Students and faculty at UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science have for the third time in a row been recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as national leaders in the areas of manufacturing and industrial energy efficiency, waste and water use reduction, smart manufacturing, energy management systems, productivity improvement and cybersecurity.
Led by mechanical engineering graduate student Walaa Saadeh and including mechanical engineering graduate students Mohamed Maache and Cheikh Kada, UWM’s team wrote a research proposal that took high honors in the 2023-24 Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) Awards for Excellence in Applied Energy Engineering Research competition, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office.
Ryo Amano, professor and Richard & Joanne Grigg Fellow, mechanical engineering, was the team’s advisor.
The team will receive a grant of $25,000 to conduct their project, “A Promising Approach for Clean Energy: Harnessing Organic Waste Streams for Efficient Hydrogen Production and Water Treatment” and will present it at the DoE webinar in spring.
The highly competitive, nationwide competition drew over 30 proposals submitted by the DoE-funded, university-based industrial assessment centers, or IACs, for emerging research projects with novelty for new technologies. Eight were awarded high honors this year. These IACs conduct energy assessments for small and mid-sized companies and identify opportunities to improve productivity and competitiveness, reduce waste, and save energy.
About the IAC
UWM’s DOE IAC—under the direction of Amano—is the only one in Wisconsin. The IAC provides free, in-depth energy assessments to small- and medium-sized manufacturers and utilities. The goal is to increase their productivity and competitiveness by reducing energy and water consumption, enhancing cybersecurity, and adopting smart manufacturing technology. To date, more than 600 companies and water treatment plants have used the center’s services. On average, they received energy-consumption recommendations to save about $150,000 annually, higher than the national IAC average of $130,000.