College Engineers to Join Industry and Government Leaders in Process Intensification Institute

The College is one of the recipients of a $70 million grant plus matching funds from the Department of Energy for in-kind project support.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that Manhattan College will receive part of DOE’s $70 million grant over five years to work on a system to reduce energy consumption and lower the country’s carbon footprint. Manhattan is one of 34 academic institutions, along with 75 companies, seven national laboratories, two additional government laboratories, and seven non-governmental organizations from all regions of the country, to receive the grant, which includes matching funds from the DOE for in-kind project support.

Maffia Mason Gaffney

Left to right: Gennaro Maffia, Ph.D., Olivia Mason '15, '17 (M.S.), Anne Gaffney, Ph.D.

Under the tutelage of Gennaro Maffia, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering, Olivia Mason ’15, ’17 (M.S.) was instrumental in securing the grant for Manhattan College. During her time at the College, Mason has worked with Anne Gaffney, Ph.D., a fellow at the Idaho National Laboratory, to research inefficiencies in energy output and economically efficient ways to reduce waste and the country’s carbon footprint.

“Olivia worked tirelessly and effectively on the research, has helped write journal articles, and has given several presentations about process intensification,” Maffia said. “She is a great role model for our chemical engineering students.”

Manhattan College is part of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE) Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute, the newest member of the nation’s network of Manufacturing USA Institutes. In creating the institute, the DOE seeks to reduce energy usage and feedstock waste, and improve productivity. The goal is to integrate unit processes into single modular hardware elements that are cost effective, with high efficiency and scalability. RAPID will work closely with the other Manufacturing USA Institutes, which have common goals but distinct concentrations, to assure cooperation and share approaches to commercializing fast-moving innovations.

Manhattan College’s chemical engineering department will collaborate with the RAPID Institute to incorporate proposals about increased energy efficiency and reduced waste, and combine resources with other academic institutions, industry leaders and national laboratories involved within the Institute.

Manhattan will also be named as the home institution of the inventors on a select number of the Institute’s patents. The College is part of the technical node of the RAPID Institute, along with the University of Texas at Austin, and will be identified as such on the Institute's organizational chart.

“Winning this grant is very rewarding for all of us at Manhattan College and those at the Idaho National Lab,” Maffia said. “This will be a great opportunity for our students and faculty to participate in such a monumental project.”

Additional information about the RAPID Manufacturing Institute and its objectives can be found at

By Pete McHugh