Duke Energy and Siemens Energy have announced $8.8 million in support for the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte. Duke Energy will provide approximately $4.5 million and Siemens Energy will provide approximately $4.3 million in support of the center. Both companies will do this over several years as the EPIC program develops.
EPIC will serve the needs of existing and new energy companies. The combined support from the two companies will provide engineering scholarships, advance research capabilities in smart grid and precision manufacturing, provide access to large-scale manufacturing equipment and enable recruiting of key faculty in power engineering disciplines.
Siemens Energy has announced plant expansions that will increase its Charlotte region employee base from almost 800 to more than 1,800. The company expects to support a manufacturing lab that can increase the accuracy of machining large-scale parts at EPIC.
Siemens Energy will also provide funding for undergraduate and graduate scholars, support for a veterans' outreach program and support for a visiting scholars program, which will bring in key researchers from outside the U.S. to work with EPIC associates.
In addition, the company will provide machinery time at its 550,000 square-foot plant southwest of Charlotte so faculty can work on advanced manufacturing concepts. Part of Siemens Energy's support is framed as challenge-funding that can motivate other firms to provide support.
Duke Energy plans to support a distinguished EPIC Student Fellows Program for promising high school seniors with a declared interest in energy engineering. The program will be a renewable award made to entering engineering freshmen, recurring over a four-year period to students enrolled in the energy program curriculum, provided that they maintain eligibility requirements.
A Duke Energy chair in power engineering systems will recruit a distinguished professor with proven research in the area of power engineering systems and notable industry experience to serve as the inaugural director of EPIC.
This faculty member will be equipped to direct faculty within EPIC to target research projects of immediate and long-term interest to Duke Energy and other energy companies. This researcher will attract students and develop graduate engineers that have the unique skills and knowledge required to add value to the energy engineering workforce.
SOURCE: UNC Charlotte