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WPI research reduces water usage

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Dry Bulk,

A new multi-university research center led by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) aims to dramatically reduce energy and water usage while focusing on drying. The Center for Advanced Research in Drying (CARD), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers program (I/UCRC), brings together researchers at WPI and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

CARD is the second NSF I/UCRC established at WPI. The Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling (CR3), part of the university's Metal Processing Institute, was launched in 2010 with the mission of developing new technologies for maximizing the recovery and recycling of metals used in manufactured products and structures.

Drying is used in industries that handle moist, porous materials and other forms of dry bulk chemicals. In the US, approximately 2% of the 100 quadrillion BTUs (or quads) of energy used is in the industrial drying processes, according to CARD's inaugural director Jamal Yagoobi, George I. Alden Professor and head of WPI's Department of Mechanical Engineering.

"The goal of CARD is to improve the efficiency of those processes by 10%, which would save 0.2 quads of energy each year," Yagoobi said. "Since steam is the prime media used in industrial heating and drying, by making drying more efficient, the center also aims to help reduce annual water usage in the United States by about 10 billion kg, or the equivalent of the water in 4000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. By achieving transformative breakthroughs in drying technologies, we can have a profound impact on US manufacturing capabilities. In the short term, major innovations in this field, when commercialised, will positively affect production costs, process efficiency, energy sustainability, and product quality. In the long run, the magnitude of these changes could very well foster a new era of US manufacturing competitiveness and job creation."

Yagoobi said CARD will conduct industry-sponsored research on drying technologies. For more information, click here.

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