The Energy Innovation Hub will pursue a research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program targeting technologies for single buildings and district-wide systems. These new building systems and components will need to be manufactured, presenting a unique opportunity for businesses in the area to get in on the ground floor.
The DVIRC in collaboration with its sister-center, the NJMEP, will leverage their knowledge of and relationships with regional companies to identify technologies such as sensors, new building materials, and computer simulation tools developed by the Energy Innovation Hub, and translate them into components they can license, develop and manufacture.
“Our region is home to a significant asset and essential resource to innovate new products and technologies,” says Joe Houldin, CEO of DVIRC. “SME manufacturers are true innovators and contribute substantial value to the region’s economic prosperity, and will play a vital role in taking energy research and applied technology to market.”
“We hope that this effort will be a model for public-private collaborative partnerships across the nation,” says Aimee Dobrzeniecki, deputy director of the NIST MEP.