The Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, now in it’s 5th year, has been a nice success story for the fluid power industry. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the Center has among its goals the research and development of efficient components, compact power supplies, and compact energy storage.
It was great to see Kim Stelson of the University of Minnesota, the Center’s director, at the NFPA Conference this week. Stelson is a great proponent of the Center’s mission, and I hope that component manufacturers will partner with and support the Center moving forward.
For years, I’ve urged industry and universities here in the U.S. to work together more on research and development activities. One look at the partnerships in Germany, Italy, the U.K., Finland, and other European countries (not to mention Japan and China) and you realize how far behind we are in that area. The CCEFP is just what was needed here.
To further illustrate what the Center can do for our country, Stelson told me about a soon-to-be-released Department of Energy study on fluid power. It’s really quite stunning.
A survey of 23 industry partners was conducted, and it was discovered that between 4.4% and 5.1% of our country’s energy is transmitted through fluid power equipment. That in itself is awfully impressive to consider. But the other conclusion reached is that the efficiency of fluid power averages 21%.
While that percentage is depressingly low, it is really a positive, according to Stelson, because it illustrates how much improvement there is to make. (My kind of guy—a glass-half-full type!)
How much improvement can realistically be made? The study concludes that a 5% improvement in efficiency over 5 years is possible by instituting best practices in industry. Or, even better, a 15% improvement over 15 years is possible with a strategic R&D program. Doing this would save our country … are you ready for this? … $37 billion.
So, manufacturers, end users—tell me again why you wouldn’t support the CCEFP? For more details, visit their website at www.ccefp.org.