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UofL Conn Center researchers recognized by CESMII for cement energy reduction research

The Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) has recognized UofL JB Speed School of Engineering’s endowed chair in infrastructure research and professor of civil engineering W. Mark McGinley and civil engineering PhD student Juan David Tabares. Both received CESMII’s 2022 Smart Manufacturing Innovation Awards.


McGinley, Tabares, and researchers at UofL’s JB Speed School of Engineering and Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research were awarded $1 million by CESMII in 2018 to develop and test at an industrial scale more energy-efficient ways to produce Portland cement, which is a critical component of concrete.


Dr. Mark McGinley, UofL professor of civil engineering (left), and Mr. Juan David Tabares, UofL civil engineering PhD candidate (right), are recipients of CESMII's 2022 Smart Manufacturing Innovation Awards.


CESMII announced the awards during their Smart Manufacturing Experience, an industry event tailored to small and medium manufacturers, in Pittsburgh, PA from June 7-9, 2022. The CESMII awards for Energy Productivity Innovation recognize Dr. McGinley and Mr. Tabares for “Developing and demonstrating a comprehensive closed loop Smart Manufacturing system – from sensing to modeling to control – to optimize the rotary kiln process in cement manufacturing, resulting in 15% savings in energy consumption.”


McGinley notes, “While the CESMII awards honor Juan and me, they are a testament to the outstanding work of the multidisciplinary team of researchers in the UofL Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research and departments of Civil & Environmental and Electrical & Computer Engineering.


Tabares, who also works for Argos Cement as an industry partner, participates as a graduate research assistant in the project, entitled “Smart Manufacturing of Cement,” which is co-funded by CESMII and Argos Cement. He has 12+ years of experience working for Argos, where he focused on developing future technologies for both cement and ready-mix concrete in Colombia, Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States.


“I am honored to be recognized by CESMII with Dr. McGinley,” says Juan. “Concrete is the heart of modern infrastructure but comes with an energy intensive cost. Our efforts to positively shape that energy consumption worldwide through Smart Manufacturing systems are a step in the right direction for responsibly reducing demand. As a PhD student, the opportunities to research and innovate within my industry are highly rewarding.”


Mahendra Sunkara, co-investigator on the CESMII project and director of Conn Center, praised McGinley and Tabares for their work. “Their insights from the manufacturing side shaped this project to ensure we created solutions that industry can practically implement. Juan David’s participation as a PhD student and the collaboration with Argos Cement demonstrate the effective impact of continued educational investments by industry."


To learn more about Energy Efficiency research at the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, visit Conn Center.

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