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WMU getting $1 million for Green Manufacturing

Oct. 26, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University is slated to receive $1 million in federal funding to support its Green Manufacturing project, which will assist businesses throughout West Michigan in creating more energy efficient and sustainable processes and products.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, who sponsored the funding in the House, made the announcement Oct. 19 at WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He was joined at the announcement by WMU President John M. Dunn and Dr. John Patten, chair of manufacturing engineering and director of the WMU Center for Manufacturing Research.

WMU's Green Manufacturing project draws upon existing research and development centers at the University. Faculty researchers and students will collaborate with area manufacturers, especially smaller businesses, to help them build greater energy efficiency into manufacturing processes and promote recycling of materials to further reduce costs. About 25 companies in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Grand Rapids and Muskegon have already expressed interest in participating, according to Patten.

"I am especially proud with this project," said Dunn, "because it highlights one of the longtime strengths of Western Michigan University, which is applying the latest knowledge and technology to create practical solutions of immediate and long-term benefit."

"Companies realize that being green is good for their bottom line to ensure their longevity,'' said Patten, who added that project will help preserve existing jobs and foster creation of new ones.

Green technologies are "one of the niches" that can help diversify the state's economy and create jobs, said Upton.

The funding for WMU is part of a larger appropriation that passed in both the House and Senate. "I am expecting the president to sign the bill, perhaps as early as this week," said Upton. "This funding had strong bipartisan support in both houses," he said, acknowledging Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, who co-sponsored the earmark in the Senate.

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Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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