RAPID: an Effort to Double the U.S. Energy Productivity by 2030
“Rapid” is how we describe getting things done quickly. It implies that an objective is pursued with haste, but not with waste. Rapid is positive, advantageous, and sought-after.
RAPID is also the Modular Chemical Process Intensification Institute for Clean Energy Manufacturing (Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment). It is part of the the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing USA Institute, representing a critical step in the federal government’s effort to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030. The RAPID Institute is focused on addressing barriers to enable the development of breakthrough technologies to boost energy productivity and energy efficiency through manufacturing processes. RAPID targets oil and gas, and chemical manufacturers among other industries. It is affiliated with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and our own team of ChemE’s and related professionals and skilled trades people are a perfect fit for this partnership.
RAPID has a special focus to leverage approaches to modular chemical process intensification (MCPI) — such as combining multiple process steps such as mixing, reaction, and separation into single more complex and intensified processes — with the goal of improving productivity and efficiency, cutting operating costs, and reducing waste. Optimation sees this combination of strategic national priorities and initiatives aligning with our own directives and competencies. Modular manufacturing, which can take the form of skid manufacturing, combinatorial process manufacturing, portable or movable process carts and platforms, etc. have long been an area of engineering and manufacturing emphasis at Optimation.
Optimation and RAPID
In 2019 Optimation joined the Institute. We see it as a chance to gain insights on the latest trends and technologies in modular manufacturing, contribute our own capabilities towards the efforts being undertaken by other members and organizations, and to then apply these unique advanced learnings and services to the open market to further drive the DOE energy objectives in practice. In RAPID we have found a like-minded community of university investigators and researchers, pioneers, industry practitioners and early adopters, governmental and NGO scientists and support teams, and others dedicated especially to MCPI.
Capital project work often require challenges of expanding product mixes (more SKUs), increasing production capacity and volume, flexible scheduling, demand, and flows, and other sometimes competing parameters. Usually they must satisfy factors that drive increases to energy consumption and manufacturing space requirements. They often present new environmental challenges, regulatory constraints, safety and health considerations, and more. Many of these latter conditions and issues are manageable by-products or related but not value-add features of the client’s business and technical objectives. Process intensification (PI) provides ways to positively address each and all of these. Through advanced engineering and manufacturing processes we can show the way to enable these projects to leverage the PI principles. The way to achieve the DOE objectives (to boost energy productivity and energy efficiency through manufacturing processes) and related benefits can be realized in:
- reduced space requirements and optimized process flows via smaller footprint, skid-based or modular processing systems;
- lower energy consumption with equipment utilization guided by PI specifications;
- enhanced environmental and worker safety through novel and advanced engineering applications and compliant designs;
- reduced capital costs through a reduction in distinct process steps;
- waste reduction and downstream cost reductions through improved and intensified processes that concentrate on efficiency and performance throughout the system.
Other benefits such as freeing up capital for other purposes and investments, enabling otherwise cost- or technology-prohibitive manufacturing are made possible. Optimation is eager to capitalize on the fruits of this relationship for the market and our clients, for the country, and for the future. And doing so RAPIDly is our top priority!