by Eric Lanke, CEO

Did you know that NFPA has been engaging in a dialogue with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)? You didn't? Well, I'm not surprised. After all, I haven't been writing very much about it.

What's it all about, you ask? Well, at the highest level, it’s very simple. We would like to develop a program within the DOE that will fund and focus on energy efficiency improvements using fluid power technology. Some of this would be research-focused, helping to develop new energy efficient fluid power technologies, and some of it would be education-focused, helping to improve the design and maintenance of existing fluid power systems with current technologies and techniques.

I’m starting this Reporter series not only to keep our members better informed about our efforts in this regard, but also to seek their help in eventually advocating for the envisioned program. When one considers all the money that the DOE currently invests to improve the energy efficiency of our competing technologies, the need to educate the DOE and the lawmakers that determine its funding levels on the real, energy-saving potential of fluid power becomes a pressing need. Substantial progress has already been made—including the first-ever DOE study on the amount of energy consumed by fluid power systems in the United States, and some important relationship-building with some key administrators in the DOE—and our hope is that our progress will accelerate dramatically in 2014.

Please watch this space for much more background on this issue as well as regular updates on our progress. As I will ask at the end of every one of these columns, if you would become more involved, please contact me directly at (414) 778-3351 or elanke@nfpa.com. Getting industry leaders engaged in this effort will be critical to its ultimate success.