Mar. 6, 2012 Specific advances in materials and manufacturing can deliver significant energy, environmental, and economic impacts to U.S. businesses in as soon as two to ten years, according to a new study coordinated by The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS) on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office.
The findings of the three-phase project was published in its capstone Innovation Impact Report. The study was launched in February 2010 when TMS convened an Energy Materials Blue Ribbon Panel, consisting of 21 thought leaders in materials science and engineering.
Since that time, more than 100 experts from a cross-section of professional societies representing more than 75,000 scientists and engineers have participated in various aspects of the study, examining materials and manufacturing advances determined as critical to achieving a clean energy future in the U.S.
The study's culminating Innovation Impact Report identifies 54 specific opportunities that could save more than 2,800 trillion British thermal units of energy every year -- more than the total amount of U.S. energy provided by wind, solar, biomass waste, and geothermal combined. These opportunities can also avoid 435 million tons of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to about one-third of all CO2 emissions generated by the U.S. industrial sector, and eliminate $65 billion in unproductive energy expenditures by American businesses every year.
"There are tremendous opportunities that lie ahead that will enable us to sustain development of a renewable energy economy in the 21st century," said Diran Apelian, Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Metal Processing Institute at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and chair of the study's Energy Materials Blue Ribbon Panel. "The opportunities articulated in the Innovation Impact Report are powerful in that they make the case and the value proposition is clear."
Opportunities identified in the report include materials and manufacturing breakthroughs that can make manufacturing more energy efficient, productive, and profitable. Other emerging technologies can also help to reinvent energy-efficient transportation, capture more benefit from existing energy sources, and capitalize on all available and emerging energy sources. With a significant and sustained research and development investment, the study has determined that these advances can yield significant benefits within two to 10 years, while laying the groundwork for clean energy advances in the future.
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