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July 12, 2002

Industries of the Future program receives $100,000 DOE grant

CONCORD-The Governor’s Office of Energy and Community Services (ECS) announced today that its New Hampshire Industries of the Future (NHIOF) program has received a $100,000 grant from the U. S. Department of Energy for fiscal year 2003.

The grant is to support a variety of energy-saving and waste-reduction actions for New Hampshire industries working with NHIOF, which is coordinated by ECS and the Business and Industry Association’s WasteCap Resource Conservation Network.

"We will be able to help New Hampshire industries develop innovative waste-reduction and energy-efficient technologies and processes as a result of this funding," said ECS NHIOF Coordinator Betsy Blaisdell. "This grant will allow us to bring energy auditing, new technology, and research and development support to IOF partners in the metals, plastics, rubber, and forest products industries in the state, as well as offer workshops and other services to businesses throughout the state."

"The NHIOF process helps some of the state's key industries identify what services, programs, and research they need in order to operate more efficiently," said WasteCap Executive Director Mark Toussaint. "In working to meet those needs, we find resources that will benefit the broader community of NH manufacturers as well as NHIOF companies."

New Hampshire Ball Bearing in Peterborough is a leading NHIOF partner and innovator. Facilities and Environmental Manager Patricia Carrier says IOF helps New Hampshire industries "address issues such as energy conservation, environmental regulatory flexibility, manufacturing process technology improvements, the efficient use of waste materials and workforce development.

"These areas are critical to maintaining a competitive edge," Carrier says, "and IOF helps New Hampshire industries enhance them in order to continue to thrive in the 21st century."

NHBB has taken advantage of a number of energy-savings opportunities-including lighting retrofits and an upgrade to their compressed air system that allowed them to take one of five compressors off line. Those changes alone represent more than $29,600 a year in electric cost savings, keeping more than 140 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

In addition, a process innovation allowed them to replace nitric acid with citric acid, a safer, less costly and more environmentally sound solution.

Another NHIOF partner is Wausau-Mosinee Paper Corporation, whose Groveton, NH mill recently completed a co-generation project that uses the exhaust heat from a gas-turbine electric generator to provide process steam for the plant, reducing air pollution and cutting energy costs.

"IOF offers New Hampshire business the chance to learn about efficiency improvement and cost reduction opportunities that are common to most industries," says Jim Kelsea, Technical Manager at the Groveton mill. "It has been of significant help to hear from industry professionals in my own state about the gains they are making with Six-Sigma and Lean Manufacturing techniques, for instance. IOF provides that forum, which I think is vital for the long term success of New Hampshire’s industries in a world economy."

This year, in addition to helping coordinate energy audits and industry-university research partnerships, the program hosted conferences on ergonomics and workflow reengineering, green chemistry, Six-Sigma applications, and greenhouse gas reduction measures.

ECS’s Blaisdell notes that an important role of NHIOF is to "spread the cost and risk of research and development" by seeking financing and encouraging industry-university partnerships to solve industry problems and offer researchers hands-on opportunities.

"This year’s funding will offer more opportunities to link businesses to R&D opportunities, energy audits, and more efficient manufacturing technologies, " Blaisdell says. "Helping to identify more efficient manufacturing processes has a definite tie-back to reducing pollution and resource waste and improving energy efficiency."

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