OIT Times: New Aluminum R&D Consortium Lead the Way in Kentucky
September 24, 2001
"Kentucky's industries are very energy-intensive, so everything we can do to reduce energy use helps us be more competitive," said Geoff Young of the Kentucky Division of Energy. "The States IOF program is helping us do that."
Kentucky began its effort by focusing on its aluminum industry, with some 80 mostly small- and medium-sized facilities throughout the state. "With all the mergers in the aluminum industry, it was clear that R&D is taking a backseatften it's the first thing that's cut," said Subodh Das, Director of the Southeast Center for Aluminum Technology Inc.(SECAT) at the Univ. of Kentucky-Lexington. "OIT is helping us ensure that the industry in Kentucky and around the country stays strong."
SECAT, a consortium involving aluminum firms, the Univ. of Kentucky, the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet and OIT, sponsored a Kentucky aluminum industry roadmap session in early 1999. The effort brought together industry representatives and researchers to discuss common needs. This ultimately contributed to the award of four R&D projects (involving about $15 million) to Kentucky companies. Recently, Kentucky firms brought together by the States IOF effort won a fifth aluminum-related project through an OIT program for university-led R&D projects.
Kentucky is now expanding its success to other industries in the state. A new SEP grant will target the agriculture, forest products, chemicals, mining and steel industries. A well-attended roadmapping workshop for the state's chemical industry was held in June, and mining industry representatives have joined forces to submit R&D proposals to OIT-sponsored programs.
"That little bit of seed money from the States IOF program and access to outstanding resources is the impetus that will help us achieve great things in Kentucky," said Das.
For more information, visit www.nr.state.ky.us/nrepc/dnr/energy/doeiof.html