The Texas A&M Energy Institute, a joint partnership between Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), will be leading the modeling and simulation efforts of the $140 million Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). This coalition, announced Dec. 9 by the Department of Energy (DOE), will be the newest, and 10th, member of the nation’s network of Manufacturing USA Institutes.
Earlier this year, DOE called for the establishment of a Manufacturing Innovation Institute on Modular Chemical Process Intensification for Clean Energy Manufacturing. To date, RAPID has enlisted 75 companies, 34 academic institutions, seven national laboratories, two other government laboratories and seven non-governmental organizations from all regions of the country. These partners have committed to cost shares that leverage DOE’s $70 million contribution over five years, with total project spending exceeding $140 million. RAPID’s partners come from energy-intensive industries and range from small to large enterprises.
The new institute will transform the U.S. industry by creating a manufacturing renaissance around innovative, modular, process-intensified manufacturing, while concurrently developing the next generation of a highly-skilled labor force. Leveraging the benefits of a public-private partnership between industry, university, national laboratory, federal, state, local, and not-for-profit entities, the RAPID Institute will provide open access to shared research, development and demonstration facilities and improve U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.
“Through collaboration and partnership across industries, national laboratories and universities, RAPID will enable transformational improvements in energy efficiency and U.S. manufacturing productivity,” said Dr. Glen A. Laine, vice president for research at Texas A&M. “The successful partnership we have forged between Texas A&M and TEES through the Energy Institute will continue to produce research programs and technologies that improve and impact people’s lives.”
“Christodoulos Floudas was the primary driving force behind this effort, and he worked tirelessly to make Texas A&M Engineering a major partner in this initiative,” said Dr. Dimitri Lagoudas, deputy director of TEES. Floudas, who served as director of the Texas A&M Energy Institute, passed away in August. “Having the opportunity to lead such an institute, supported by our outstanding faculty within Texas A&M, is a great tribute to Chris’ legacy and the reputation for excellence Texas A&M and TEES have built in the field of advanced manufacturing.”
The Texas A&M Energy Institute will lead the RAPID Manufacturing Institute’s efforts in the Modeling and Simulation Focus Area. Preliminarily involving 11 Texas A&M faculty members, as well as researchers at six other universities, this work will center on the rapid demonstration of energy efficiency through process intensification technology in computational space, thus providing expedient screening of competing technology concepts and step-by-step justification of proceeding with technology development.
“The Texas A&M Energy Institute has assembled a world-class team of faculty experts in all areas of process intensification modeling, simulation, optimization, and control,” said Dr. Stratos Pistikopoulos, interim co-director of the Texas A&M Energy Institute and the primary investigator of Texas A&M’s efforts in the consortium. “The breadth of the ability of our collaborators and our team at Texas A&M on this project to take a process intensification solution from concept, to design, to testing, to optimization and control – toward the development and deployment of process intensification process solutions – is unmatched in the world.”
The Texas A&M Energy Institute’s ongoing efforts in leading the Southern Regional Manufacturing Center for the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, the ninth member of the nation’s network of Manufacturing USA Institutes, will be closely aligned and integrated, as both institutes are seeking improvements, efficiencies, and energy consumption reductions in the same industries.
Additional information about the RAPID Manufacturing Institute and its objectives can be found at https://www.aiche.org/rapid.