University of Wisconsin–Madison

UW-Madison engineers part of $140 million ‘Manufacturing USA’ clean-energy initiative

Several University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers are among leading researchers around the country who will participate in the newly created Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute.

Led by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Golisano Institute for Sustainability, the institute was created under the U.S. Department of Energy Manufacturing USA initiative and announced Jan. 4, 2017.

The REMADE Institute is a national coalition of leading universities, national laboratories and industries that will forge new clean-energy initiatives deemed critical in keeping U.S. manufacturing competitive.

Under the RIT-led Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation Alliance, the institute will leverage up to $70 million in federal funding that will be matched by more than $70 million in private cost-share commitments from industry and other consortium members. In all, 26 universities, 44 companies, seven national labs, 26 industry trade associations and foundations and three states (New York, Colorado and Utah) are engaged in the effort.

The institute will focus its efforts on driving down the cost of technologies essential to reuse, recycle and remanufacture materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and electronic waste and aims to achieve a 50-percent improvement in overall energy efficiency by 2027. These efficiency measures could save billions of dollars in energy costs and improve U.S. economic competitiveness through innovative new manufacturing techniques, small business opportunities and offer new training and jobs for American workers.

The Grainger Institute for Engineering at UW-Madison led the university’s participation in the initiative. UW-Madison engineers involved in the institute includes civil and environmental engineer Andrea Hicks, an expert on quantifying the environmental impact of products and processes; chemical and biological engineer George Huber, who is among the world’s leading biofuels researchers; and chemical and biological engineer Victor Zavala, whose expertise centers around developing models for evaluating technological systems.

Researchers in the REMADE Institute also will develop and implement an education and workforce development program that will fill workforce gaps identified by its industry, government and academic partners and build the next generation of the recycling and remanufacturing workforce. Susan OttmannJames TinjumFrank RathWayne Pferdehirt and Paul Miller of the UW-Madison Department of Engineering Professional Development will contribute to the institute’s efforts in workforce development.

REMADE Institute partners have the following five-year goals:

  • 5 to 10 percent improvement in manufacturing material efficiency by reducing manufacturing material waste
  • 50-percent increase in remanufacturing applications
  • 30-percent increase in efficiency of remanufacturing operations
  • 30-percent increase in recycling efficiencies
  • A targeted 50 percent increase in sales for the U.S. manufacturing industry to $21.5 billion and the creation of a next-generation recycling and manufacturing workforce.

Manufacturing USA is a network of regional institutes, each with a specialized technology focus. Also known as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), the consortium brings together academia, industry and federal partners with a goal to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and promote a robust and sustainable national manufacturing research and development infrastructure. The institutes are tasked with bridging the gap between basic research and product development in key technology areas regarded as critical to U.S. manufacturing. Since 2012, 13 research institutes have been established, with two more planned for later in 2017. The UW-Madison College of Engineering also is a partner in the $320 million Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, which was created in 2014.