UTRGV’s industrial assessment center gets $1M in energy funding

The UTRGV sign on the Brownsville Campus near the Student Union. (Courtesy: David Pike | UTRGV)

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez announced Monday that the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley would be receiving more than $1.25 million as part of an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

This initiative is part of a larger $60 million nationwide investment for university-based industrial assessment centers.

These centers make recommendations to manufacturers on ways to improve productivity, save energy, reduce waste and secure information while providing real-world experience for engineering students in energy management systems, energy assessment procedures and manufacturing processes

UTRGV has one such center, the South Texas Industrial Assessment Center, which received the federal funding.

“This investment will provide young minds in our region opportunities to improve manufacturing, drive economic growth and develop more energy efficient business models,” Gonzalez, D-McAllen, said in a news release. “I’m proud to secure this federal funding which will equip our students and institutions of higher education to create a more sustainable future.”

Assisting manufacturing and water industries as well as individuals, UTRGV’s assessment center also develops an energy engineering program to advance resilience and sustainability using renewable energy sources, cybersecurity, battery shortage and decarbonization.

“We are grateful to the Department of Energy for supporting the important work of our Industrial Assessment Center at UTRGV,” said Parwinder Grewal, executive vice president for research and new program development at UTRGV, in the release. “The funding provided to continue the center’s work will go a long way in helping small and medium-sized manufacturers to save on energy and our environment.

“These investments are urgently needed in growing the underserved Rio Grande Valley region.”

The closest such center is 350 miles away from the Valley.

Additionally, funding for UTRGV’s center will offer industrial energy assessments to enterprises that would otherwise not have access to no-cost energy assessments.

Through these assessments, the center is capable of helping manufacturers save millions of dollars in energy and water management costs each year.