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UCI named as partner in new clean manufacturing institute

$140 million consortium aims to improve competitiveness of US industry

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 6, 2017 – The University of California, Irvine, in collaboration with the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, has launched the Reducing Embodied-Energy & Decreasing Emissions Institute to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing.

The Department of Energy is providing up to $70 million to fund the REMADE Institute through its Manufacturing USA initiative, with a matching sum contributed by a consortium of 85 private-industry partners. The goal of the program is to forge new clean energy efforts deemed critical in keeping the nation’s manufacturing on the cutting edge.

REMADE will focus on driving down the cost of technologies essential to reuse, recycle and remanufacture materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and electronic waste. Participants aim to achieve a 50 percent improvement in overall factory energy efficiency by 2027. These measures could save billions of dollars in operating costs and improve U.S. economic competitiveness through novel manufacturing techniques, small-business involvement, and training and jobs for American workers.

“This is a great new opportunity for UCI to expand its growing portfolio of advanced manufacturing and sustainability research programs, which include years of activity in green engineering; sustainable materials design; and recovery, recycling and reuse,” said Richard Donovan, director of research development at UCI’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences.

Programs promoting manufacturing efficiency with research activities at UCI include the DOE-sponsored Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute at the California Institute for Telecommunications & Information Technology and the Institute for Design & Manufacturing Innovation at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering.

Julie Schoenung, a UCI professor of chemical engineering & materials science who’s affiliated with IDMI, will lead REMADE research and education efforts. Among the study areas are the development of safer and more sustainable materials and the creation of smart digital apprenticeships using augmented and virtual reality tools in dynamic learning environments.

UCI researchers will seek a more rigorous understanding of designing for the circular economy – creating products intended for reuse, recycling and remanufacturing. They also will explore the generation and sharing of “digital twins,” or virtual representations, of optimal manufacturing techniques and the implementation of wearable sensors to enhance situational awareness in factory settings.

UCI will work with the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Idaho National Lab, Argonne National Lab, and other leading universities and industrial partners in collaboration with the DOE. In all, 26 universities, 44 companies, seven national labs, 26 industry trade associations and foundations, and three state governments (New York, Colorado and Utah) are engaged in the effort.

“Across the nation and around the world, cleaner production, clean tech and adoption of a circular economy are recognized as critical drivers to a prosperous future,” said REMADE Chairman and CEO Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of the RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability. “As resource scarcity intensifies, the thoughtful use of water, energy and raw materials is the only path forward.”

About Manufacturing USA: Also known as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, Manufacturing USA 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. Regional institutes are tasked with bridging the gap between basic research and product development in key technology areas regarded as critical to U.S. manufacturing. Launched in 2012, Manufacturing USA now comprises 13 research institutes, with two more planned for later this year. The Rochester Institute of Technology is involved in six of them, with the latest, the REMADE Institute, being the first in which the university will serve as the lead member. For more information, see https://www.manufacturingusa.com.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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