Georgia Tech Selected as Department of Energy’s Southeastern Center of Excellence
The Department of Energy has selected Georgia Institute of Technology as the Southeastern Regional Center of Excellence to enhance and expand the Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) program. This new Center, in partnership with Clark Atlanta University, Kennesaw State University and Florida A&M University, will serve as a regional hub that collaborates and coordinates with government, nonprofit, labor, and industry actors to train clean energy workers and support small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) in their respective regions.
The Center involves two neighboring IACs comprised of the four universities and will serve as a regional and national enrichment resource for fellow IACs.
Specifically, the proposed Center of Excellence will: 1) leverage team expertise to advance the identification of technologies and approaches which increase energy efficiency, decarbonization, and productivity in cost-effective manner; 2) provide exemplars that facilitate networking and leveraging between IACs and complementary stakeholders (e.g., National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnerships); and 3) equitably develop the clean energy workforce of the future – in part via the leadership role of the two HBCUs and the expansion of the Technologies for High Efficiency Realization via Minority Scholars (THERMS) program.
The proposed Center of Excellence is a natural leverage point and extension of the team’s present activities including:
Applied Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) research projects that directly map to highlighted technology interests within the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), hence vivid subject matter expertise to aid identifying implementation opportunities;
Direct involvement of National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnerships;
Delivery of credentialing energy management courses that are periodically enrolled by active workforce professionals, as well as faculty and students from other IACs.
Finally, the proposed Center of Excellence will also be a hub to receive and distribute insights from IACs within the region, and there will be keen attention upon distinctive needs within the Southeast (e.g., both clean and resilient energy enhancement given disruptive possibilities such as hurricanes). The two IACs’ location in metro-Atlanta and Georgia/North Florida allows the Center of Excellence to service underserved communities both in urban and rural locations.
Comas Haynes, research engineer at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) said, “This award is both an honor and excellent opportunity to expand Georgia Tech’s regional and national service of clean energy interventions and workforce development. Our partnership with Kennesaw State University, Clark Atlanta University, and Florida A&M University brings together University System of Georgia institutions, as well as leading HBCUs, and we look forward to supporting other IACs’ increased impact within the Southeast.”