October 7, 2016
Capitol Update

In this issue:


ASME recently convened a Congressional briefing entitled, “Advanced Gas Turbines: Strengthening U.S. Leadership in Energy and Manufacturing.” The House Manufacturing Caucus, led by U.S. Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), and the House Natural Gas Caucus, chaired by U.S. Representatives Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), Gene Green (D-TX), Tom Reed (R-NY) and Jim Costa (D-CA), also supported the event.

Speakers came from industry and academia to convey the history of gas turbine development, its critical importance to maintaining America’s economic, defense, and energy interests, and how the federal government can work to ensure that America continues to lead the world in their development rather than lose its footing which would also result in a further loss of high paying U.S. based jobs.

America has seen a decline in federal research and development funding over the years. Meanwhile, other countries are heavily investing in accelerating their gas turbine industrial base to create better and more advanced gas turbine technologies for generating power to fuel their military and for commercial and industrial processes such as for pumping stations in the oil and gas industry.

Moderating the panel was Mike Aller, Executive Director, Consortium for Advanced Production and Engineering of Gas Turbines and Rotating Machinery. Expert speakers consisted of the following:

  • Tim Lieuwen, Director, Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute;
  • Thomas Prete, Vice President, Engineering, Military Engines, Pratt & Whitney;
  • Kenneth Hall, Director of Technology Integration, Siemens Energy; and,
  • Karen A. Thole, Professor and Department Head, Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Pennsylvania State University.

All emphasized the need to keep America competitive in advancing gas turbine technology. Professor Thole pointed out certain Department of Energy and NASA programs are critically important to finding ways to improve current gas turbine technology. Many of these programs support partnerships with academia and industry to meet policy goals such as low carbon energy production and ultra-efficient commercial vehicles. At our research universities, the next generation of engineers is gaining the practical experience needed to enter the workforce and fill the gaps left as the current workforce retires. The partnership between industry, universities, and government is hugely beneficial as we continue to move forward in this field as one company alone cannot fund all the necessary research that is needed for the United States to stay competitive globally.

To read the twitter feed of the event on September 28, please visit @ASME_FutureME


The Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) Program is the signature activity of the Office of Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities in the National Science Foundation Directorate for Engineering. EFRI has released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) requesting topic suggestions for the EFRI Program with an October 31 deadline.
EFRI invests in high-risk multidisciplinary opportunities with high-potential payoff. Its role is to support research areas that would not fit within the scope of an existing program. These frontier ideas, involving multiple fields of disciplines, cannot be pursued by one researcher or within one field of expertise.
The EFRI program is currently seeking the engineering community’s input. From this input, the Engineering Directorate identifies, evaluates, prioritizes, and funds those frontier topics that best match the following EFRI criteria:

  • holds potential for transformative outcomes;
  • addresses a national need or grand challenge;
  • involves multi- or interdisciplinary research;
  • includes a community who is poised to respond; and
  • offers a clear leadership role for engineering.

These transformative opportunities may lead to a new research direction, new industries or capabilities that can put the United States in a leadership position, and/or result in significant progress on a recognized national or societal need.
If you have questions, please contact NSF at: efritopicideas2018@nsf.gov, or review the DCL itself at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16138/nsf16138.jsp


The Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight, a public private consortium sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and better known as MForesight, held its first annual summit on September 29 in Washington, D.C.  The theme of the summit “America’s New Manufacturing Moment,” was meant to shine a light on the unique opportunity America has to thrive in domestic manufacturing as we transition from archaic techniques to new advanced manufacturing.

Highlights from the event include keynote speaker Dean Kamen, Inventor; DEKA Research and Development, CEO; and FIRST Robotics, Founder. Dr. Kamen gave a captivating talk on technology and called on attendees to push boundaries and strive for a better tomorrow through technological innovation. He discussed the public policy hurdles that he has encountered, specifically with regulations that slow the invention processes, and said that, “policy not keeping up with technology is the understatement of my life.”

Norman Augustine, Ret. CEO, Lockheed Martin; Former Under Secretary of the Army,  delivered remarks focused on some of the challenges that he has encountered as an engineer and encouraged attendees to think creatively to solve challenges.
David Friedman, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, also joined the summit to announce a new Department of Energy (DOE) initiative, “Built for Scale.” Under this new program that is contingent upon federal funding in 2017, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will work with DOE to develop a new curriculum that brings innovation into manufacturing.
These high-profile speakers were accompanied by many other important industry and government officials with each discussing new opportunities in advanced manufacturing. Topics of discussions included: Organ Manufacturing Technology; America’s Next Manufacturing Workforce; Memos to the Next President; Battery Storage and the Renewable Revolution; and the Continuous Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals.
A full list of speakers can be found here: https://umich.app.box.com/s/juzg3ea9dpgvhsrmsgp644tamzex20cy.
On a related note, Dr. Dean Bartles, an MForesight Leadership Council member and senior technology advisor for ASME, currently has a featured video interview on the MForesight website, discussing many topics like the nine current manufacturing institutes and the six additional ones being added this year under Manufacturing U.S.A and the smart manufacturing movement to stream data from machines to the cloud to do predictive maintenance.

To view this video interview, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdvRyvB2oqc&feature=youtu.be


Nearly two-thirds of Americans live in urban settings and as a nation, the U.S. faces fundamental challenges to its society from climate change to improved health.  With the rapid pace of technological change, from the rise of data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and ubiquitous sensor networks to autonomous vehicles, there exists significant promise for addressing these challenges. To do this, the White House recently held Smart Cities Week to discuss best practices and a culture of collaboration to create a holistic, integrated approach to improve livability, workability and sustainability in cities to save money, build more robust economies and enhance citizens' lives.

The White House Smart Cities Initiative is designed to invest millions in federal research to meet local needs, and was informed by and built upon the work of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) that recommended several actions that the Federal Government could take to help cities leverage technology.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a leading agency supporting this effort and has announced more than $60 million in Smart Cities-related grants for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, with additional investments planned for FY 2017.
Some new NSF investments include:

  • $24.5 million planned investment in Smart and Connected Communities for FY 2017.
  • $10 million in new awards to develop and scale next-generation internet applications and technologies through the US Ignite program.
  • $8.5 million in new awards for high-risk, high-reward research through Smart and Connected Communities.
  • $4 million in new Cyber-Physical Systems awards focused on Smart and Connected Communities.
  • $1.4 million in new Big Data research focused on Smart and Connected Communities.

More information about the NSF investments can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=189882&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

Additional information is also available at: http://www.smartcitiesweek.com/


The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has found a way to lower costs and provide much cleaner indoor air. Currently, there is a constant replacement of air in large buildings to prevent the buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This constant intake of air as well as warming or cooling it takes money and energy.

Dr. Ranjani Siriwardane, a senior scientist at the NETL, developed a solution for reducing the need to replace indoor air as often to prevent the buildup of CO2 and VOCs. With a background working in sorbents to remove CO2 and other contaminants from the flue gas of coal-fired power plants, he looked at using it in a building’s HVAC system.

NETL has partnered with an HVAC company, enVerid, to create a HVAC Load Reduction technology using a module integrated into existing HVAC systems to scrub the air of indoor air contaminants. This new system has recently be selected as a finalist for the 2016 R&D 100 Award.

To read more, please visit http://netl.doe.gov/newsroom/news-releases/news-details?id=1b19ff44-1e54-4f59-a8d1-b146b680d79b


Battlefield injuries resulting in burns and wounds are a majority of the combat-related casualties.  Delays in treatment and complications arising from the environment and evacuation can heighten wound contamination and are being compounded by the rise of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms.

A government task force for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria was established in wake of the need for new antibacterial drugs. Principal Investigators Drs. Suhe Wang and John LiPuma, with the support of a Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Military Infectious Diseases Basic Research Award, formulated nanoemulsions (NEs) composed of varying combinations of cationic and nonionic surfactants and tested them for microbicidal activity.  Two lead nanoemulsion candidates, NB-201and CPC/p407, displayed marked in vitro antimicrobial activity against multi-drug resistant bacterial and fungal strains. NB-201 also demonstrated efficacy against infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The PIs found the different NB-201 preparations to be effective in killing an expanded panel of drug-resistant microorganisms that included 10 strains each of Acinetobacter baumanii, MRSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumonia, and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) species.  They also found NB-201 to be efficacious against several species of fungi in vitro and its efficacy against MRSA in a pig skin wound model. The researchers plan to expand in vitro studies.

Drs. Wang and LiPuma hope to acquire enough data to apply for investigational New Drug status with the FDA, with the goal of testing in humans.
To read more, please visit http://cdmrp.army.mil/dmrdp/research_highlights/16wang_highlight.shtml

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at http://ppec.asme.org/ for daily news and policy developments, including the following:

ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036
Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations

  • Melissa Carl covers public policy-related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and diversity issues for ASME. She can be reached at carlm@asme.org
  • Paul Fakes covers public policy-related energy, standards and environmental issues for ASME. He can be reached at fakesp@asme.org
  • Roy Chrobocinski covers public policy-related research and development (R&D) and manufacturing issues for ASME. He can be reached at chrobocinski@asme.org