Researchers at the University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering won $1 million from the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) to find cheaper, more energy-efficient ways to make portland cement, according to The Lane Report.
Mahendra Sunkara, PhD, chemical engineering professor and director of the Conn Center who led the effort to obtain the funding, said the project’s goal is to transform the U.S. cement manufacturing industry by lowering energy use with state-of-the-art monitoring, simulation and control systems.
W. Mark McGinley, PhD, endowed chair in infrastructure research and professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Speed School, will head the Conn Center team, which will include Sunkara; Thad Druffel, PhD, theme leader for solar manufacturing research and development at the Conn Center; and Aly Farag and Michael McIntyre, professors of electrical and computer engineering.
“Energy is a significant portion of the cost of cement production,” McGinley told the news agency. “Controlling firing temperatures and times will reduce cost and environmental impacts. These improvements make this industry more viable through adoption of smart manufacturing technologies and processes, improve their product, and help the planet.”
“This first set of projects will showcase the value and impact that smart manufacturing has across a broad set of industry opportunities” Jim Wetzel, interim CEO of CESMII, told the news agency.