Evaluation of Crosscutting Subprograms
As significant areas of common interest have been identified across the seven energy-intensive industries—called Industries of the Future (IOFs)—discussed in the preceding chapter, new crosscutting subprograms have been established. Currently, the crosscutting subprograms are combustion, sensors and automation, industrial materials of the future, supporting industries, and software tool development. The same criteria were used for evaluating the crosscutting subprograms as were used for the IOF subprograms (see the subsection “Committee Evaluation Criteria” in Chapter 3). This chapter contains evaluations of the five crosscutting subprograms, as well as evaluations of the Industrial Technologies Program’s (ITP’s) technology delivery subprogram and ITP activities at the regional offices of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
Virtually every energy-intensive industry relies heavily on combustion technologies to produce heat for process and steam-generation needs. Combustion has therefore been identified by ITP as an enabling, crosscutting technology. Although combustion is a complex process involving chemistry, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics, an improved understanding of combustion would impact both the energy efficiency and pollutant emissions of industrial processes.
ITP personnel have made considerable efforts to identify key industry stakeholders in the combustion area and to solicit industry input when determining research directions. A workshop held in January 1998 resulted in an industrial combustion vision that identified key areas for ITP support and leadership (Energetics, Inc., 1998). In addition, an industrial combustion roadmap was developed, identifying priorities and initiatives to be undertaken during the next 20 years (Energetics, Inc., 2002). These documents are a strong source of information on organization and direction for current and future combustion subprogram activities.
In addition to obtaining industry input in the development of the vision and roadmap, the combustion subprogram has been highly effective in obtaining industry involvement in individual projects. This success has resulted in projects that are larger in scope than would have been possible otherwise, and it has provided effective pathways for the industrial application of the technologies developed. In spite of relatively small budgets in recent years, this subprogram can boast of a number of technologies that have resulted in successful products.
Focus Areas, Barriers, and Pathways
A number of combustion-related issues and technologies are key to the energy efficiency of U.S. industry. The combustion subprogram is currently funding three focus areas: steam generation, process
heating, and combustion components and design tools. Despite the mature state of technology in this field, there is no shortage of areas deserving funding. As a result, priorities and metrics are critical in identifying and achieving the objectives that will best satisfy the ITP’s mission. Owing to the increased emphasis on environmental effects of emissions during recent decades and to the relationship between combustion, energy efficiency, and emissions, there is an inherent challenge in incorporating environmental priorities into a set of objectives. The ITP recognizes the importance of reducing emissions and has specified the goal of the reduction of environmental impacts within its mission. Consequently, many of the ITP efforts in the combustion area have an emissions focus. However, the only apparent emissions-related metric used in project selection for the ITP involves greenhouse gas reduction. The committee recommends that the ITP develop a process for weighting the value to the program of emissions reductions in each specific pollutant, e.g., nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxide (SOx), mercury, acid gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulates.
The reorganization of the EERE in 2002 and the subsequent ITP reorganizations have led to substantial changes in ITP’s decision-making methodology. Prior to this reorganization, the combustion subprogram had committed to a number of long-term projects. Some of these are not a good fit with the current methodology. Historical inertia may have led to a bias in the application of the focus area-barrier-pathway methodology to the extent that some existing projects appeared to be a good fit under the new approach. The committee supports the new decision-making methodology and recommends that focus areas, barriers, and pathways be identified independently of legacy projects, so that existing projects do not skew the future selection process. In addition, the committee recommends phasing out legacy projects that do not fit within the new decision-making methodology.
In recent years there has been a clear shift toward natural gas as a convenient, cost-effective, and clean source of fuel. However, the danger of developing a fuel-selection strategy that relies solely on one fuel has been demonstrated during the past few years, as the price and regional availability of natural gas have caused significant problems for a number of industries. The project portfolio in the combustion subprogram at the ITP is almost entirely focused on the use of natural gas. The committee therefore recommends that the ITP attempt to incorporate projects with a more diverse range of renewable and non-renewable fuels. For example, coal, wood, waste, oil, hydrogen, and other fuels are now, or could soon become, important to industry.
While the ITP’s emphasis on partnering with and transferring technology to industry is laudable, effective development is limited in a number of combustion-related areas by a lack of fundamental understanding. For example, key aspects of the chemistry of ultralow NOx burners and fundamental weaknesses in the development of techniques for modeling the interactions between chemistry and turbulent fluid mechanics make it difficult to employ sound science in the development of burners. Although there may be other avenues for funding fundamental research and development (R&D), certain fundamental issues that are particularly important to industrial combustion are not attracting the attention of other agencies or programs and will continue to be neglected without ITP support.
Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling
With the rapid improvement in computational resources, techniques, and combustion-specific experience, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling tools have shown significant potential. The improvement and evaluation of the capability of these tools to meet the specific needs of industrial burners and furnaces were identified by the industrial combustion roadmap as an important priority.
However, progress in this area has been limited. Although these tools have proven extremely useful in the utility industry, their expense and complexity have limited their use in the industrial boiler sector. The ITP, with its familiarity with the variety of industrial combustion technologies and challenges, can identify broader issues and bring a number of industries and companies together in order to support projects. In addition, the combustion and sensors subprograms would both benefit from joint projects providing insight into combustion issues involving the complementary use of both sensors and CFD.
Government funds are often used to support technologies that are too high risk to attract industry investment. The ITP’s combustion projects also tend to assume that approach, as specific project deliverables are typically new designs. However, the capital-intensive nature of combustion equipment often necessitates unusually long life spans and slow replacement. Although there are exceptions (e.g., burners), the subprogram is missing a significant opportunity with its limited support of retrofit applications. In addition, technology transfer is often accomplished more effectively and with less risk through the evaluation of new concepts in a retrofit application. By increasing emphasis on retrofit applications, the subprogram may also enhance the acceptance rate of developments relevant to new designs.
Mitigation of Carbon Dioxide Emissions
The contribution of EERE programs to the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through improvements in energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources is obvious. A number of developing technologies receiving worldwide attention seem particularly relevant to this subprogram and should be considered for support—for example, gasification and oxygen-fuel combustion with CO2 recycling.
Breadth of Emissions Control
The focus of the ITP’s emissions control efforts is largely on NOx and CO2. However, combustion plays a key role in the production and control of a number of other key pollutants, including SOx, mercury, acid gases, VOCs, and particulates. Further consideration of these pollutants, which are or could be regulated in industrial environments, may be important to the nation’s environment.
Waste Heat Recovery
Limited budgets require ITP personnel to define the core focus of each subprogram carefully. Although heat recovery equipment is related to combustion, the committee suggests that this area be pared from the combustion subprogram in order to apply subprogram resources more effectively.
Conclusions and Recommendations for the Combustion Subprogram
In general, the committee finds that the combustion subprogram is operating in a cost-effective manner and is well organized in terms of its overall strategy, individual project selection, and development and application of metrics. The ITP projects in this area have resulted in significant technical accomplishments. The majority of the committee’s recommendations for improvement involve prioritization, either external or internal to the subprogram:
Metrics should be clarified and a process developed for weighting the value to the program of emissions reductions in each specific pollutant, e.g., NOx, CO, SOx, mercury, acid gases, VOCs, and particulates.
Legacy projects that do not fit within the new decision-making methodology should be phased out.
ITP should attempt to incorporate projects with a more diverse range of renewable and non-renewable fuels, rather than being focused exclusively on natural gas.
Research should be funded to improve fundamental understanding of issues important to industrial combustion, such as the chemistry of ultralow NOx burners and modeling of the interactions between chemistry and turbulent flow mechanics.
ITP has a role to play in identifying issues and bringing stakeholders together to improve and evaluate CFD modeling tools to meet the needs of industrial burners and furnaces, possibly in coordination with the sensors subprogram.
More emphasis is needed on retrofit applications, which may also enhance the acceptance rate of developments relevant to new designs.
Consideration should be given to supporting new approaches to reducing CO2 emissions—for example, gasification and oxygen-fuel combustion with CO2 recycling.
Emissions control efforts should include research on key pollutants other than NOx and CO2.
The waste heat recovery project is a candidate for removal from the combustion subprogram in order to focus resources more effectively.
Many of the committee’s recommendations provided above were raised during the preparation of the 2002 industrial combustion roadmap. The combustion program would benefit from a review of this recent effort. In addition, although funding limitations are always present, the ability of personnel in the combustion subprogram to attend key industry conferences is important to communication with industry and should be increased over current levels.
SENSORS AND AUTOMATION
A critical core competency for the achievement of increased industrial energy efficiency is the development of reliable, integrable, and robust sensors that can provide real-time information on thermally dependent processing parameters. Currently, control of industrial processes is limited by the fact that most of these processes are truly dynamic in nature. Most processing technologies are therefore experience-based, and accurate modeling and simulation are difficult. Sensors can provide data needed to better understand industrial processes, thereby improving the accuracy of models and simulations. This type of dynamic output information can move energy efficiency measures from the experience-driven arena to the more accurate, science-driven arena. The use of sensors, combined with computerized modeling and simulation, has the potential to save significant amounts of energy, lower costs, and improve overall product quality.
Improved sensors and automation technologies are needed in all of the IOFs, with many applications being sufficiently similar that crosscutting development can take place. Although the sensors and automation subprogram does not have its own roadmap, the need for sensors in burner research is clearly presented in the crosscutting combustion subprogram. Other high-profile sensor needs include those within the aluminum and steel melting and processing industries, as well as the heat treating industry. The sensors and automation subprogram supports the return on investment of all of the other subprograms.
Focus Areas, Barriers, and Pathways
The ITP identified the focus areas for the sensors and automation subprogram by tabulating and generalizing the most frequently cited sensor and automation needs indicated in the IOF roadmaps. The focus areas are advanced sensor technologies, improved information processing, next-generation control and automation technologies, robotics, and affordable industrial wireless technologies (DOE, 2004a, p. 192). Additional industry input was obtained from a workshop on the applicability of recent advances in sensor and control technologies (January 2001) and a workshop on wireless technology (sponsored by
the ITP in San Francisco, California, in July 2002). The focus areas, barriers, and pathways identified for this subprogram are appropriate, as are the data sources used to identify them.
Five projects involving the implementation of wireless networking of sensors are listed in the existing project portfolio for the ITP sensors and automation subprogram (see http://www.eere.energy.gov/industry/sensors_automation/active_rd.html). While wireless technology is clearly a growth area for sensor use, this effort is now virtually risk-free and has little promise of extraordinary rewards. All of the technology and software concepts essentially exist, as evidenced by the current implementations. The committee recommends that funding for work in this area be redirected toward the more fundamental and high-risk development of new sensor technology.
In addition, great challenges exist in rapid sensing of the composition and properties of multicomponent and multiphase industrial streams. For example, information is needed on the crucial interfacial properties of fibers suspended in water before this stream enters the papermaking processes. Materials-recycling streams and streams including multiple phases, such as suspensions, also present challenges. The opportunities presented by nanotechnology amplify the importance of surface and interfacial properties. If nanotechnology is to enable new properties of materials in industrial production, these properties must be able to be sensed for process control. Much of nanotechnology is concerned with surfaces and interfaces. One project in the current portfolio appears to clearly tackle a challenging stream (the project entitled Remote Automatic Material On-Line Sensor). However, there do not appear to be any projects involving interfacial or surface properties. The committee recommends that this gap in the project portfolio be addressed.
The development of sensors and automation is a high-risk, expensive, and protracted process. This is particularly true for sensors, for which the development process almost always involves innovation. The development, testing, field validation, and maturation of a sensor technology to the extent necessary to meet industrial performance standards require an extended, close working relationship between the innovator or developer and the industrial user. The initial development, proof-of-concept, and hardware implementation phase is usually neither the real economic challenge nor the highest risk. The extended maturation activities needed, including exposure to a sufficiently wide range of harsh industrial operating conditions, are responsible for the major costs. Industry wants implementation-ready hardware and sensor and automation systems. The development of a proven, robust, industrially hardened sensor usually requires this joint developer-and-user maturation cycle. As a result, the development of sensors, in particular, and of automation has largely been limited to single, specialized, company-specific applications.
A definite need exists for some form of joint participation in sensors and automation involving a wide range of individual companies but sidestepping competitive issues. In terms of developing an effective project portfolio, one challenge lies in the diversity of industries that the ITP is working with, as well as the variety of sensor applications within those industries. This is a problem-rich environment within which the ITP needs to figure out what its niche is and decide how to allocate funding.
Within each industry, the market for a specific sensor application is often not large enough to drive the extended development costs. One strategy, therefore, is to work on the development of a group or family of sensors for which the same basic technology could be adapted in order to handle a wide range of applications across several industries with reasonably similar technical needs. Improved process sensors could have a synergistic effect in the energy savings in all of the IOFs, as well as improvements in productivity, environmental factors, and quality.
The Timken Company and O.G. Technology have collaborated on a project focused on an in situ “hot eye” sensor to detect surface flaws. This program started out with a single company, and the application is now being successfully expanded to numerous users. This project might be a good case study for review.
Just selecting the right project is not enough, however. A critical mass of support must be marshaled, including a workable joint team structure, resources, talent, and drive. A more detailed analysis of the benefits of improved sensors and automation is needed, and new metrics should be developed that give a more accurate picture of these benefits with respect to other ITP subprograms. This information would facilitate industry support and thereby attract the funding necessary for small projects with a high return on investment. Alternatively, a high-profile sensors and automation application could perhaps be found that would have a major impact on the success of a grand challenge.
Sensor technologies must be implementation-ready in order to be widely disseminated within industry. The ITP needs to bring vendors into the development process in order to achieve that level of sensor maturity. The ITP has collaborated with national laboratories on sensor development, but national laboratories do not have experience with taking technologies through development and hardening them into field instruments. Greater communication between ITP subprograms regarding active projects and needs would foster more collaborative customer-and-vendor shared research.
Conclusions and Recommendations for the Sensors and Automation Subprogram
Sensors and automation are a problem-rich environment in which vast opportunities exist. The ITP has done a good job of administering the sensors and automation subprogram thus far. However, a new paradigm is needed to foster collaborative activities in the development, maturation, and integration of sensor technologies. The committee recommends that:
Funding for the implementation of wireless networking of sensors be redirected toward more fundamental, high-risk development of new sensor technology;
Research be undertaken to improve sensing of the composition and properties of multicomponent and multiphase industrial streams, especially surface and interfacial properties;
A vehicle for joint participation in sensor and automation development be created—for example, the development of a family of sensors for which the same technology could be adapted to handle a wide range of applications across several industries;
Better metrics be developed for determining the benefit to all ITP subprograms from investment in sensor and automation development;
Vendors be included early in the development process and communication be improved among the IOFs on existing sensor and automation needs and activities; and
A sensor development project be identified that can be included in a grand challenge.
INDUSTRIAL MATERIALS OF THE FUTURE
The mission of the crosscutting subprogram focused on industrial materials of the future is to lead a national effort to research, design, develop, engineer, and test materials needed for improvements in energy efficiency in the IOFs. The subprogram is aiming for a crosscutting portfolio, with emphasis on longer-range materials needs common to multiple industries and the encouragement of multi-industry partnerships.
Focus Areas, Barriers, and Pathways
The ITP analyzed the materials needs expressed in IOF roadmaps to identify focus areas for the industrial materials subprogram. Analytical studies were then used to prioritize areas across the IOFs. The following four focus areas were thereby identified as recurring themes worthy of ITP funding: degradation-resistant materials, thermophysical databases and modeling, materials for separations, and materials for engineering applications.
According to an analysis undertaken by the ITP using metrics defined by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) on 35 ongoing studies in the 2003 portfolio, the degradation-resistant materials focus area has by far the greatest potential energy-savings benefit
projected for 2020 (150.4 trillion Btu), with materials for engineering applications coming in a distant second (50.1 trillion Btu), followed by materials for separations (38.7 trillion Btu) and thermophysical database and modeling (7.1 trillion Btu). Additional analytic studies are underway to further quantify the energy opportunities in each area.
The pathways identified to surmount barriers appear well defined for those focus areas being funded and capable of achieving program goals. The industrial materials subprogram as a whole, however, is currently in transition between the previous opportunity-driven project selection strategy and the new focus area-barrier-pathway approach to identifying R&D targets and developing metrics. Currently, approximately one-third of the projects have been selected by the new method.
Specific R&D opportunities are being addressed in the degradation-resistant materials focus area. Projects have been identified in the other focus areas and, while some new projects have been initiated, others await clearer opportunity identification and funding.
The industrial materials subprogram tends to focus on mid- and far-term projects in terms of commercialization. This is because new materials are slow to be adopted, particularly in the commodity businesses that are the focus of the IOFs. The committee finds that such a focus is appropriate for this subprogram. The thermophysical database and modeling focus area, however, does have near-term payoffs in terms of the evolutionary modification of existing materials as well as broader use of existing materials across the IOFs. The existence of near-term components in this focus area is also appropriate, as a little bit of funding goes a long way in this area.
Conclusions and Recommendations for the Industrial Materials of the Future Subprogram
Overall, the committee finds the industrial materials subprogram to be on the right track with the very deliberate targeting methods now used by the ITP. The committee notes that there is some concern about finding well-qualified teams to perform the R&D in areas such as refractories because of the consolidation and shrinkage of this industry and the trend toward foreign ownership of domestic companies. The committee recommends working with industry organizations such as the Refractories Institute or the American Ceramic Society’s Refractories Division to develop sources.
The IOFs rely on a number of supporting industries to supply them with the processes and materials needed to form and finish their products. Several of these supporting industries have been identified by the ITP as improving the overall energy and environmental profile of the IOFs by their use of alternative manufacturing processes that are faster, more cost-effective, or that utilize waste materials in the production of parts, components, and products (DOE, 2004f, p. 1). The supporting industries subprogram consists of six specific industries: heat treating, forging, welding, powder metallurgy and particulate materials (PM2), advanced ceramics, and carbon products. In addition, the subprogram includes one crosscutting industry, industrial heating equipment (process heating).
The six specific supporting industries perform secondary processing activities for a number of IOFs. Although total energy use and energy-savings opportunities vary widely among the supporting industries, some, such as heat treating, are energy-intensive. The industrial heating equipment industry is less well defined, although it is based on an existing trade association, the Industrial Heating Equipment Association. The supporting industries subprogram is still defining the area that it covers and its goals. A new area was recently identified—the forming and fabrication of metals (metal sheets, rods, and other shapes for end-use industries such as bridge construction)—which is comparable to heat treating in terms of energy intensity.1
Each of the seven supporting industries (six specific and one crosscutting) developed a roadmap and/or vision document between 1996 and 2001. These roadmaps outline specific research needs and prioritize them according to the potential impact on industrial competitiveness. The roadmaps also outline the strategies needed to achieve these goals. Energy-savings research is one of the needs defined by the roadmaps, with, for example, the particulate matter vision document setting a goal of 50 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2010 and 80 percent by 2020.
Focus Areas, Barriers, and Pathways
It is unclear from the ITP’s Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP) what the focus areas are for this subprogram, although it appears that each of the seven industries can serve as a focus area (DOE, 2004a, pp. 159–162). Barriers and pathways have been defined for five of the seven industries: industrial heating equipment (process heating), heat treating, forging, powder metallurgy and particulate materials, and welding. In addition, general barriers and pathways have been identified that apply to the entire subprogram. In addition to the vision documents and roadmaps, information used in determining barriers and pathways included an energy and environmental profile for the supporting industries, a profile of total energy use for U.S. industry, a RAND study on research priorities for the supporting industries, a draft study on furnace demographics, and a draft study on energy savings for industrial energy systems. The committee finds that the available data sources were appropriate for defining barriers and pathways.
The identification of focus areas, barriers, and pathways for the supporting industries subprogram was more difficult, however, than for other subprograms. According to ITP personnel, a lack of data and resources made it difficult to develop other analytic tools such as footprint and bandwidth analyses.2 After reviewing the subprogram’s energy and environmental profile (Energetics, Inc., 2003a), the committee found that the energy data were indeed sketchy. Some industries (carbon products, welding) provided annual energy consumption figures, while others provided only energy consumption per weight of product or material used or the energy efficiency of equipment. ITP personnel noted, however, that the subprogram’s industrial partners are willing to cooperate in generating the necessary data.3 The committee recommends that bandwidth analyses be performed for the industrial heating equipment and fabricated metals areas.
For the most part, the barriers identified were the most appropriate with relation to the ITP’s mission, for example: the lack of modular hybrid furnaces in heating aluminum forgings, the lack of predictive tools for microstructure, and the lack of interactive controls for process optimization. In addition, the different pathways selected are ones that will most likely result in the achievement of ITP goals. The general strategic R&D pathway for all of the supporting industries is to develop opportunity assessments and studies. The R&D priorities identified are then incorporated into specific supporting-industry or joint solicitations. Lately, joint solicitations have been favored owing to the modest funding available. The supporting industries subprogram is currently emphasizing the development of grand challenges, such as the furnace of the future. Other pathways, such as the optimization of welding processes, are more evolutionary in nature.
The supporting industries subprogram has recently experienced a major restructuring and a funding cut of close to 50 percent. As a result, efforts are underway to find commonalities with other ITP subprograms and to integrate the supporting industries subprogram into them. These efforts have been successful thus far. Although the supporting industries subprogram currently has only nine projects, a large number of projects that significantly overlap with supporting industry needs are being funded under other subprograms. The committee recommends that the different areas of the supporting industries
subprogram be packaged differently, particularly in industrial heating equipment, to avoid overlap with other subprograms.
The cut in funding for the supporting industries subprogram reflects the ITP’s strategy of focusing on fewer, larger, and more substantial energy-saving projects. The current supporting industries portfolio consists of some more revolutionary approaches to energy savings, such as the infrared heating of aluminum billets, as well as some projects with large energy savings at a relatively low level of funding, such as high-temperature carburizing and friction stir welding. There is currently an emphasis on developing grand challenges.
Overall, the prospective portfolio as outlined in the pathways is on the right track to achieve ITP goals. Some projects may place more emphasis on energy savings than others (e.g., welding and particulate matter). The committee recommends the inclusion of more breakthrough projects, that is, the development of novel processes rather than the optimization of existing ones. At the moment, the majority of projects are near-term; the committee recommends the inclusion of more far-term projects either on its own or jointly with other subprograms.
The goal of the supporting industries subprogram is to cultivate partners, particularly among trade associations, and to promote energy efficiency by leveraging resources. However, in the five fact sheets for current projects provided to the committee,4 only one project lists a trade association’s being involved (the Forging Industry Association). The project on aluminum castings, however, has numerous industrial partners, including Alcoa, Deere GM, and IPSEN.
For some projects, the amount of energy savings that can be expected is unclear, such as friction stir welding and de-binding processes in particulate matter. A better quantification of expected energy savings is needed in order for these projects to determine if they serve the ITP mission. The committee recommends more transparency for GPRA data. If the expected energy savings is not large, these projects should be discontinued.
Conclusions and Recommendations for the Supporting Industries Subprogram
The committee believes that the supporting industries subprogram is a vital one, and that it is unique. The industries in this subprogram are truly crosscutting and would be difficult to manage under any other subprogram. This subprogram currently exists under difficult circumstances, including coverage of a larger variety of industries than is covered by any other subprogram, limited resources, and a lack of data. However, the committee believes that the prospective portfolio for this subprogram is on track to achieve the ITP’s mission and that the supporting industries subprogram has a role to play in any crosscutting grand challenges that are identified by the ITP. The committee recommends that:
Bandwidth analyses be performed for the industrial heating equipment and fabricated metals areas;
The different areas of the supporting industries subprogram be packaged differently, particularly in industrial heating equipment, to avoid overlap with other subprograms;
More breakthrough projects be included in the portfolio, perhaps jointly with other subprograms; and
More transparency for GPRA analytical data be provided.
SOFTWARE TOOL DEVELOPMENT
Of the energy consumed by the U.S. mining and manufacturing industries, 51 percent represents energy losses that occur in generation, distribution, and conversion systems, rather than being used for industrial processes (DOE, 2004a, p. 194). The ITP software tool development subprogram supports the
ITP mission by developing tools that can be used by individual plants to identify energy losses in these systems and to implement energy savings.
Focus Areas, Barriers, and Pathways
Prior to the reorganization of the EERE and the ITP, the software tool development subprogram developed tools on an ad hoc basis in collaboration with different industrial partners and organizations to address specific energy systems. Since the reorganization, the tool development subprogram has used the focus area-barrier-pathway decision-making model as a more systematic method of directing its efforts.
The one focus area in the subprogram is tool development. Barriers to realizing the full energy-saving potential of this focus area have been identified, including low industry awareness of the existence of ITP software tools, differences in software tool formats that inhibit the use of multiple tools by the same user, gaps in software tool capabilities, and limited training opportunities for software tool use.
Pathways for addressing these barriers have been identified. The first pathway is tool integration, including the setting of design and capability standards to give all tools the same “look and feel,” the distribution of tools on common platforms, and the development of a plantwide energy-assessment tool that can be used as an entry point to using a suite of tools. The second pathway is the expansion of existing tool capabilities and the development of new tools to fill gaps, including a building and facility energy tool, a waste heat recovery tool, a refrigeration or chiller assessment tool, and a plant decision-maker tool. The third pathway is the increased use of industrial partners to develop and disseminate tools, including the publishing of tool case studies in technical and financial publications and the developing of methods to track the use of tools. The fourth pathway is the development of new methods of tool training, including Webcasts and videos or DVDs of training sessions, improved help features, and continued technical support.
Data sources used by the software tool development subprogram in defining barriers and pathways include industry input in the form of a workshop on energy loss reduction and recovery in industrial energy systems, a workshop on tool and training strategy development, and peer review meetings. In addition, the documents and analyses used include an energy-loss and energy-use analysis report that identifies energy system hotspots for specific industrial processes, energy footprint and bandwidth analyses, and the energy-savings roadmap process.
ITP personnel managing the software tool development subprogram recognized that there had been inadequate metrics for measuring the success of software tools. Energy savings had been used as the overall metric; however, software development also requires the use of metrics that address specific user issues. The energy-assessment software tools developed by this subprogram are a critical component in the success of the ITP, and changes have been put in place to ensure that the tools are developed to meet the ITP goals of strengthening energy-intensive industries. Overall, the committee finds that appropriate steps are being taken to ensure that all of the software tools do the following: meet critical industrial needs, are user-friendly, look and feel the same to the user, are available for common operating-system platforms, and are properly publicized and made available to key industrial users. The committee believes that, by using the focus area-barrier-pathway process as well as energy footprint and bandwidth analyses, the ITP will generate adequate metrics for judging the success of its software tools.
The software tool development subprogram currently has 10 opportunity and screening tools: (1) Steam System Survey Tool (SSST); (2) Steam System Assessment Tool (SSAT); (3) Process Heating Assessment and Survey Tool (PHAST); (4) NOx and Energy Assessment Tool (NxEAT); (5) a tool for the assessment of motor and motor-driven systems (MotorMaster+); (6) a tool for the assessment of compressed air systems (AirMaster+); (7) Pumping System Assessment Tool (PSAT); (8) an insulation assessment tool (3E+); (9) Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Tool; and (10) Fan System Assessment Tool (FSAT). These tools are available to the public free of charge through the ITP Web site.
In addition, the ITP is in the process of developing a Plantwide Energy Profiler (PEP) tool for the chemical industry, which is currently in the beta phase of testing. This tool will serve as a template for the development of plantwide energy-assessment tools specific to other industries. The committee finds such plantwide assessment tools to be more suitable for the long-term benefit of industry than the existing tools that focus on a particular type of system, since these current systems may not exist in the future. The use of plantwide assessment tools will enable the identification of specific generation, distribution, conversion, or process systems for improvement. This information will help the ITP identify needs for software tool development in areas such as value-stream mapping, in which plantwide assessment tools can be integrated to identify energy savings in all stages from the initial production steps until a final product reaches the end user. The committee recommends the continued development of plantwide assessment tools.
Because of the unique nature of software tools, the committee also recommends that the ITP develop feedback mechanisms, such as online discussion or user forums. Such mechanisms will not only allow software tool users (e.g., qualified specialists, plant energy specialists, plant owners) to provide direct feedback to ITP personnel, but they will also allow users to provide each other with technical support and to seek support from ITP tool developers and implementers. The importance of this feedback loop cannot be overemphasized, especially in light of the Internet communication technologies existing today.
Conclusions and Recommendations for the Software Tool Development Subprogram
Overall, the committee believes that the software tool development subprogram is an important element in the success of the ITP. Given its use of the focus area-barrier-pathway process to identify critical gaps for tool development and its focus on plantwide and user-friendly opportunity and screening tools, the committee believes that the software tool development subprogram is focused correctly to achieve ITP goals. The committee recommends:
The continued development of plantwide assessment and value-stream mapping tools in support of the long-term goals of the ITP; and
The establishment of an end-user feedback loop through the use of online tools, such as discussion forums.
The ITP’s technology delivery subprogram has as its mission the reduction of the energy intensity of U.S. industry through the development, maintenance, and dissemination of best practices in energy management and through selective investment in the development, verification, and validation of emerging technologies that offer significant energy savings (DOE, 2004e, p. 1). As the technology delivery subprogram is a relatively mature component of the ITP, the subprogram’s strategy has been refined over several years for maximum impact. Technology delivery has adequate metrics in place and an evolving track record of accomplishments—evidenced by the completion of more than 40 plant energy-performance assessments since the year 2000, with $29 million annual plant energy savings realized, an average energy savings of 10 to 15 percent per plant, $200 million annual energy savings identified, and seven companies with replications at sister plants in progress.5 Goals for this subprogram are being met or exceeded.
The technology delivery subprogram operates via a large number of industry, trade association, and academic partnerships and a series of tools, techniques, and incentives created to promote industrial participation and energy awareness, including the following:
Ten software tools available via the ITP Web site to assess the energy performance of individual unit operations, as well as a tool under development for assessing the energy performance of entire plants.
Extensive software training and software specialist qualification activities offered through the DOE and its partners—in 2003 there were 77 end-user workshops with 1,777 end users trained, and 9 qualified-specialist workshops with 64 participants passing the qualified-specialist examination.
Cost-shared plant energy-performance assessments for larger plants with annual solicitations and about six new awards per year of up to $100,000 to pay for third-party analysis.
Free energy audits for small- to medium-sized plants (those with an annual expenditure on energy of less than $2 million) carried out through 26 Industrial Assessment Centers, located in 22 states, at universities with accredited engineering schools. Assessments conducted by students and faculty in 2003 resulted in 691 assessment days at 612 plants, with an average energy savings of $21,000 per plant and $35,000 savings in waste reduction and productivity gains. The education of students is an important added benefit.
Four emerging technology projects in various stages of progress in plastics and metals production and processing.
Outreach activities such as documents on energy-saving case studies and operation tips to save energy (50 documents published in 2003), major energy technology showcases and other regional events, technical assistance through six regional offices, and a well-maintained Web site that has several thousand contacts per day.
The committee supports ITP management plans to focus strongly on updating and improving the Web site as an opportunity to increase technology delivery through improved communications to industry. As part of this effort, the committee suggests that the Web site be modified to make it easier and more attractive for various levels of industry management, from plant managers to chief executive officers, to quickly get information on the potential for energy cost savings in their facilities. This assistance could include items such as links to case studies and results of recent plant energy assessments.
Another possibility for improving communications to industry is to create links to scenario planning, which would relate the magnitude of energy cost-saving opportunities to energy cost scenarios. It seems likely that energy generated from crude oil or natural gas will remain at current high cost levels for a prolonged period or rise to even higher levels in the future. This situation should make investments in energy conservation more attractive and shorten their payback period.
Finally, the committee recommends that ITP consider increasing efforts directed toward equipment manufacturers and engineering companies that design systems, with the goal being to design equipment and systems for energy efficiency rather than just to retrofit existing installations. Present efforts are primarily and appropriately directed toward plant operators. There may be an opportunity to create or modify existing software programs aimed at designing for energy efficiency.
Conclusions and Recommendations for the Technology Delivery Subprogram
The committee views the technology delivery subprogram as being very successful; its major challenge going forward will be to find additional ways to increase effectiveness through improved communications to industry. The committee recommends:
Modifying the ITP Web site to make it easier for different levels of industry management to get information on the potential for energy cost savings in their facilities;
Considering the creation of links to scenario planning that would relate the magnitude of opportunities for energy cost savings to energy cost scenarios;
Increasing efforts directed toward equipment manufacturers and engineering companies that design systems, with the goal being to encourage them to design equipment and systems for energy efficiency; and
Looking for opportunities to create new or modify existing software programs aimed at designing for energy efficiency.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) maintains six regional offices throughout the United States: Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia; Northeast Regional Office in Boston, Massachusetts; Midwest Regional Office in Chicago, Illinois; Central Regional Office in Golden, Colorado; Mid-Atlantic Regional Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Western Regional Office in Seattle, Washington.6 These regional offices have approximately 120 employees and represent approximately 25 percent of the EERE workforce.7 Regional office employees are responsible for implementing 15 EERE programs at the regional, state, and local levels, including the Industrial Technologies Program (ITP).8 Only the Southeast and Western Regional Offices have an employee dedicated full-time to ITP.9
As a result of the reorganization of EERE in 2002, the role of the regional offices in implementing the ITP at the regional, state, and local levels changed. Previously, regional offices were primarily responsible for implementing the Industries of the Future program at the state level, for conducting outreach to develop state vision documents and roadmaps, and for developing regional partnerships for coalition building. Since the reorganization, the regional offices have been tasked with ITP technology delivery, outreach to target the top energy-use plants, and the development of regional partnerships for the deployment and replication of technologies.10
The EERE reorganization involved a reduction in ITP headquarters staff; part of the rationale for that change was a greater reliance on the regional offices, field offices, and industrial/academic research partners for technology delivery. The field offices, however, have remained principally focused on project management, so the national burden of technology delivery at the regional, state, and local levels has fallen primarily on the regional offices.11
The committee has some concerns about the ability of the ITP to increase effectiveness in disseminating program information at the current level of funding and staffing. The committee recommends that the field offices be tasked with getting information to the regional offices about projects that are underway. The regional offices may lack real-time knowledge about the ITP’s research programs if they are not fully integrated into the project management loop. Such information would enable the regional offices to provide more depth in their public outreach mission.
Academics, suppliers (developers of innovations), and users (companies that have discovered how to apply them) are key nongovernment means of ITP technology transfer. It is unrealistic, however, to expect that suppliers and users benefiting from the sale and use of new technologies will readily share detailed knowledge about important breakthroughs with competitors. The committee recommends that, unless issues of intellectual property exist, industry communications and outreach to other industrial partners and the public be made a condition of contract. Making this function a condition of contract will ensure a broader dissemination of ITP program breakthroughs.
With reduced travel by ITP managers as well as regional and field office personnel, no effective way remains to reach the public by direct contact. The ITP’s electronic information delivery system, though comprehensive, is no substitute for direct personal contact in the dissemination of information. The committee recommends that the restrictions on travel by ITP headquarters staff and regional office
personnel be eased. The regional offices are the only direct link between laboratory development and field deployment. Without such travel, ITP managers are deprived of important feedback that could be useful for determining program direction and growth. The regional offices are the frontline for reaching industry at large so that energy saving technologies made possible by ITP research can be applied.
Regional offices are the best operational link to state and local authorities that provide revenue bonding, tax relief, energy credits, and other incentives to suppliers and users of ITP innovations. State and local authorities have become the main source of these types of incentives by default. Unless the economic and social benefits of the ITP’s programs are convincingly and consistently communicated, it may be difficult to obtain such incentives.
Conclusions and Recommendations for the Regional Offices
Since the EERE and ITP reorganization, the regional offices have been tasked with ITP technology delivery, outreach to target the top energy-use plants, and the development of regional partnerships for the deployment and replication of technologies. This makes the regional offices a crucial link between laboratory development of new energy efficiency technologies and deployment to U.S. industry. The committee finds that the regional offices have a proper sense of their post-reorganization mission. However, it has some concerns about the ability of ITP to disseminate program information at current levels of funding and staffing. To increase effectiveness, the committee recommends that:
Regional offices be fully integrated into the project management loop;
Unless issues of intellectual property exist, industry communications and outreach to other industrial partners and the public be made a condition of contract;
The restrictions on travel by ITP headquarters staff be eased; and
The restrictions on travel by regional office personnel be eased.