Second Energy Innovation Summit this week

May 17, 2010
| By Pete Daly |
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A course to train companies on how to comply with a new federal energy efficiency law will be among the events at the Energy & Innovation Summit 2010 in Grand Rapids this week at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

The second annual summit is designed to help businesses understand key topics in energy efficiency, build successful business models and get practical advice on funding. Case studies will be presented by companies that have been there.

Blue Strategies Group of Holland is organizing the event, which runs Tuesday through Thursday, in collaboration with The Right Place, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West, Innovation Works, and Maintenance Technology and Commercial Building Products magazines. May 18 will focus on innovation and commercialization, May 19 on energy efficiency, and May 20 will be a full day of energy efficiency training courses.

The Energy Independence Security Act of 2007 was an omnibus energy policy bill signed by President Bush that consists mainly of provisions designed to increase energy efficiency and the availability of renewable energy, according to a Congressional website. It includes Energy Efficiency Equipment Standards for lighting and for residential/commercial appliances, and subsections deal with “High-Performance Commercial Buildings” and “Industrial Energy Efficiency.”

Under the EIS Act, the Department of Energy has been charged with developing and demonstrating new processes, technologies and operating practices to improve the energy efficiency of equipment and processes in energy-intensive industries.

The efficiency of electric motors is one of the major issues at this week’s Summit, along with industrial steam management, automation and recapture of waste energy.

“The Energy Independence Security Act of 2007 forces people to make educated decisions on motors,” says Bill Livoti, a national expert on energy efficiency who works for Baldor Electric Co. in Ft. Smith, Ark. He also writes for Maintenance Technology magazine.

U.S. industry uses about one-third of all energy produced in America. According to Livoti, DOE has a goal to reduce industrial energy use by 25 percent by 2017. DOE estimates that electric motors use 63 percent of the electricity consumed by American industry.

“Few people have the tools and skills to truly determine the actual energy consumption and performance of their electric motors,” said Livoti, who wrote the curriculum for the course.

Livoti will also speak in the morning on May 20 on the new ANSI/ASME standards for energy efficiency assessment s and the ISO 15001 standards for energy management.

“Up until now, energy assessments have been hit or miss,” Livoti says. “Now there is a standard for how the assessments will be done.” He explains that companies that want to have an energy assessment completed now will require assessors to follow the ANSI/ASME standards rather than their own assessment methods. In addition, the ISO 150001 standard formalizes how energy management systems operate, just as the ISO 9001 system formalized quality management when it went into effect in the 1990s.

Some of the other companies providing industrial energy efficiency training are Compressed Air Logistics, Rockwell Automation and Armstrong International of Three Rivers, a well-known designer and manufacturer of devices that improve the energy efficiency of steam used in industrial plants and refineries.

Two companies presenting case studies are Hotset Corp. of Battle Creek and ProRenewables, a joint venture of the Windquest Group in Grand Rapids and ProServices in Portage.

ProRenewables was launched in March to market the Green Machine, a device that will capture waste heat from industrial processes and turn it into usable electricity. The machine, which is built by a Nevada company and costs from $150,000 to $200,000 to buy and install, was displayed at the launch at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Michigan Technical Education Center. Pro Services will sell, install and maintain the Green Machine in seven Midwestern states. The machines have a claimed payback period ranging from two to five years; six are currently installed worldwide in a variety of applications, including boilers, stationary engines and geothermal and solar thermal systems.

The management team at Hotset received assistance from the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center West Regional Office, which is based at The Right Place in Grand Rapids.

Other speakers on the morning agenda for May 18 include Adam Hartung, innovation consultant and author of “The Phoenix Principle”; Sabine Brueske of Energetics Inc., who will present "The U.S. Energy Roadmap: Innovation Opportunities”; William Ragland of Argonne National Lab, presenting "Partnering, Facilities, Research & Collaborations for Today and Tomorrow"; and Jerold Zwas of the Michigan Israel Business Bridge, who will present "Israel Technology Collaboration Opportunities."

Other key presenters are from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth, Warner Norcross & Judd, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, InnovationWorks, U.S. Small Business Administration, Michigan Small Business Technical Development Center and Blue Strategies Group.

Co-sponsors of the Summit include Ferris State University, the West Michigan Strategic Alliance and the West Michigan Chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Tickets are available for single days or the entire event at www.energysummitonline.com

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