ONAMI Technology Lab at OSU, along with PNNL, to lead new federal energy efficiency effort

December 20th, 2016

Oregon State University, with partner with Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, will co-direct the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment Institute, the most recent of 10 advanced manufacturing institutes stood up by the 10 U.S. Department of Energy. The federal effort aims to improve efficiency in U.S. chemical industries.

Seventy million dollars will go toward the institute over five years, pending Congressional appropriation. Support from states and the private sector will drive the total investment to more than $140 million.

OSU’s role grows out of its collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories at OSU’s Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, which dates back to the early 2000s. MBI has since evolved into the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Institute (ATAMI), where the RAPID Institute will be based. ATAMI is on the Corvallis Hewlett-Packard Campus in a facility made available to OSU by HP for long term use.

ATAMI, like predecessor MBI, is one of seven ONAMI Technology Labs. In fact, MBI’s launch coincided with that of ONAMI in 2003. Process intensification—then known as Microtechnology-based Energy Chemical Systems—was the original focus of the building, which has spawned spinout companies such as Valliscor, Shoei Electronic Materials and CSD Nano.

Brian Paul, professor of manufacturing engineering at OSU College of Engineering, is OSU’s lead on the new focus area. Paul is also an ONAMI member researcher, former director of the MBI and current member of the ATAMI leadership team.

The emphasis of the RAPID Institute will be on chemical process intensification, which is the development of chemical manufacturing equipment that is smaller, lighter-weight and more energy efficient. The result will be lower costs, and modular production of chemical plants that will help to boost the nation’s economic growth.

Paul explains:

In the module manufacturing focus area, we’ll work to create chemical equipment that is lighter, smaller and less expensive than existing equipment,” Paul said. “This will enable distributed chemical processing, like efforts to use solar energy to augment the energy content of natural gas. This could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, using solar thermal processes that are 70 percent solar-to-chemical efficient.

To date federal funding in advanced manufacutring "has been matched by more than $1.4 billion in non-federal investment from across industry, academia, and state governments," according to the DOE.

Adapted from:

For information on the broader advanced manufacturing initiative see also: US DOE, December 9, 2016.

Chemical reactor