The Intermountain Industrial Assessment Center (IIAC) at the University of Utah, led by director and chemical engineering assistant professor Kody Powell and co-director Julie Sieving, has received the Center of Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC). The honor is given to the highest-performing center in the country.
The national IAC is a program that helps small- and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers save energy, improve productivity and reduce waste by providing free technical assessments by university teams of engineering students and faculty. There are 31 centers around the country.
“For us to receive this award, when we have so many peer centers doing excellent work is very humbling,” Powell said. “While we are honored to receive this award, we are mostly just grateful to be a part of this program. We feel that our mission is important and that we are doing good work to help our community. That, in itself, is very motivating.”
The main objectives of the program are to help businesses save energy, emissions and costs; train students to become the next generation of energy engineers; and identify cutting-edge methods to increase efficiency via research projects. The centers can aid manufacturers in a wide range of fields from food manufacturing and textile mills to computers and electronic products.
The team of researchers and students at the IIAC typically spends one day on-site working with participants to identify cost-effective opportunities to save electricity, gas, and water. With this consultation, the center can help companies save 10% to 20% in energy and productivity savings. They provide the company a report outlining ways the facility can save, and it includes a detailed engineering and economic calculation of potential energy-saving ideas.