Our Story Happens Here
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

DOE Grant Helps CSU Students Learn While Improving Business Efficiency

Colorado State University
Michael Kostrzewa, senior research associate in mechanical engineering talking with students about sawmill operations during an assessment to a lumber company in Saguache.

The U.S. Department of Energy is continuing to fund a program at Colorado State University that connects mechanical engineering students with manufacturing companies for energy efficiency assessments and recommendations.

CSU is the only Colorado university in the DOE’s Industrial Technologies Program. “The students and the professors involved will generate maybe 8 to 10 ideas when you add them all up,” says Professor Allan Kirkpatrick, who oversees CSU’ Industrial Assessment Center. “Then we look at their payback period – and we want to make sure the payback is in order of say, three years or less.”

Kirkpatrick says about 70% of companies actually go on to make changes based on the student suggestions. “Our metrics are primarily in terms of energy savings – and our typical savings will vary, but on the average over the last few years it’s been about $50-thousand dollars a year.”

The DOE grant pays students involved in the program and will keep it going for another four years. CSU has been a part of the DOE program since 1985.