Inside Clemson

Clemson displays its clean energy, advanced manufacturing achievements during DOE visit

Danielson_CUICAR1By Jackie Todd, Office of Media Relations

Clean energy and advanced manufacturing seem like future concepts. But the future is now at Clemson where research and development of new technologies are attracting the attention—and respect—of those who seek to invest in those innovations.

One of those “investors” is the United States Department of Energy (DOE). And its representative had great things to say about Clemson.

“The whole region is on fire in terms of advanced manufacturing and clean energy and you’re a big part of that,” said David Danielson, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “I think you’re at the epicenter of that.”

Danielson stopped at CU-ICAR last week as part of his Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative Southeast U.S. tour to learn more about Clemson’s involvement in this area and to seek input on how the DOE can assist the region in developing technologies to push what he called “our clean energy economy” forward in the nation.

And Danielson liked what he saw.Danielson_CUICAR2

“If I look at what you’re doing with the eGrid, with CU-ICAR and other efforts, I really think that you’re mapping a path forward that we’re going to see the rest of the nation take on in a very short order,” he said. “Walking around here at CU-ICAR, I’m blown away. I’m so excited by the work you’re doing and I couldn’t be prouder that the DOE is one of your sponsors.”

According to Danielson, there’s a growing appreciation of advanced manufacturing and clean energy. The clean energy market, which the DOE assistant secretary said was in the billions last year, is expected to increase into the billions in the next five to ten years.

With rising labor costs overseas, a focus on reduced CO2 emissions and a growing appreciation of advanced manufacturing technologies, it’s a prime time for the U.S. to bring back the manufacturing jobs that it lost in past years.

Melur Ramasubramanian thought it was important for the DOE to understand Clemson’s commitment to this research. Ramasubramanian, the D. W. Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Department Chair of the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, helped to organize Danielson’s visit.

“This is a national priority,” Ramasubramanian explained. “Large scale federal funding is being directed to this area. DOE has awarded large National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Institutes and plans to invest in three additional institutes.

Ramasubramanian said that it is strategically important for Clemson to be at the forefront of this area and position itself to win one of these institutes.

“Clean energy-related manufacturing offers the best chance for us to win, given our strengths.”