U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Advanced Manufacturing Office
Next Generation Manufacturing Processes
New process technologies can rejuvenate U.S. manufacturing. Novel processing concepts can open pathways to double net energy productivity, enabling rapid manufacture of energy-efficient, high-quality products at competitive cost.
Four process technology areas are expected to generate large energy, carbon, and economic benefits across the manufacturing sector. Click the areas below to view our current projects in each.
Reactions and Separations: New technologies that provide high energy efficiency and process intensification can yield dramatic energy and cost savings in a range of industries, including oil refining, food processing, and chemical production. Example technologies include separation processes that rely on high-performance membranes and catalysts.
High-Temperature Processing: Non-thermal or lower-energy alternatives to conventional, high-temperature processing technologies will enable more efficient production or recovery of critical materials (metallic and non-metallic). Such technologies could enable or enhance water-based, selective extraction of critical materials from low-grade ores; recovery of high-value materials in obsolete electronic equipment and waste; and low-temperature, high-efficiency chemical or electrochemical processes.
Waste Heat Minimization and Recovery: Technology advances in ultra-efficient steam production, high-performance furnaces, and innovative waste-heat recovery will help to improve sustainability, reduce water usage, and decrease the energy footprint of U.S. manufacturing.
Sustainable Manufacturing: New manufacturing technologies that reduce process steps, materials usage, or part counts will reduce the energy embedded in the manufacturing value chain and decrease the use of raw materials in multiple markets. The same is true of technologies that enable the manufacture of materials or components that increase recycling and recyclability. Upon initial product conceptualization, new design and process tools could enable selection of a manufacturing process to meet specific cost, time, energy intensity, and life-cycle energy consumption requirements.
Projects are also continuing under the former AMO R&D area: Combined Heat and Power.