“Battery U” – First of Its Kind Master’s Program in the U.S.

Posted on April 28, 2013. Filed under: education, manufacturing, science & technology | Tags: , , , |

From San Jose State University …

San Jose State University in collaboration with CalCharge, is launching “battery university,” a first-of-its-kind MS Degree program that seeks to expand the skilled workforce needed by this rapidly growing and changing industry. Course topics will range from the basics of battery technology and manufacturing to overviews of market dynamics and policy considerations. Designed to include opportunities for hands-on experience, students will be able to conduct research and market analysis projects with local battery firms. Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will contribute instructors to the program.

Classes start in August of 2013, with a course titled “Renewable Energy Systems”.  Prospective students can enroll at SJSU and earn an MSE, but can also enroll and complete certificate coursework, or just register for single classes of interest, as an Open University student.

NKS Info Services / Bosque Farms, NM / / 505-715-0607

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NAE Forum Summary on Unleashing Engineering Innovation

Posted on March 30, 2010. Filed under: engineering, innovation, manufacturing, science & technology, tech transfer | Tags: , |

“The financial crisis that began in 2008 is a stark demonstration that we as a nation take great risks when we build too much of our economy on a base that does not create real value  … making real products and providing real services.”

At its 2009 annual meeting the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) hosted a public forum called “Rebuilding a Real Economy: Unleashing Engineering Innovation”, to discuss the challenges facing America.  It has just released a summary of that forum, available on the National Academies Press website.  You can order a copy, read it online (I don’t recommend that) or order a free download.

The quick summary is – no single action can reenergize the U.S. innovation system.  Instead, a set of interconnected initiatives must be undertaken to accomplish the goal.  The report summarizes panel discussion in the following areas:

  • Key innovation sectors (research universities, entrepreneurs, national laboratories, and manufacturing)
  • Policy initiatives (energy policy, incentive prizes, the Singapore example, and education)
  • Prospects

Need similar information?  Perhaps I can help.

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Lean to Green manufacturing conference – last minute note

Posted on September 24, 2009. Filed under: manufacturing |

Just a quick note – The Society of Manufacturing Engineers is holding a “lean to green” conference next week in Austin,TX.  The deadline for online registration is tomorrow, the 25th.  Thereafter you can register on site. 

All conference details can be viewed here.  To quickly check out the sessions. go straight to “conference at a glance“. –nks

Need more information on lean or green manufacturing?  Perhaps I can help.

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What are (some) States doing to support manufacturing?

Posted on May 23, 2009. Filed under: government programs, manufacturing | Tags: |

Manufacturing Today says “there are a number of federal programs to support the manufacturing industry but what are the states doing?  It then goes on to highlight selected state programs from  Utah, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oregon, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Florida, Indiana, and New Mexico.  See
And no, I don’t know what significance, if any, there is to the listed order.  –nks
Need more information?  Perhaps I can help.
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Environmental analysis of manufacturing processes – efficiency falls as technology advances

Posted on May 3, 2009. Filed under: environment, manufacturing, nanotechnology | Tags: , |

A multi-year MIT study funded by the National Science Foundation shows that, for industrial manufacturing, more advanced technologies are less efficient in their use of energy and materialsper kilogram of output than older technologies. 

The MIT team surveyed twenty manufacturing techniques, and used a framework, based on the laws of thermodynamics, to keep track of the energetic, as well as the physical or chemical, transformations of materials as they pass through the stepsof an industrial process.   They found that as processes become more technologically sophisticated, they tend to manipulate smaller and smaller quantities of material at slower rates, but power consumption per process stays about the same, leading to a noticeable increase in the amount of energy needed to produce a given quantity of final product.

To date there haven’t been strong incentives to reduce energy consumption, but that may be changing, according to the NSF summary. –nks

Need more information? PerhapsI can help.

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More on A123 Systems (Batteries)

Posted on April 14, 2009. Filed under: automotive, energy efficiency, manufacturing | Tags: , |

Yesterday’s blog reported on Chrysler’s decision to use A123 Battery Systems for it’s planned electric vehicles and hybrid plug-ins.  Here’s more about A123, courtesy of SME’s April14 Daily Executive Briefing, taken from an April 13 Wall Street Journal article:

 GE Investing Another $15 Million In A123 Systems. The Wall Street Journal (4/13, Johnson) Environmental Capital blog reported, “General Electric is pouring another $15 million into battery maker A123 Systems, the seventh time GE has put money into the MIT offshoot,” and “the $69 million invested by GE and others will let A123 expand factories to ramp up production of auto batteries.” The investment, noted the blog, “has as much to do with the future of electricity as with the future of automation.” The company said that “not all the money will be used to build futuristic cars: ‘The funding will also support A123’s efforts to develop applications for the smart grid, such as utility-scale energy storage.’” The blog pointed out that “finding a cost-effective, reliable way to store the intermittent electricity produced by wind farms and solar panels would make it easier to use a lot more clean energy.  –nks

Need more information?  Perhaps I can help.

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Chrysler chooses U.S. based battery supplier

Posted on April 13, 2009. Filed under: automotive, energy efficiency, manufacturing | Tags: , |

A123 battery module

A123 battery module

MIT’s Technology Review reports that Chrysler has chosen A123 Batteries, based in Watertown, MA, to provide batteries for its planned electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. A123 is reportedly building factories in Michigan to build the batteries.  According to the story, this could help promote an advanced battery undustry in the U.S.

The vehicles. too, will be built in the U.S., according to Chrysler.  All good news, in a small way, for U.S. manufacturing, iespecially if Chrysler survives the current economic crisis.

A123 was selected, in part, because it is U.S.-based, and also because the battery modules are supposed to be easily adaptable to various vehicle models.  Another benefit – the technology lends itself to relatively simple battery packs.  Much more detail in the story.  –nks

Need more information?  Perhaps I can help.

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Manufacturing skills certification program announced

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: education, manufacturing |

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and its non-profit subsidiary the Manufacturing Institute, in partnership with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and other industry groups, has announced a new skills certification system based on needed skills and competencies identified by manufacturers.

The NAM system will focus on core personal effectiveness skills, academic competencies, general workplace skills, and industry-wide technical skills required by manufacturing employers in all sectors, for entry-level manufacturing positions.

For positions beyond entry-level, the SME certification programs have been incorporated.  These are Certification for Manufacturing Engineers (CMfgE) and Certification for Manufacturing Technologists (CMfgT).

Learn more at

There are many ways out of the current economic crisis, and certainly developing a highly-skilled workforce in many industries is one path forward.  –nks

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