AU faculty awarded grants from governor's AL Innovation Fund

AU faculty awarded grants from governor's AL Innovation Fund

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Four Auburn University faculty members in the College of Engineering and College of Agriculture have been awarded grants totaling over $600,000 through the Alabama Innovation Fund as part of Accelerate Alabama, the state's long-term plan to prioritize economic development.

All projects are believed to ultimately lead to greater economic development in the state of Alabama.

Marko Hakovita is one grant recipient for his chemical engineering project, "Intelligent Control Solution for Smart Manufacturing and Energy Reduction in Pulp Mills."

"It's a great honor I have to say and, of course, it's a whole team effort," says Hakovita.

Through collaboration among AU's Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering, R.E. Hodges LLC, and Tuskegee University, the project could create energy savings for pulp mills, improving competitiveness.

"One big thing about this technology it's aiming at reducing the cost of energy consumption of mills. You're looking at perhaps a ten percent of energy savings which is quite high because pulp mills are one of the biggest energy consuming components," explains Hakovita.

Developments in this project can also help retain and grow jobs in the state of Alabama.

"If we accomplish a great innovation the company can take forward to the market, then that will create, of course, employment," states Hakovita.

The team will receive funds within the next couple of months and then begin the project that is estimated to be completed within year.

Other recipients include Oladiran Fasina, an agriculture faculty member in the Department of Biosystems Engineering; Weikuan Yu, Department of Computer Science and Software; and Bruce Tatarchuk in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

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