DOE's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO; formerly called the Industrial Technologies Program, or ITP) represents one of the only remaining federal programs focused on meeting the technology and energy needs of the manufacturing sector in the United States. The program has achieved an impressive track record, offering some of the most effective federal energy efficiency programs available and recognized by the National Academies as one of the most effective federally funded technology application programs.
AMO funds both R&D and deployment activities. The Office’s R&D focus is on next generation materials and manufacturing process improvements. AMO also has several successful programs promoting technology deployment. The Better Plants Program and Challenge strives to help industry reduce its energy intensity by 25% through a national recognition program and by offering technical assistance. The Industrial Assessment Center program trains the next generation of energy-savvy engineers while performing free energy audits for small and mid-sized manufacturers who often don't have the resources to closely manage their energy use. Superior Energy Performance promotes the use of the ISO 50001 energy management standard and helps industry set energy performance goals. AMO’s also has a number of software tools and trainings available online.
AMO also supports distributed generation activities, including combined heat and power (CHP)and waste heat recovery, through the Regional Clean Energy Application Centers.
For over 30 years, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program has provided small and medium-sized manufacturing firms with the technical assistance necessary to make important energy efficiency improvements in their facilities. The IAC program has relied on the ingenuity and dedication of its academic partners to provide manufacturing firms with cutting-edge energy guidance. The program has been among the most cost-effective and impactful of the federal energy efficiency programs. While the program has been targeted at smaller manufacturing firms, the expertise developed by the program was the basis for the Save Energy Now initiative for energy-intensive manufacturers, launched by DOE in response to the hurricanes of 2005. Both of these initiatives demonstrate the effectiveness of manufacturing assessment programs in achieving energy savings and productivity enhancements.
The IAC program’s university connections also provide a much-needed direct pipeline through which engineering students are prepared for careers focused on energy management and efficiency. It is this role that is so critical to the continued growth and strengthening of energy efficiency investments in the industrial sector. Though the IAC provides this direct pipeline to energy-related positions within the private sector, it is clear that the demand for well-educated, highly skilled and adept energy engineers far outstrips the supply. IAC graduates are highly sought, and for good reason. They are well-versed in the most up-to-date and cutting edge technologies and have a keen sense for improving energy efficiency in a wide range of applications including product design, project engineering and organizational/facility energy management.