Energy Center’s New DOE Grant to Help Businesses Grow “Greener”

With a five-year grant from the Department of Energy, College of Engineering researcher Ramin Moghaddass and a team of students will help the manufacturing sector reduce its carbon footprint. The center will specifically focus on businesses located in underserved areas.

If the nation’s manufacturing industry and other businesses weren’t already motivated to cut their energy costs and carbon footprint, a landmark proposal approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday might just spur them to do so.

Under the proposed rule, passed by a 3-to-1 SEC vote, hundreds of public companies would be required not only to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions they produce, but also to report on the risks. that climate change poses to their operations.

“It remains to be seen to what extent this will spur companies to act, but it is certainly possible that the rule, if it comes into force, will spur them to want to do something about the amount of heat-trapping gas they are using. produce,” said Ramin Moghaddass, an associate professor of industrial engineering at the University of Miami College of Engineering, who leads an initiative designed to help companies reduce carbon emissions and energy costs.

This initiative, known as the Data Analytics Lab and Industrial Assessment Center, recently received a five-year grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to help small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in Florida and Puerto Rico become ” greener” and more resilient.

The $2.1 million project, including $1.7 million from DOE funding, began earlier this year.

“Climate change continues to be one of, if not the biggest, issue facing our planet,” said Moghaddass, whose center is one of 32 academic assessment centers across the country to receive a part of the DOE’s recent $60 million investment to increase energy efficiency in manufacturing.

“The United States has now officially joined the Paris climate accords, and this funding demonstrates the Biden administration’s commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change and achieving a clean energy economy,” said he declared. “We have big plans for the grant.”

Using advanced analytics, alternative energy sources, smart sensors and other new technologies, Moghaddass and his team will teach companies how to improve energy efficiency, manage wastewater treatment systems more effectively and increase their ability to provide heat, electricity and other services to consumers.

“We will teach them the importance of using sustainable and renewable energy as well as recyclables and scrap materials,” explained Moghaddass.

The centre, which also conducts research on data analytics, will focus specifically on companies located in underserved areas, also helping them to strengthen their cybersecurity and implement long-term strategies to become more resilient, did he declare.

Florida Power & Light, the Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience, and the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department are collaborating on this endeavor.

A satellite facility at the University of Turabo in Puerto Rico and a support center at the Miami Herbert Business School will bolster the project, according to Moghaddass, recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award.

“The results of this project will not only benefit the manufacturing sectors in Florida and Puerto Rico, but may also impact the energy efficiency and competitiveness of products used throughout the U.S. economy,” Moghaddass said. .

But it is the students who are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of the project, Moghaddass revealed. Over the five-year grant period, more than 75 undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds will participate in the venture, conducting research and synthesis projects, helping businesses become more sustainable and , in some cases, securing full-time employment with these companies. after graduating from college.

“We will prepare the next generation of energy efficiency workers to help us achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” Moghaddas said.

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