RAPID Chief Executive Officer Karen Fletcher said "the RAPID team is thrilled and energized by DOE's decision." "We are confident we can meet DOE's goals of reduced energy usage and feedstock waste, and improved productivity, through our focus on integrating unit processes into single modular hardware elements that are cost effective, with high efficiency and scalability," she explained. Fletcher, who, came to RAPID from a distinguished career at DuPont, was most recently, chief engineer and vice president of engineering, facilities and real estate.
Fletcher urged any interested organization to consider joining the effort. "We are an inclusive initiative, and welcome those, like us, who see RAPID as a distinctive way to serve our manufacturing base, the chemical engineering community, and the broader society by increasing efficiency and decreasing environmental impacts," she added.
AIChE Executive Director June Wispelwey said that RAPID's ability to address the process intensification challenge "builds on AIChE's decades of experience managing technical centers," such as the Center for Chemical Process Safety. She explained that "our RAPID partners, especially our national laboratory partners like Savannah River, each bring unique areas of expertise in process intensification," ranging from separations, catalysis and transport processes, to kinetics and reaction engineering, to bear on this important manufacturing challenge.
Wispelwey emphasized that RAPID will work closely with the other Manufacturing USA Institutes, which have common goals but distinct concentrations, to assure cooperation and share approaches to commercializing "step-change" innovations. To that end, she said AIChE will use its substantial educational resources to train students and the workforce in the application of the new modular process intensification tools. She also stressed that, before undertaking this challenge, she made sure that there are solid plans for RAPID to become financially self-sustaining within the five years of DOE's support.
Reacting to the announcement, T. Bond Calloway, AIChE's President-elect and the Associate Laboratory Director for Clean Energy at Savannah River National Laboratory, said "I am very proud to be part of the RAPID effort, in which chemical engineers are making such an important contribution to advancing American manufacturing." AIChE President Greg Stephanopoulos, the W.H. Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, echoed Calloway's sentiment, adding that "RAPID is clearly aligned with AIChE's mission to advance chemical engineering not just in theory, but in practice." He said that AIChE's "record of fostering innovation through collaboration" would assure RAPID's success.
Additional information about the RAPID Manufacturing Institute and its objectives can be found at www.processintensification.org.
AIChE is a professional society of more than 53,000 chemical engineers in 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government, using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontiers of chemical engineering research in such areas as energy, sustainability, biological and environmental engineering, nanotechnology, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at www.aiche.org.
Contact: Steve Kratz
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SOURCE American Institute of Chemical Engineers