UW News

June 24, 2016

UW’s Clean Energy Institute to participate in national smart manufacturing initiative

The University of Washington’s Clean Energy Institute will partner with regional industry and academic institutions as part of the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, according to an announcement June 20 by the White House.

The new institute — led by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition in Los Angeles in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy — will harness more than $140 million of public and private investments to develop clean, innovative and energy-efficient manufacturing methods for our most energy-intensive industries.

“The Pacific Northwest has a decades-long history in energy efficiency investments designed to support a low-cost power system and competitive business environment,” said Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell in a statement through the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

“Over the years, energy efficiency programs in the Pacific Northwest have created a rich ecosystem of companies, local governments, utilities, contractors and organizations oriented toward advanced technologies, new applications, market testing, acceleration and deployment.”

The Pacific Northwest’s contribution to this initiative will come through the Northwest Regional Manufacturing Center, led by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. In addition to the UW’s Clean Energy Institute, participants will include Washington State University, Oregon State University, the Bonneville Power Administration and industry leaders across the region.

“The UW and the Pacific Northwest have long been leaders in both manufacturing and software technology,” said Daniel Schwartz, UW professor of chemical engineering and director of the Clean Energy Institute.

“The UW’s Clean Energy Institute is proud to be engaged in this partnership and this award will help further UW’s research and develop the next generation of clean energy smart manufacturing technologies that will create jobs and reduce our reliance on fossil energy.”

The UW will host a clean energy and smart manufacturing research and development testbed at the Clean Energy Institute along with partner EnerG2, which spun off from the UW in 2003. The university’s role in the institute comes in part due to $9 million in funding provided last year by the Washington Legislature.

“We were ready to seize this opportunity to partner with industry and the federal government because of the state’s initial investment,” said Schwartz.

Both Schwartz and Jud Virden, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s associate laboratory director for energy and environment, lauded the efforts of the region’s congressional representatives to establish an arm of the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute to the area.

“Sen. Maria Cantwell and the entire northwest congressional delegation threw their support behind our proposal, for which we are grateful,” said Virden in a statement. “Our region has much to offer in terms of clean energy technology and, in linking advanced sensors, controls platforms and modeling to our historically strong manufacturing sectors, we can increase efficiency and help create jobs not only here but across the nation.”

Regional partners will next focus on coordination of the Northwest Regional Manufacturing Center activities and prioritization of projects.


For more information, contact Schwartz at 206-685-4815 or dts@uw.edu.

EnerG2 was recently acquired by the American arm of BASF, one of the largest chemical and materials companies in the world.