Tech’s engineering department has recently received $2.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the Industrial Assessment Centers program.
The IAC Program is a university-based training program that offers efficiency improvement recommendations to small and medium sized manufacturing facilities at no cost to them. Tech is one of 32 universities to receive part of $52.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to IACs across the country. They offer recommendations to manufacturers and wastewater treatment facilities to improve their efficiency, save money and reduce their carbon footprint.
“For 15 years, Tennessee Tech has been able to have this and now be locked in for another five years,” Dr. Ethan Languri, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and director of the IAC at Tech said. “This money goes toward training our students, in terms of education. In terms of hands-on experience, it goes toward traveling to provide those energy saving solutions to manufacturing industries, to purchase equipment, and to research for graduate students.”
This program offers many unique opportunities with hands-on experience for undergrad and graduate students. With this new money given, Tech plans to include more research from graduate and Ph.D students.
Dr. Languri said they are excited for the new Ph.D students to do research because, “We are not going to limit ourselves to the knowledge we have because we have done it so many times. We are pushing the envelope and trying to come up with new solutions that are generated in our lab at Tennessee Tech … so that we can have new ways to save energy that have not ever been in literature.”
All types of engineering students are involved in this program. Students do many jobs in this program, starting with training, and eventually gathering data and creating solutions to save energy.
“The core part of this program is done by students,” Dr. Languri said.
One student involved in the program is Laurie Messerschmidt, a graduate student doing research in mechanical engineering.
“This program offered me so many different opportunities. One of so many opportunities is to get an introduction into the industrial world, applying what we learned in classes to actual applications,” Messerschmidt said.
Students can learn more about the program at https://www.tntech.edu/engineering/research/cmr/iac/