Industries of the Future – West Virginia (IOF-WV) – is West Virginia’s primary industrial energy efficiency program. IOF-WV grew out of collaboration between West Virginia University (WVU), the WV Development Office Energy Efficiency Division (now the WV Division of Energy) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The original focus was developing partnership projects to produce energy-saving, productivity-enhancing technologies and strategies for energy-intensive industries such as aluminum, steel, metal casting, glass, chemicals, polymers, wood/forest products, and mining. Over the past fifteen years, more than 75 competitively funded collaborative projects have been put in place, more than 65 industry partners have been cost-share partners, more than 40 professors and numerous students have worked on projects, four national laboratories have participated, and over 300 proposals have been written involving more than 250 partners and co-PIs.
Due to the changing nature of industry and West Virginia’s economy, IOF-WV has developed eight new focus areas:
- Energy Intensive Industrial Processes
- Advanced Manufacturing & Materials
- Shale Gas to Materials and Products
- Biomass to Renewable Fuels and Chemical Feedstocks
- Clean Power Generation/CHP/Energy Recycling
- Data Centers and Commercial/Institutional Buildings
- Electrochemical Processes and Industries
- TransTech Energy Business Development
These eight focus areas were chosen to provide a balanced initiative incorporating the original mission of IOF-WV as well as addressing current and future economic trends that will impact West Virginia and the region. Although the mission to assist existing businesses improve their competitiveness through reducing energy costs is as important today as it was in 1997, the creation of jobs through new business opportunities is imperative. IOF-WV is well-positioned to engage the diverse resources at WVU in partnership with others in the state to address these new initiatives. There are exciting possibilities such as the development of additive manufacturing and the synthesis of chemical feedstocks from natural gas extracted from shale formations. Commercial buildings represent a significant opportunity for energy efficiency innovation. We are encouraged by the interest that the WVDO has shown in attracting Data Centers to the state and how IOF-WV may be able to contribute. With projected long-term low-cost natural gas, there is renewed interest in implementing CHP in states such as West Virginia. This interest is also relevant to addressing the air emissions standards under the Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule. Our eighth initiative, TransTech Energy Business Development, presents a pathway to the future by facilitating the development and growth of new and innovative companies.