The Center for Advanced Energy Studies will most likely have an educational role in the Reducing Embodied-energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute announced in January by the U.S. Department of Energy.
CAES is positioned to be an important resource for regional education, workforce development and economic development, said Idaho National Laboratory’s Dr. Eric Peterson, who has been named the leader of the REMADE research “node” focused on recycling and recovery processes.
Part of a larger body of public-private research institutes known as Manufacturing USA, REMADE is headquartered in Rochester, N.Y. It has more than 100 partners involved, including INL, and research will occur at a number of facilities throughout the country. DOE’s plan is for the institute to receive up to $70 million in federal funds over five years, with a match of $70 million or more from the private partners involved in the effort.
Peterson, an INL researcher and CAES deputy director for research partnerships, said the recovery and recycling node will be focused on metals, fibers, polymers and electronic waste.
One project proposal is to examine automobile recycling. Old cars and trucks are typically shredded into pieces of metal roughly the size of your thumbnail, and these processes result in mixtures of metals like aluminum, steel and copper. Researchers from INL and the University of Utah hope to improve the metals separation process, which could lead to both higher resale values for purer metals fractions and increased energy efficiency during re-smelting.
While INL is a key asset because of its long history of nuclear separation and recycling research, the REMADE plan calls for a Western education effort that stretches from North Idaho Community College to University of California at Irvine to the University of Oklahoma. Idaho State University, a member of the CAES consortium, will be involved, as will University of Utah, where Dr. Darryl Butt, a former CAES associate director, is now a dean.
REMADE has a component called Technical Education and Workforce Development (TEWD) that focuses on advanced manufacturing. By the third year, the plan calls for training of more than 500 students in the technologies and skillsets required to advance the goals of REMADE stakeholders in industry, academia, national laboratories, and independent research labs. In the same time, the TEWD program will train and educate 50 trainers in the relevant REMADE technologies.
“There’s an opportunity for all the CAES institutions to come in and participate in the institute,” Peterson said.